Human Trafficking – Crimes Against Humanity

J. Lee

Human Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery

This story exposes the international shame of human, sex and labor trafficking.

Human trafficking is prevalent in the United States and throughout the world. The idea in most people’s minds is it happens elsewhere, but America has its own dirty secrets. No nation is innocent in crimes against humanity. It is estimated that 1/3 of those trafficked are children.

Wikipedia – Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.

The most common form of slavery and human exploitation is forced labor.  It goes undetected or it is overlooked by the lack of strong labor protections. Those who fall into forced labor can be coerced, might be indentured servants or from poverty lured by a promise of a better life. Some pay recruitment fees for jobs to find out they have paid their way into slavery.

Anti-Slavery – What is forced labor?

Forced labor is any work or service which people are forced to do against their will, under threat of punishment. Almost all slavery practices contain some element of forced labor.

It affects millions of men, women and children around the world. It is most often found in industries with a lot of workers and little regulation. These include:

  • Agriculture and fishing
  • Domestic work
  • Construction, mining, quarrying and brick kilns
  • Manufacturing, processing and packaging
  • Prostitution and sexual exploitation
  • Market trading and illegal activities

When Sex Trafficking Goes Unnoticed in America – The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.” In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide.

Lives have been shattered by those seeking power and greed. Dignity has been replaced by shame until they can regain their dignity through counseling and self worth. Those abused may or may not show physical scars, but their mental scars will stay with them for a lifetime. It will be a memory and a nightmare they will never forget.

FBI: Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude – Human trafficking, believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, is a form of human slavery which must be addressed at the interagency level. Human trafficking includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. It involves both U.S. citizens and foreigners alike, and has no demographic restrictions. The FBI works human trafficking cases under both its Civil Rights program and its Violent Crimes Against Children program. The majority of human trafficking victims in our cases are U.S. citizens, and we take a victim-centered approach in investigating such cases, which means that ensuring the needs of the victims take precedence over all other considerations.

Often times it is common to see women with tattoos or brands showing ownership. Those identifiers are used by traffickers, pimps and gang members. Typical branding show initials, dollar signs ($), money bags, crowns or even a bar-code like you would see in a grocery store.

CNN: Old mark of slavery is being used on sex trafficking victims – “It lets other pimps know that this is their property,” said Vice Sgt. Ron Fisher of the Los Angeles Police Department in Van Nuys. Fisher has seen untold numbers of them as his unit works the streets and the Internet, trying to find underage girls being trafficked.

Special Report: Child Prostitutes In LA – Sky’s Greg Milam has embedded with an undercover Vice squad in Los Angeles who are trying a radical new approach to tackle the epidemic of child prostitution.

Forced servitude happens in many ways such as by false promises, enticement for legal employment, through betrayal of trust, being sold by family members, kidnapping, coercion, fraud, violence or fear. They become unwilling players for pimps and gangs. Some run away from an abusive home into the arms of abusers and predators. No matter how it happens the victim pays the ultimate price.

Video: Human Trafficking: Lives bought & sold Human trafficking is a global problem, with the UN saying victims come from as many as 152 countries, and that a third of those trafficked are children. BBC News focused on three countries, talking to people who have been trafficked and also to the traffickers themselves.”

Many victims have been discovered and freed out of the sex industry and some from forced labor from those who imprisoned them.

Sadly many choose to remain victims out of fear of their captures, fear of not being believed and out of fear of law enforcement. Many were young when the abuse began. Slavery is all they have known. It became a forced lifestyle.

We must open our eyes to their pain and suffering. We must begin and continue to fight for them. We must demand severe punishment for those who choose to exploit others. Stronger laws should be imposed on criminals who exploit underage victims.

Once saved by rescue groups they begin their road to recovery in a loving and accepting environment. Counseling helps them realize they were victims. They learn to let go of guilt, shame and sometimes self abuse.

Rescue Groups:

Children of the Night (Rescuing Children From Prostitution)

Operation Underground Railroad (Child Sex Trafficking)

Polaris (Human, Sex and Labor Trafficking)

Hope for Justice (Human Trafficking and Slavery)

7 Christian Groups Working to End Human Trafficking

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center offers a help hotline for anyone who either suspects human trafficking or victims looking for help. The phone number is 1-888-373-7888.

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