In 2006, Shaun Newell was seventeen when she was deceived by a friend that she had just known for a few days. Shaun slept at that girls house somewhere in Pensacola, Florida. Shaun’s nightmare began after that day. She was drugged, molested, and assaulted. Sadly, she became a victim of human trafficking. She was held for only four days, but they were the most devastating days that Newell will have to live with for the rest of her life (The Jammed True Stories of Human Trafficking Blog). Cbsnews.com sources states, “the U.S. government says human trafficking is one of the largest criminal industries in the world-second only to drugs-and the fastest growing” (Smith). Yet many people nowadays misunderstand that they are safe and protected when they are living in the U.S. It is because the U.S. has one of the best security systems around the world. However, many people do not know about human trafficking. It is a serious crime that takes place in America. Every day, there are people who are kidnapped, abused, and raped in America. Also, they become victims of human trafficking.
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Human trafficking is actually a different form of slavery. According to an overview about human trafficking issues from the website acf.hhs.gov, victims of human trafficking are young children, teenagers, men, and women. Additionally, the victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. In the website UN.org, it reveals some facts: “More than 2.4 million have been trafficked into forced labor worldwide. 600,000 to 800,000 are trafficked across borders each year. 12,000 children are working as slaves on cocoa plantations in West Africa.” That is a big number. In addition, human trafficking takes place in almost every country around the world, more particularly in developing countries. Young women are brought for prostitution or pornography, and others are brought for labor.
A statistic points out that a number between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year. Tracy Smith from CBS news claims that a lot of women were deceived for promised jobs, but then they were sold from $10,000 to $300,000, or they were brought for labor or prostitution. That just explains why many human traffickers bring their “employees” to the United States. It is because they can sell their “employees” for a high price that they never had at other countries. It seems that they gain more profit from doing that.
In the article “Okla. Women Shares Human Trafficking Story,” Darrell Weaver, the agency’s executive director states, “Someone told me years ago that human trafficking could be larger than drug trafficking. I didn’t want to believe them. But now, it’s surely more troubling because of the victims.” Indeed, human trafficking has become a huge business. According to Pbs.org, the profits of human trafficking industry are estimated to be eight to ten billion dollars a year. This profit of human trafficking is increasing since there are more people who are deceived and trafficked. This is “a good deal” for a business. Getting ten billion dollars a year sounds unacceptable and strange because it is not very easy for a business to get that big number in a year. Moreover, Pbs.org strongly emphasizes, “Players in this industry vary significantly in size, geographical range, and organizational structure.” That means the human traffickers could be anyone, and even someone that we know. The human traffickers could be everywhere.
It seems that the human trafficking industry has so much power. It must have support. However, who supports it? There are a lot of groups and organizations that are committing this crime. Nonetheless, there are a few main organizations that have been really “popular” for doing this. One of them is Fuk Ching, an Asian gang that was formed in New York in 1980s. It is estimated that the organization has 35 members right now, not including the other 20 who are in the prison at the time. Even the number of the group seems not a big quantity. It has been involved in a lot of kidnapping, smuggling, etc (James O. Finckenauer, Ph.D). Furthermore, based on the article “Italian Organized Crime,” the FBI notes that the Italian Mafia is a really huge crime organization with approximately 25,000 members over the world. They even have several active affiliates in America with over 3,000 members. They are known for doing a lot of criminal acts, for example, weapon trades, trafficking, bombing, fraud, gambling, real estate, etc. Besides, they are high-profile for human trafficking as well. Based on the reports of the BBC, one in five Italian businesses was controlled by organized criminal groups in 2000 and had $900 billion in their assets. In addition, Italy is an important transit and destination country for the poor in Eastern Europe and the affluent West, particularly for migrants from Albania. Italian gangs cooperated with Albanian gangs to smuggle women and girls for prostitution. According to PBS, it states that this is a good road for crime business for countries such as Italy, France, and Germany. It also adds that Albanian Gangs are extremely violent and well-armed. Kidnapping young girls and bringing them to prostitution are their jobs.
Out of many organizations, this is just three sample organizations that are involved in the Human Trafficking all over the globe. Nevertheless, there are still other human-trafficking organizations. Japanese Yakuza, The Chinese Snakeheads, The Russian Mafia, Thai Lan’s Jao Pho and Red Wa, Taiwanese group Heijin, Hong Kong’s Triads, and so on are a few examples (L L Keene). Each of them has their own methods of doing human-trafficking business, and they always modify better and different ways every time they work.
Abcnews.go.com shares a story of a fifteen-year-old named Debbie. She was a victim of human trafficking, and it changed her life forever. One evening in September, one of her friends named Blanca kidnapped Debbie. Blanca and two men took her into an apartment and started threatening her. Debbie was scared and fainted when one of the guys pointed a gun to her head. After she woke up, the captors raped her. Though, it was not the worst. For over 40 days, Debbie was forced to have sex with at least 50 men in different places every night. Debbie was put into a kennel, and that was her bed every day and night when she was not serving any customers. Debbie was afraid if she escaped, they would go after her family and kill them. Hence, she decided to stay. Police failed to find her in the apartment that she was held captive the first time they searched because she was put into a drawer under the bed and was too scared to scream. However, the police found Debbie in the same apartment the second time. After the tragic event, Debbie’s family moved to another place. Debbie’s story was tremendously terrifying, yet this is just one of over thousand stories that could be easily found on the internet. How about the stories of people who were kidnapped and trafficked to be sex slaves or labor slaves? And their stories were never exposed to the public for some reasons which are horrible? Debbie was lucky that she was eventually rescued, but how about other people who had situations like Debbie? They never came back to their family or their loved ones. They may have died or may continue to suffer now.
Human trafficking is harmful and horrific, yet not many people know its potential danger until they experience it. It is harmful because it damages victims physically. Based on the research of PecanGroup, Alexis Aronowitz writes, “The use of sexual protection is negligible in this industry, leaving the exploited at a high risk of contracting various sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS that they further pass on to the men and their partners.” That means the victims of human trafficking are forced to have sex with other men without using any protection. And that means they may have a high chance to get HIV/AIDS. That is so horrible. The author also addresses that the victims are forced to take drugs and have poor living conditions. They eat meals with lack of nutritious food that causes malnourishment and they are not given any medical aid or pills when they have various diseases (PecanGroup/ Alexis Aronowitz). Moreover, it is horrible because it damages victims psychologically, more particularly children. “The children suffer from lack of self-esteem, emotional disturbance, disorientation, and depression and are scarred for life,” the U.S. Department of State claims. Moreover, it also addresses that the children develop deep psychological disorders that they struggle with the rest of their lives even if they have been rescued. Of course, the U.S. Department of State believes that the rates of suicide of the children are very high. It does not matter how much medicine they take, or how many times per week they see therapists, or even how much their families are willing to help them. What happened to them will always come back and haunt them. Although the victims may escape from the human traffickers, they may live a life of fear.
Law enforcement has difficulty dealing with human trafficking because of the embarrassment and fear of the victims, language barriers, or maybe sophisticated traffickers. However, law enforcement agencies ignore these challenges to bring human traffickers to justice. The FBI is an example. According to Fbi.gov:
The FBI has stepped up its efforts to disrupt human trafficking operations worldwide and to free its victims. These efforts are focused on combating the exploitation of individuals who work in labor industries, such as agriculture and domestic service, and who are forced into prostitution and slave labor.
This clearly shows that the government really takes this crime seriously and demonstrates that they care about the safety of their people. The FBI initiatives started in 2004, and has been co-operating with local police department, agencies, and other human trafficking victim advocacy organizations together to fight for this crime. So far, they have investigated almost 100 cases, and have solved most of them. The FBI infinitives’ goal for the future is that they will plan ahead future plan for the possible cases. In the meantime, they will connect to the residents and the community to get more information about this type crime so that the residents and the community groups will be more aware of it.
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While FBI is doing their jobs, good news comes out. President Obama decides to get involved in this issue since the human trafficking has become a bigger issue. In the article “Obama Steps to Fight Human Trafficking,” the author Ken Thomas and Matthew Daly writes that the White House orders prohibitions against human trafficking for federal contracts and subcontracts, including large oversea contracts. The author also notes the administration will provide more training for federal prosecutors, law enforcement officials, immigration judges and others to combat human trafficking. Human trafficking is a serious problem that the White House has stepped in. It is good news to hear because it shows how the Government cares for us. They do not ignore what is happening. And it gives a new hope for us and the victims of human trafficking.
I think that the Government is trying as best as they could to help people. However, human trafficking is still happening. The only possible answer that I could come up with is maybe people who commit this crime always create different methods every time they act. It will be different than previous methods. The process will be cleverer, trickier, and more sophisticated. In addition, it has driven the police insane to figure out their agenda and how to solve it as well. “Everybody has a responsibility. Every nation can take action,” Obama spoke at Clinton Global Initiative (Rubenfeld, Samuel). I think that community is the powerful solution. That means we, the residents, should not always lean on the Government all the time. In a research “Human Trafficking and Florida Law Enforcement,” the author Sonide Simon writes, “a policing philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnership.” I think that we have to be careful, especially those who have kids. Parents should never allow their children go out at night. Teenagers should be warned about this issue. Educators should remind their students about this kind of crime as well as the methods to stay away from it. Furthermore, in each neighborhood, the residents should have meetings to discuss the safety of the area. Hence, neighborhood watches can be formed. As a result, I think it will be hard for human traffickers to commit their crimes. And there are other many ways that we could do to prevent kidnapping. The thing is that we have to step up and do it.
In addition, building more websites about the harms of human trafficking is another solution. There are many websites on the internet. The website of U.S. Department of State (http://www.state.gov/j/tip/) is an example. The website updates the news or tips that the Government is doing to fight against human trafficking. Another example is the website humantrafficking.org. It was also built to combat human trafficking. This website is different from the previous website. It connects with many different countries like Australia, Vietnam, United States, etc. It is like a big alliance to fight against the human trafficking in the world. It mentions the plans of each government in different country do. It is a good idea for students like me to know more what the Government is doing to stop a serious crime-human trafficking. Because it is a website, it can rapidly disseminate the information to other people living in the world. That means I can share with other people, and they may share with others, too. As a result, many people will have a background of knowledge and awareness of this issue to teach their kids or to find better ways to prevent human traffickers.
In conclusion, human trafficking is a serious crime because it is a different form of slavery. More and more people are trafficked every year. The victims are forced into heavy labors, prostitution, etc. In addition, criminal organizations are making good profit from human trafficking. Furthermore, human trafficking damages victims physically and psychologically, leaving them a chance to get HIV and fearful lives. Knowing the serious issue, the government has involved in combating human trafficking. Additionally, residents can also join the government to help fighting against human trafficking. “The U.S. and international community need to step up efforts to help more than 20 million victims of human trafficking around the globe,” Obama spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative (Ken Thomas and Matthew Daly). This is time for us to think of the human rights. We are human and we do not accept any slavery in this country or even the globe. We must fight against this crime. This is time for us to wake up. We have to team up, step in, and do it. As a result, we can help reduce or wipe out human trafficking on this planet.
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