Modern-day slavery and human trafficking are two very appalling and ugly worldwide crimes that happen on a day to day basis and go unnoticed by many Americans. Each and every day hundreds of women and young children go missing. Many are separated from their families and forced into the life of a sexual slave. These people are demoralized, stripped of their possessions, and pimped out to customers willing to pay for sexual favors. These are people, not property and this is wrong beyond an ethical level.
Until recent times, I was among the majority of the ignorant population. I knew very little about the underworld of human trafficking nor even cared so much about it. Under twenty years of age, I was the type more concerned with how I dressed, my friends, my cars, and my social life. Now that I have been exposed to these grotesque crimes, I feel that I should be just as worried and active about them as any of my previous concerns. This may not be an activity that we can stop overnight, but if we choose no to look the other way, we can certainly help. Just as America won The Revolutionary War, it shows that it only takes a very small group of people to band together and accomplish big things.
I admire the work of The FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Unit. This is a special, recently formed unit that works in coordination with many other agencies to help and recover victims of modern day slavery and human trafficking. These victims not only received temporary shelter and clothing, but the FBI helped them to healthcare, more permanent shelter, and other programs. Contrary to popular belief, much of prostitution isn’t “advertised” on the streets anymore; many of the pimps advertise on the internet and target the crowds drawn from large or high profile events such as the Super Bowl. Along with help from it’s partners, the FBI has helped to recover over 3,100 children and made 1,400 convictions to date.
When presented with all the facts and statistics about modern-day slavery, it makes me think and get somewhat upset. It’s a culmination of anger, sympathy, guilt, and sorrow all at once; it sets my mind into turmoil and chaos. According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons report, there are 800,000 people trafficked across international borders every year; 80 percent of those victims are female. Even more shocking is the fact that 50 percent of these people are children under the age of 18. These victims live all over the world, within 161 different countries. It makes me wonder as to just how this can happen because any type of slavery in the world has been illegal since 1981. It’s been 33 years and this problem still persists. Although 800,000 is a meager .011 percent of The World’s population, it approximately 10 percent of the population of New York City, New York. Can you imagine that one of every ten people you saw in that city could be a victim of modern-day slavery? At times, it’s overwhelming.
Over the next semester and throughout the rest of my life, I hope to begin to take action and at least be a voice for some of these victims. Many will never know what freedom is, but for some that are lucky there will be great things. Unfortunately, I alone can’t win this fight. I hope many others will help me to emancipate these people from their pimps in the years to come.