National Human Trafficking Awareness Month
The exploitation of women in children through human trafficking is a problem all over the world, including the United States.
According to the U.S. Federal Law, Human trafficking is defined as (source):
• Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
• The recruitment, harboring, transportation provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Human Trafficking is also considered a form of modern day slavery because it shares of the same characteristics of our historic view of slavery like selling, buying, controlling, and using another person's life against their own will.
Statistics, awareness, and funding towards human trafficking is limited due to the fact that it is such a covert crime. However, here are some statistics that I was able to find. (source)
• The average entry age of American minors into the sex trade is 12-14 years old.
• Many victims are runaway girls who have already suffered sexual abuse as children.
• Foreign nationals are also brought into the U.S. as slaves for labor or commercial sex through force or fraud.
• The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before.
A big misconception is that human trafficking only happens to foreign born individuals, or that it only happens overseas in other countries. The truth is, human trafficking is a major problem across the state of Georgia. Atlanta is even considered one of the largest sex trafficking centers (source). With human trafficking being one of third largest crimes in the world, more people need to be aware of this growing issue.
Any adolescent, teenager, or adult can become trafficked whether they are homeless, a run-a-away, or live at home with family. Be aware of changes in behavior, and whereabouts of your loved ones to ensure that they are not victims of this terrible crime.
If you suspect that anyone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. For more information about human trafficking you can visit any of the sources from the articles or visit https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/humantrafficking.