International lands typically conjure up when one’s mind comes to the thoughts of human sex trafficking. That kind of horrible conduct is not unique in the United States of America. America is the land of the free and yet something as horrific as human sex trafficking takes place every day in our own backyard. According to the Homeland Security Department, the definition of trafficking in human beings is ‘modern-day slavery involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some kind of labor or commercial sex act’ (‘What is human trafficking?’). The reader will witness the savagery that comes with trafficking and the undeniable damage it does to its victims.
In today’s world, anyone can become a victim of sex trafficking. Family members such as brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and especially babies. There is no mercy for anyone. Job opportunities are one of the leading causes of being trafficked for prostitution, slavery, or human organs. The world today has about twenty to thirty million slaves. Sadly, it is very difficult to identify and locate these organizations and victims because trafficking is a rapidly growing crime. Although there are many organizations created to support survivors, there is inadequate awareness and insufficient action is being taken to stop trafficking in human beings.
Sex trafficking is a form of trafficking of human beings that has been a worldwide problem since ancient times but has been frequently overlooked because it is almost impossible to resolve the dilemma. Sexual exploitation and slavery have been taking place since the dawn of mankind, dating back to ancient times. There are various forms of trafficking, including sexual slavery, where women are coerced into sexual activity, including prostitution and pornography. Another type of trafficking in human beings is slavery, where the victim is coerced into unpaid work, enduring harsh conditions that endanger life. Trafficking of human tissue, cells, and organs is another form of human trafficking.
This is where people, especially the kidneys, are unlawfully robbed of their organs. Criminals take this opportunity to make quick money by kidnapping people and conducting risky operations to sell the victim’s organs because of the country’s long list of transplants needed. The thing that all groups of traffickers have in common is their need for quick easy money. Such pimps will accomplish such goals with little use of people to sell sex, jobs, and organs.
A victim is forced to work without pay where the abductors claim. Trafficking of human beings is a disgrace and a global crisis. This touches people’s and families ‘ lives by depriving fundamental human dignity and freedom and denying human rights. In the journal Human Trafficking Is More Than Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: Implications for Social Work, while not common as sexual exploitation, trafficking for exploitative labor exists worldwide. It occurs in types of farm work, doing efficient household chores, supplying labor in difficult working environments such as mines, and forming gangs for the trafficker’s profits. The idea of trafficking throughout human beings is based on slavery. This involves a trafficker who controls and exploits another human. It’s just like slavery, a type of business that produces billions of dollars annually. Globally, it is totally illegal and is described as a crime and, like slavery, is punishable by law. In the U.S., human trafficking cases can be identified from findings such as the presence in Florida and California of migrant farmworkers. In the immediate environment, it essentially takes place. There are young girls forced into prostitution in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Wichita, and Toledo.
There is no one specific type of survivor when it comes to the history of victims of sex trafficking. These victims come in all shapes and sizes and come from various communities across the country. All survivors have various socio-economic backgrounds, varying educational levels, and may also be reported or undocumented people. According to Equalitynow.org, ninety-eight percent of victims are women and young girls when it comes to different sexes caught in the world of sex trafficking. Equalitynow.org says ‘the sex industry is open to the most marginalized women and girls. Most have experienced significant trauma, and when they enter prostitution, many are still adolescents’ ‘(What Is… Equality Now). The most likely victims of sex trafficking are migrant teenagers and runaways. The National Human Trafficking Hotline focused on a Chicago study in which 56% of prostituted women were originally runaway youth and similar numbers were also found for the male population.
However, it appears that males are overlooked in sex trafficking. Most people don’t see the 2% of males who are also victims of trafficking. Most would only think of young girls or women, however, young boys are also in immediate danger. Is it also another side of this problem that is extremely overlooked. As a result, most of these victims refuse to speak out or seek help for their trauma. According to USAToday, “As a child, Jones was raped, abused and sold to men for sex. The brutality ended when he was 15. But, like many male victims, Jones didn’t seek help, didn’t tell anyone about the trauma he had suffered.” For Jonas, he was unable to speak out and tell an adult because of the shame he felt. In today’s society there is quite a lot of stigma towards boys and being sexually abused. Boys are characterized as wild, unemotional, tough, etc. however, this gender bias is what causes people to be unable to see the big picture. Young boys are just as unable to fight back as young girls. Boys can’t understand what is happening to them just like girls. Boys feel shame and extreme emotion just like girls. Boys aren’t meant to “like” it just as girls do not like it. One of the most concerning gender biases for boys is that boys will like being abused by an older woman or that they are able to get away better than girls just for the sole fact they are boys. Boys are just as many victims as girls and young women are. A quote from USAtoday says, “Key informants pointed out their belief that law enforcement has very little understanding of (commercially exploited) boys. For example, when filing human trafficking reports, they would often ask: ‘Why couldn’t he get away? He’s a boy.’ One informant said she was forced to explain to law enforcement professionals before filing a report that boys and young men can be bought and sold just like girls.” Another quote from USAtoday is “ In 2013, an ECPAT-USA report concluded that the “scope of (the commercial sexual exploitation of boys) is vastly under-reported.” The researchers also cited the need to better identify male victims, raise awareness about the harm caused by commercial exploitation, and provide more services designed specifically for boys. For boys, not being able to understand, deal with their emotions and feelings after being traumatized sexually can lead to many problems toward adulthood. Problems with partners, sexual development, emotions, etc. can result in even bigger issues such as depression, suicide, and drugs.
For this final part, there will be stories of women and men who were trafficked for different reasons. Mary from Nigeria, aged 17, was promised restaurant work and a full trip to Italy by an unknown man named “Ben”. Mary was taken to Libya and forced to have sexual intercourse with Ben soon after they arrived. Mary had no connection to her family and was forced to stay there for months. Finally, when she was going to be sent to Italy, she was informed that she will be working as a prostitute in a camp. Mary had no choice as her mother was being threatened by the men who bought her way to Italy, thus trapping Mary. Khang Nu, who is now 24, was tricked by women from her village in Myanmar. Impoverished, and looking for any opportunity for work, a woman promised khawng a job at a Chinese factory. After khawng was accepted and was sent to China, she soon found herself being forced into a birth trafficking ring. Khawng was to be forced to birth to babies, she was with many other women and some as young as 16. They were treated with shots and injected with sperm into birth babies for Chinese men. however, khawng was able to contact her family and with the help of her village leaders, they were able to arrest the main trafficker.
In conclusion, human trafficking is not one issue, it is multiple issues that need everyone to acknowledge and understand to be able to eradicate. Without understanding and knowledge of this issue, there can be no change. The problem will only increase and more people will become victims and suffer unimaginable trauma. Human trafficking is a vile practice that endangers young men, women, and children.