The public needs to start taking action on sex trafficking instead of saying they don’t care and turning the other way. Forbes journalist Nicole Fisher said, “Raising public awareness is an important element in the fight against human trafficking” (Fisher, 2017). We need to make the general public aware of human trafficking. Letting kids run around and not telling them about the dangers can lead to them not coming home. Parents need to start taking action and helping their kids and family become aware and more cautious about their surroundings. The organization End Slavery Now said, “Victims may suffer from long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (HIV, AIDS), drug addiction, malnutrition, and social ostracism” (End Slavery Now). Without providing the world with any knowledge about human trafficking, many victims are suffering long term. People can help others by making themselves aware and telling others they know that it’s a dangerous, devastating profit industry.
In an article published by CNN, Leif Coorlim and Dana Ford state, “According to a 2014 study by the Urban Institute, some traffickers in Atlanta make more than $32,000 a week.” That amount of money a week is bringing many traffickers a major profit. They are in the business to earn a major profit. The article also says, “Atlanta’s illegal sex industry brings in nearly $290 million a year” (Coorlim, Ford). Millions of dollars a year are being brought in by soliciting young women and girls into the sex industry. Traffickers mainly target lower income communities. End Slavery Now states, “Indigenous populations and those who live in abject poverty are typically economically and politically marginalized; thus, most lack rights to access to basic services such as, education, which make them particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking” (End Slavery Now). As a nation, people need to start providing solutions for communities with lower income. Investing in the communities by providing after school programs, boys and girls clubs, especially their schools can help them get the right education they need to get better jobs. Without giving to these lower income communities, they are at a higher risk for sex trafficking and being brought into prostitution. Giving them a greater chance of being detained.
Instead of detaining victims of sex trafficking, we should create harsher punishments for the traffickers and invest in low income communities to improve disparity and a lack of education. In an article by Priscilla Alvarez, she says, “According to the State Department 2015 trafficking report, some victims, including minors, ‘were detained or prosecuted by state or local officials for criminal activity related to their being subjected to trafficking’ despite ‘safe harbor’ laws in some states intended to protect victims” (Alvarez, 2016). The detaining of victims, especially minors, can make them feel like they are in trouble for the acts they were forced to do. Punishing these victims will start to make them want to do it again or even be afraid to get found because they are getting in trouble. Most women and girls don’t ask to be in the sex industry, they are lured in and it’s a hard life to get out of. Some women and girls don’t have a great home life and the Johns will make them feel loved so they want to stay because they never had that at home, but sometimes they get tired of it and want to get out. If you try to run away, it can lead to abuse, violence, and possibly death. Instead of detaining these victims, try to help them. They want to be found and indeed want help. Starting up a shelter for them or offering them protection and bringing them back home can help.
Coorlim and Ford said, “Under federal law, anyone under 18 years of age induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking– regardless of whether the trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion” (Coorlim, Ford). If these minors are also being detained when federal law states that anyone under 18 is considered a victim then how can we solve this issue? Sure, you might be detaining them to protect them but a lot of other people can think different. People think victims are nasty and horrible people for being forced into this industry. Some also think that they were dumb and went into the industry because they thought they had a bad life when they didn’t. People don’t realize communities of lower income get targeted the most and women of color are very popular. We need to stop blaming the victims and look how bad the situation truly is.
Stopping sex trafficking is going to be difficult due to the high amount of money the industry makes. The people joining the industry force women and girls to do illegal acts just so they can earn money for being a pimp, trafficker, recruiter or middleman. The amount of profit that the industry brings in is sickening. In an article by Human Rights First, it said, “Human trafficking earns profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers, according to the ILO report from 2014.” This is an extremely large amount of money that this industry makes. In the same article, Human Rights First also said, “The following is a breakdown of profits, by sector:
- $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation
- $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
- $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
- $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor”(First, 2017).
After viewing the breakdown, sexual exploitation gets the most money. Bringing in $99 billion a year in sexual exploitation alone is nerve racking. You never know what’s gonna happen and when it does happen, it might be too late. Start watching the people around you and notice when you are being followed. Being on high alert is something we shouldn’t have to worry about but we do. Parents need to teach their kids to be more familiar of their surroundings.
If we don’t start putting reports out and showing everyone how much the industry earns in profit in one year alone, than maybe people won’t be so quick to look the other way. Many people might actually start to show awareness and actually care for their kids.
People turn their heads the other way to avoid seeing it’s a problem. We need to make a bigger deal about this and help the lower income communities. Trafficking is a major problem and unless it happens to someone’s child, they probably won’t even look to see how big the problem is. Without showing that we care and without coming together and trying to make a difference, it’s going to continue to happen.
Alvarez, P. (2016, February 23). When Sex Trafficking Goes Unnoticed in America. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/how-sex-trafficking-goes-unnoticed-in-america/470166
Coorlim, L., & Ford, D. (2017). Sex trafficking: The new American slavery. CNN. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/us/sex-trafficking/index.html.
End Slavery Now. Sex Trafficking. Retrieved April 5, 2019, from http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today/sex-trafficking
First, H. R. (2017, January 7). Human Trafficking by the Numbers. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/human-trafficking-numbersFisher, N. (2017, April 24). Human Trafficking Is In Plain Sight. Are You Supporting It without Knowing? Retrieved March 6, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2017/04/24/human-trafficking-in-plain-sight/#50389c6151f8
Sex Trafficking and Prostitution by Jessalyn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.