Human trafficking conjures up images of foreign brothels or foreigners brought to another country to work against their will. While this is true, it is much, much more.
Human trafficking is modern day slavery and it exists everywhere, yes, even in your own neighborhood. No geographic area is immune to this terrible crime. Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion against a human being (man, woman or child) to exploit them. These victims are forced into commercial sex acts or labor services.
This is a $32 billion global industry and is a growing crime. In terms of profits, it has surpassed the sell of illegal weapons and is expected to surpass the illegal drug trade. Gangs and other criminals (perpetrators are men, women and young adults) are increasingly using human trafficking as a means to make money.
If someone is selling drugs, they sell the drug and it’s gone. They must now go out and find more drugs to purchase and it’s risky. If they get caught with the drugs, there is hard evidence they have the drugs. But if you have someone to sell, you can sell that person over and over again, even in one day and every day, and make money off of them each time. It’s not as “risky” as drugs, because if caught with a person, there is not necessarily the hard evidence to say exploitation is happening. And if you lose one of your people, then it’s fairly easy to go out and get a replacement.
To combat human trafficking, the federal government suggests focusing on the 4Ps ~ Prevention, Prosecution, Protection and Partnership. All of these areas need attention in order to fight this horrific crime. Prevention should raise awareness, teach us what to look out for and what to do if we see something, as well as inform us of the signs of danger. Prosecution looks at providing legal means to go after the traffickers and punish them. Protection offers services to the victims to help them mend their life and return to some sort of normal state of being in the community. And Partnership is because it takes many people with different areas of expertise to fight this crime and we need to work together toward a common goal.