In a world that has never had a day without slavery we now have about 27 million slaves living and suffering worldwide. And, in the world of human trafficking, the average person is worth just $90.
The U.S. Department of State defines Human Trafficking as the process of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving by means of threat, coercion, abduction, fraud, deceit, deception, or abuse of power to achieve the goal of prostitution, pornography, violence, sexual exploitation, forced labor, involuntary servitude or debt bondage.
Human trafficking is something that, as Americans, we think “doesn’t happen here.” The scary truth is that it does. In fact, Ohio used to be one of just 12 states without an anti-trafficking law. We were part of the “dirty dozen” up until 2010. Because of interstate highways, Dayton and Toledo are two of the worst cities in the state for trafficking.
The scary part is: anyone can be trafficked. You could know someone who secretly deals with being forced to have sex with people for money. Pimps try to find young girls who seem vulnerable. Once they have them under their wing, they can blackmail them, or even threaten to hurt their families.
I used to be one of the people who believed that kind of violence couldn’t happen here in the “land of dreams.” In fact, I thought it was only something I would hear about happening in Third-World countries. My eyes were opened about a month ago. A friend and I started the Young Democrats of America club and we invited Fairmont’s human trafficking club to come talk to us.
Fairmont’s Human Trafficking club first learned about the topic through a book called The Slave Across the Street. The book tells the story of Theresa Flores, a 15-year-old, who had to keep the fact that she was being trafficked a secret because she was being blackmailed and threatened.
When I picked up the book, I couldn’t put it down.
I learned so much about trafficking. The information is horrifying. So disturbing.
According to surveys from Shared Hope International, an estimated 293,000 children are in danger of being trafficked. We, as a society, cannot be sheltered anymore. We have to educate each other to prevent these atrocities. Doing nothing is simply not OK.
For more information go to sharedhope.org or check out The New Abolitionists.
If you feel someone that you know is being trafficked, call the Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-3737-888