Human trafficking today is considered modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are coerced, assaulted, and lied to have commercial sex. This year, I have noticed that human trafficking has become more prevalent in the media but I’ve also noticed that not much has been done about it. In Spears’ essay, she discusses how much human trafficking impacts the U.S. and states, “the current estimate is that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked into the US annually” (Spears, 2006) but these numbers are not including internally trafficked victims. Many women and children are affected by human trafficking, causing their lives to be completely transformed. Once some women’s lives are changed, they will never return to normal again. Human sex trafficking is a growing problem that affects women emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
To begin, human sex trafficking is an enormous industry. The sex industry makes up approximately 75-80 percent of human trafficking (“55 Little Know” 1). Although organ harvesting and labor are other forms of human trafficking, the sex industry controls the biggest portion of human trafficking. Being the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world, it is the fastest-growing business of organized crime (Walker-Rodriguez 1). Not only is human sex trafficking considered slavery, but it is also known as a big business. The reason that criminal organizations are becoming more and more attracted to human trafficking is that, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly. 20.9 million victims globally take part in the worldwide $150 billion industry (“Human Trafficking” 1). High profits and low risk are what have made human trafficking as common as it is. Around the world, there are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children who are victims of human trafficking (“55 Little Known” 1). More human slaves are involved in the industry than ever before in history. Becoming more and more common to be involved in human trafficking, it is an enormous industry that occurs all around the world.
Human trafficking can not only be looked at as a form of slavery but as a business as well. Many women are trafficked to the United States to work in the sex industry (“55 Little Known” 3). Some of the places that partake in the sex industry are peep and touch shows, strip clubs, prostitution, and massage parlors that offer sexual services. Although they may be transported to the United States to perform labor work, most are transported for the industry of sex. The majority of human traffickers place false advertisements to pull vulnerable women into the sex industry (Winckelmann 12). Because of the technology and instant communications used in today’s society, this is an easy way for traffickers to increase the number of women they have working for them. Since the internet lets them place ads around the world, they no longer have to risk going to a newspaper office or calling the telephone company. Some of the job positions they may claim to be seeking are tutors, translators, restaurant staff, or household employees. Instead of using a telephone number that may be traced by the police, they usually use an anonymous e-mail account. Clueless victims are lured by the promise of a high-paying job, or sometimes, the opportunity to travel. They discover the truth upon arrival at the destination. Though some traffickers may not use an anonymous method, this is one way that lowers the risk of getting caught in the crime. “A human trafficker can earn 20 times what he or she paid for a girl” (“55 Little Known” 1). As long as the girl isn’t physically brutalized to the point where her beauty is ruined, the pimp can sell her again for a higher price. He has broken her spirit and trained her which saves some hassle for future buyers. In June of 2010, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, launched the Blue Campaign to increase awareness of this crime internationally and domestically (Dinking 2). To increase awareness, Homeland Security conducts training and webinars, develops informational materials, produces informational videos, conducts investigative efforts, provides victim assistance, and conducts outreach. Human Trafficking is a very organized, large business.
People who are sex trafficked go through a lot of suffering and pain, sometimes never ceasing. “Over 71 percent of trafficked children show suicidal tendencies” (55 Little Known 2). Whether it is during or after the experience of human trafficking, they have a hard time coping with what they felt, saw, did, smelled, and heard. After all the negativity that was put in their life, they feel the only way out is through suicide. No matter how hard some past victims try, they can’t forget and heal from their past. One essential experience that all trafficking victims share is a loss of freedom (“Human Trafficking” 1). Once some get involved in sex trafficking, they are often forced to travel far away from their homes. As a result of this, they are isolated from their friends and family. Few in this situation can develop new relationships with adults other than the person victimizing them and their peers. Often, traffickers will take their victims’ identity forms such as birth certificates, drivers’ licenses, and passports. Even if youths do leave in these cases, they would have no ability to support themselves and often will return to their trafficker.
Drug addiction causes many youths to struggle in these situations. By a means of control, the traffickers can simply use their ability to supply the victims with drugs. They are forced to do whatever the trafficker wants to do, whenever the trafficker wants them to do it, regardless of how they feel about it. Their hobbies, lives, feelings, and what pleases them are forgotten; it is no longer about them and what makes them happy. Children’s suffering as trafficking victims begins before their personalities have completely developed (Winckelmann 39). Because of this, it makes it very hard for them to have healthy relationships and make friends. Sometimes, children are sold into slavery by their families, causing them to lose their trust. When trust has been abused, whether between their family or the trafficker, it can be very difficult for the children to learn to trust others again. An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year (“55 Little Known” 1). Abuse, disease, torture, and neglect are a few of the many ways that victims die from human trafficking each year. Living normal lives is no longer a choice for many once-were victims or current victims in the sex industry due to the number of horrific things they have lived through.
Bondage is one tactic trafficker use as a way to get people into the industry and to keep them there for as long as possible. People are often recruited into human trafficking through pressure from their parents, forced abduction, or deceptive agreements between traffickers and parents (Walker-Rodriquez 1). Plenty of cases of recruitment, with the help of parents, are due to the lack of money within the family. Millions have been left homeless and impoverished due to severe natural disasters and global warming. Because of this, people are easily exploited by human traffickers because people become desperate. Traffickers frequently target runaway and homeless youths, victims of domestic violence, war or conflict, sexual assault, handicapped, or social discrimination (“Human Trafficking” 2). For example, some human traffickers recruit young, handicapped girls into the sex industry, such as those suffering from Down syndrome. Most runaway youths originate from families who have abused or abandoned them; they become involved in the industry to support themselves financially. A variety of ways are used by sex traffickers to “condition” their victims (“55 Little Known” 3). Starvation, rape, physical abuse, beating, threats of violence, confinement, shame, and forced drug use are some movements traffickers take to teach their victims. Violence, deception, threats, debt bondage, emotional tactics, and other manipulative actions are taken by traffickers to trap victims in horrific situations in America every day (“Human Trafficking” 1). High-paying jobs, loving relationships, or new and exciting opportunities are often used to lure people into the industry. Financial methods and drugs are also used in certain scenarios. Establishing strong bonds with their young girls is a way for the trafficker to trap their victims in the industry for as long as possible. Perpetrators may promise their youths a lifestyle they didn’t have in their previous family relationships or marriage. All sex acts are claimed to be for their future together; they claim to “love” and “need” their victim. In certain situations where the children have little to no male role models in their lives, the traffickers will take advantage of this fact. Making it even tougher for the youths to break away from their perpetrator, they’ll demand that they call them daddy. The bonds that traffickers make with women and children greatly increase the possibility of a long involvement in the industry.
Lastly, many effects come from getting involved in the sex industry whether it is physical, emotional, or psychological. “Human traffickers often use a Sudanese phrase ‘use a slave to catch slaves,’ meaning traffickers send ‘broken-in girls’ to recruit younger girls into the sex trade” (“55 Little Known” 1). Sex traffickers will often train girls themselves by teaching them sex acts and raping them. Significantly represented as perpetrators, victims, and activists fighting this business, human trafficking is the only crime that occurs across the nation that women can take part in every role. Today, the business of human sex trafficking is way more violent and organized. A victim that has been with her trafficker the longest and earned his trust is known as the bottom. The bottoms perform many jobs such as collecting the money from the other girls, disciplining them, talking others into the industry and handling the day-to-day business for the trafficker. By taking part in this industry, victims face many physical risks (“55 Little Known” 4). Some of the risks include alcohol and drug addiction, sterility, contracting STDs, miscarriages, forced abortions, and anal and vaginal trauma. Oftentimes, they suffer from malnutrition, sleep deprivation, and lack of medical care. Psychological effects are very common once you become involved in the industry as well. They may develop depression, personality disorders, suicidal tendencies, and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (“55 Little Known” 4). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder causes the individual to experience terrible dreams or memories of what happened to them. Anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks are also common after these horrifying experiences. A paradoxical psychological phenomenon occurs when a victim has been abused over an extended period of time so they being to feel an attachment to the perpetrator. Emotional effects are a major problem once you’ve taken part in this industry (Walker-Rodriguez 1). Most of the time, they feel emotionally distant if they even feel emotions at all. Child victims of trafficking suffer from shame, blaming themselves for what happened to them. Stable, healthy relationships are hard for children to have after experiencing what they did. Trusting is a difficult act for them to do. Major effects come from the experiences that the victims were tangled into.
Human trafficking changes most women and children’s lives permanently once they have witnessed the horrors of the expanding business. Every day, the business is getting bigger across the globe. Many women take part in human trafficking whether it was their choice or through force. Once taking part in the industry, they are forever changed physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Our world will forever be in chaos until everyone realizes that people aren’t meant to be used and things aren’t meant to be loved.