The evil of sex trafficking is a global epidemic that is often hidden from the average person. Victims of trafficking may not look the way you may have perceived them in your mind. Immediately following a disaster women and children are the most vulnerable to trafficking. Not every woman or girl standing on the street corner is there by choice. Together, we must do much more to identify and stop human trafficking and protect the happiness and innocence of our children. The seriousness of the issue is capture in this statement by President Barrack Obama:
“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name — modern slavery.” – President Barrack Obama
The mission of the Office of Human Trafficking Prevention is to identify high-risk individuals and groups susceptible to trafficking; to prevent susceptibility by addressing precipitating conditions; to educate vulnerable groups and surrounding communities about trafficking.
We identify and accept the definition of human trafficking as defined by the U.S. State Department, “the recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining a person for labor, services or commercial sex acts by means of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of exploitation, involuntary servitude peonage, debt bondage, slavery or any commercial sex act involving a minor.”
Health Implications of Trafficking Victims
Human trafficking is a global public health issue. Health issues are ignored until they are critical or life-threatening. Dirty and crowded living conditions, coupled with poor nutrition, cause health conditions such as scabies, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases.
Chronic back, hearing and vision problems may occur from working in dangerous agriculture, sweatshop or construction conditions. Long-term untreated issues such as cardiovascular or respiratory problems, diabetes or cancer may be present. Bruises, scars and other signs of physical abuse and torture may be visible.
Sexually transmitted infections, human papillomavirus, pelvic inflammatory disease, permanent damage to reproductive organs, and HIV/AIDS are often the result of forced prostitution. Victims may be coerced, or in desperation to escape their pain, willingly succumb to drug use.
Victims of trafficking often endure brutal conditions that may result in psychological trauma, such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, disorientation, confusion, phobias and panic attacks. They may suffer feelings of helplessness, shame, humiliation, denial, disbelief or culture shock from being in a strange country. -American Public Health Association, (APHA)
Stats you should know and care about!
- An estimated 27 million people are held in slavery worldwide, meaning there are more slaves in the world than were taken from Africa during 300 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
- More slaves alive now than at any other time in history. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is the fastest growing. (hhs)
- Approximately 800,000 to 900,000 victims annually trafficked across international borders worldwide. (Dept of State)
- The average price of individual slaves is less than a new cell phone or about $90. (nfs
- By 2010, Human Trafficking will be the # 1 crime worldwide. (Dept of State)
- Every 10 minutes, one person is trafficked into the U.S. Around the World, a victim is exploited every minute.
- Each year, more than 1 million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.
- Approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. (Dept of State)
- The majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. (Dept. of State)
- Between 18,000 and 20,000 victims trafficked into United States annually. Many who work with this issue believe this number is considerably higher.
- In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are 200,000 slaves.
- More than half of victims trafficked into United States are thought to be children; victims are probably about equally women and men. (hhs)
- Victims can be trafficked into the U.S. from anywhere in the world. Victims have come from Africa, Asia, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Russia, and Canada and many other locations. (hhs)
- 13 is the average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the USA. (FBI)
- 100,000 to 300,000 children in America are at risk for sex trafficking each year.
- As many as 2.8 million children live on the streets, a third of whom are lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.