Human Trafficking, or modern-day slavery, is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In short, trafficking is people profiting from the control and exploitation of others. That can take on varied faces.
When I began to learn about trafficking, Polaris Project was one of my first stops. This text on their site explains it better than I ever could:
As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The factors that each of these situations have in common are elements of force, fraud, or coercion that are used to control people.
Human trafficking matters at every level, but there’s something especially urgent about our need to protect our children. One statistic I came across states that in the United States, the largest newly-trafficked demographic is American-born girls between the ages of 12 and 14. As a mother, aunt and human being, I find this beyond horrifying. I’m desperate to change those numbers.
The Covering House, an organization at the forefront of the fight, says it well on their website:
Sex trafficking in the U.S. is largely operating within the bounds of the general sex industry and as such, has been able to silently infiltrate our society disguised within a variety of venues…
We are only beginning to wrap our minds around the vastness of this issue. Groups like Project Liberty work with law enforcement to recover victims and train law enforcement agencies. There is a desperate need for more groups like them, and for existing groups to coordinate their efforts. There’s always a need for more funding.
Here’s a bit about Project Liberty in their own words:
Project Liberty is such an example of real life people on the “frontlines” of the battlefield against human trafficking. We are involved in searching for victims and potential victims especially the runaways who often become “throwaways” and are lured into human trafficking within 48 hours on the streets. Our children are overwhelmingly being scammed on the Internet and become forced into prostitution and are ordered like ordering pizza to be delivered! Project Liberty is blessed and grateful to partner with Heather Huffman, an amazing woman, in the fight to end modern day slavery and stolen innocence. We offer hope to those that are enslaved.
Another side of this issue is what to do with victims who’ve been recovered. When I first joined the fight to end human trafficking, I was told there were 50 beds in the United States to house recovered victims. (Keep in mind that while we have no idea how many victims we’re truly dealing with, the numbers are in the tens of thousands.) Many rescued girls find themselves in juvenile detention centers or living undercover with no assistance in the recovery process. Groups like The Covering House are working to change this, but they need your help.
If you want to learn more or join the fight, I recommend looking into the groups linked on this page or contacting me via the form on my website.