There is a very serious, and under discussed topic in our society.  Most of us have some slight awareness of it, while others have no idea how worldwide human trafficking is.

First, it’s relevant and extremely important to recognize that human traffickers buy and sell people and that it’s a modern form of slavery; essentially, unlawfully detaining people for others’ use. Unfortunately, Dr. Inga Maples pointed out that the victims of this crime are usually females and that these females are treated like commodities that are available to buy and sell.  Additionally, she also pointed out that this is a multi-billion dollar business and the demand doesn’t seem to be decreasing.

In what capacity do victims of human trafficking work in? There is a wide array of jobs that victims are forced to perform. The most common is the selling of sex/sexual favors and prostitution. Other jobs include, but are not limited to, domestic servitude, sweatshop work, restaurant personnel, etc. For example, the “Merced Sun Star” reported that two people were arrested in connection to human trafficking with a minor on February 11, 2015. This demonstrates the extent of the problem. Human trafficking can occur anywhere in the world, even at Merced.

According to the FBI, human trafficking is the third most frequently committed crime worldwide. Their focus is to investigate crimes that are being committed in the United States. Why does the FBI investigate crimes of human trafficking?  It’s common knowledge that the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery of African Americans in 1865; thus, making it illegal to hold persons in an involuntary servitude in the United States unless it’s punishment for a crime that was committed.  Therefore, making human trafficking a federal crime.

How can we help? First and foremost, if you suspect that a crime of human trafficking is occurring within the United States, please report it to your local authorities or call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888)373-7888. Second, support legislation that helps victims of human trafficking and increases prison sentences for the perpetrators. Third, support programs that train people in service industries regarding human trafficking, such as Airline Ambassadors. This program trains flight attendants how to spot signs of human trafficking or sex trafficking.  Additionally, we can donate to organizations that help victims of human trafficking such as California Against Slavery which is an organization that helps create stronger laws against human trafficking. Also, there are some international organizations, such as Anti-Slavery International. This organization works with local and international governments to eliminate all forms of slavery/human trafficking in the world.  Lastly, to learn about the 15 signs of human trafficking go to https://www.state.gov.

Please continue to be aware of this problem and remember that this problem didn’t come about in one day or caused by one person. Thus, it will take a world-wide effort in eliminating human trafficking.


Photo Credit: Ashley Ramos

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