Congress passed the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in 1865, but worldwide slavery levels are at an all-time high. Human trafficking is the weed growing in the community garden of progress.
Human trafficking is the second fastest growing crime and rakes in $32 billion every year. It is estimated that there are 20-30 million people living as slaves in the world, with the odds of rescue being 1-in-100.
It is a despairing truth that children are being subjected to extreme brutality at the hands of pimps and handlers who represent the lowest form of humanity.
In the sex trade 80 percent victims are under the age of 24, with some being as young as six. Victims may be forced to have sex 48 times a day while pimps make up to $200,000 per child annually.
Many of these victims are between the ages of 12 and 14 who ran away from home. One out of every three runaways will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
Turning a blind eye to human trafficking is unconscionable. Given its proximity to the world’s busiest land border crossing, San Diego is on the Department of Justice’s top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis recently announced that the number of human trafficking cases have jumped from nine cases in 2009 to 46 in 2013. Pimps and handlers look at large multiday events as a way to triple their money and will bring in more girls from other cities. San Diego Comic-Con brings human traffickers booming business and an opportunity to lurk for new prey. Without proper education, many young women are sitting ducks during open season.
Not much is being done to educate students on the dangers of human trafficking. An organization that is working to promote awareness is the A21 Campaign. Its “Bodies are Not Commodities” campaign offers a free downloadable curriculum for teachers who want to educate their students on human trafficking.
There needs to be more of a movement to prevent human trafficking before it happens rather than trying to fix it when it does. It is important that people educate themselves about this crime. Citizens need to urge their legislatures to take a stand against human trafficking by proposing laws to combat it. State Senator Marty Block is an active advocate against human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is among the most despicable and odious of crimes because traffickers treat victims as property to be used and sold,” he said.
Sex trafficking has pulled in victims from every background without discrimination. It is because of this that ultimately the burden of lessening these startling statistics and keeping people from falling into the clutches of this type of slavery rests on the shoulders of everyday citizens as much as it is the responsibility of the government. It is imperative that people learn to recognize the signs of various human trafficking in order to stay safe and potentially save others.
For more information or to report an incident the National Human Trafficking Resource Center can be reached at (888) 373-7888.