Turn on your television and watch the news. Wall Street, stocks, affordable health care, theft or robbery sometimes and even occasionally murder. What about human trafficking? This incredible syndicate of crime seems to be largely understated in American society. The idea of human trafficking is not unfamiliar when we think of matters overseas in places like Russia, Europe, Africa when young girls are taken because they are perhaps orphans or tourists, sometimes even local girls who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. These girls are drugged, beaten, abused, tortured and forced to sell themselves for profit off their bodies for their pimps. Of course this long list of crimes are not just inflicted on women, however the statistic for women is much higher than that of captured males.
The opportunity to study this topic has never really occurred me until I walked in to Rhetoric class earlier this February. After watching a video, I started to read more articles about human trafficking and modern slavery. Ranging from forced indentured servitude to sex crimes, human trafficking and slavery is nothing to be ignored. I’ve travelled overseas to Germany and Austria, where I have been face to face with strange men calling out to me and my friends to “take a ride” and I reflect and think, what if we had trusted those good looking guys who were seemingly inebriated and harmless? We could be in the same spot.
I grew up in a small town in Kansas where sex trafficking was really a foreign concept, until I found out that a lot of Kansas girls who go to the coasts in search of work or fame get roped in to the sex trade. Of course, this frightening realization set me aback and made me think more carefully about travelling there in search of work after college as well. The worst part about sexual entrapment is that it’s not just limited to street pimps and low-key operations, professionals in the business and modeling world for example can be pimps too. They more often blackmail their women with pictures or videos of the girls naked and threaten their reputation if the girls do not comply with their demands. This really affected me because in this modern age with picture messaging and social media, you have no guarantee that your conversations with people really are private. I use my phone to keep in touch with my family, get ahold of friends, coaches and teammates, but now I’ve started to feel safer just doing the old fashioned things.
On a last, and very personal note, sex trafficking really hits home to me because I think about later in my life when I have children. I know, like my mother, I would go to the ends of the earth to protect them and to give them all that they had ever wanted but how will that guarantee that my daughter isn’t touched by this trade. I think of all the girls that are trafficked each day with horrible lives and no hope for anything better. Those girls are sisters, daughters, even mothers and they have no sense of self worth. As a young woman, in this day and age, finding a true sense of your self worth is very difficult. Men aren’t raised like they used to be, moral standards are pretty much shot. Video games and media seem to push the envelope and really affect some people in the wrong ways; society as a whole has become weaker. There must be a way to make this a more prominent issue, an issue that is combatted and rules against it enforced, only then can that little girl, bound in chains since she was thirteen, be set free.