How Trafficking is Everywhere in Our Daily Lives

Isn’t it scary that “Atlanta’s illegal sex trade has generated up to 290 million dollars a year. That’s more money than the city’s illegal gun and drug trade combined”? I learned this from a TED talk by Noy Thrupkaew, talking about how human/sex trafficking is all around us and how it works. Did you know, depending on the grocery store you go to, there is  probably at least one brand of food in there that trafficks people? I remember watching a different TED talk, and the woman narrating it walked into the store, picked up a bag of frozen shrimp, and realized it was one of the brands she was researching for human trafficking. Isn’t that crazy? How it’s truly all around our daily lives? This wouldn’t be the only case of this happening, though. There are so many times when people are in a bad situation, and we don’t realize it. To help stop this, we can think and research different ways to help stop human/sex trafficking. 

 How Traffickers Lure Victims

We can’t always assume someone’s situation based on small details we see that could lead to human/sex trafficking. It is always important to warn people if you think a stranger can be in danger, or even a friend you have known. The following example is a fictitious story based on all the reading and listening I have been doing recently about how some people may get trafficked. Traffickers usually start off with some promise to the person they are trying to take. Some examples of this could be, the trafficker promising a new phone, better job, or a modeling company/magazine shoot. When you fly out to this promising place, the trafficker could take your passport, which doesn’t allow you to fly home. Most people who travel to this new place spend all their money on the plane ticket and then they don’t have enough to pay the person the money they want. Then, they usually start working in whatever labor they want them to. It can range from the fields to a brothel. 

When thinking of different types of trafficking, most think of forced prostitution. The crazy thing about this is forced prostitution only makes up for 22% of trafficking (graph from 2012). 10% is from state-imposed labor as well. But the biggest chunk from the graph comes from forced labor exploitation, which is 68% of the chart. I feel like we don’t give enough attention to the other 78% of the graph, which is obviously really important. I think it could be this way since we have more information on forced prostitution (from what I’ve read) rather than that 78%.

On February 24, we met with students from Drew University, talking about our topics. I learned a lot from my meeting with the woman who was directing us/ leading the conversation. In my group, there was Liam and Sidarth because their topics were sort of related to mine. The talk made me think about all the basics of human/sex trafficking, starting from the beginning because I had to explain myself to the student and the other kids in my group. It made me think about my topic really in depth, and also made me realize how much I cared for the topic. Trafficking is something that isn’t shown much because people may be scared for it to happen close to them and think it’s ok if it happens somewhere far away from where they live. Also, most people don’t care just because they feel like they can’t do much about it, but I want to show people that as long as you care, you have an impact on the topic. During the talk I also thought more about the books I want to read more. One of the books I am thinking about reading is survivor stories because I feel like I can use my skills of empathy to try and connect to them. I also feel like reading a survivor story can really show/explain that every story is different from each other, and it’s not all the same. 

To conclude, human/sex trafficking is a very important topic that doesn’t get enough attention from everyone in the world. I hope reading through this article you learned something that may have inspired you, or at least had you learn something.

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