History has to bear witness to the heinous and inhuman practice of trafficking women and children who are sold into slavery, prostitution, and labor. This illegal practice of transporting, transferring, recruiting and ultimately selling women as if they are goods has continued to persist even in this era of globalization and technological advancements. What seemed to be an improvement in the modern age has actually proven to be an additional advantage for organizations that are trafficking into and within nations. Nowadays, human traffickers have even established their own stations or recruitment groups in the more impoverished countries in the world.
Just like in the earlier years, women who come from less developed countries still makeup the majority of the victims in this human trade. According to the US State Department, approximately 640,000 women are being transported illegally into the United States every year, the majority of which are being sold as sex slaves, while the rest are forced into labor. Women coming from Asian, African and South American countries, where the literacy rate is still lower than the rest of the world, are constantly recruited in the guise of “better, high-paying jobs.” Once they arrive in the country, though, they are already stripped off their possessions and are coerced into prostitution.
These countries have been dubbed as “nurseries” for human traffickers.
Trafficking is actually not very far from home. Only recently, the government has discovered that this inhumane conduct is actually being practiced within the United States. It is estimated that around 325,000 American minors are actually in the potential risk of being sexually exploited. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released reports stating 47,472 American girls who have been caught in 2006 were identified as runaways. Studies indicate that there is actually a high risk for these girls to be coerced into prostitution, given that they are unprotected by adults. Certain cities within United States bear proof of this claim. In San Francisco, 96% of women who are prostituted ran away from their homes, while in Boston and Chicago the percentage also seems significant at 72% and 56% respectively.
According to researches, sex traffickers normally approach adolescents who seem to just have recently run away from home. It is during these periods that minors appear lost, unguarded, and vulnerable. They recognize the weaknesses that these young escapees have such as the lack funds, places to sleep in, or even the skills to get a job, making it easier for traffickers to manipulate them.
Today, a lot of organizations are already formed globally and within the country in order to address this prevailing issue. National organizations such as the Polaris Project and international organizations like the United Nations Office and Crimes are teaming up with authorities on different cities and countries in order to provide a solution to this long-standing problem. The US Department of Justice also provides assistance to victims of the crime. For adult women who have been forced, intimidated and transferred in the country for purposes of sex or labor trafficking, they can approach the US Department of Human Health Services for assistance. Minors who are survivors of trafficking are eligible to receive benefits from the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program.
There are existing laws concerning human trafficking, there are still no major studies which provide the perfect solution to prevent this type of crime. Being a victim of human trafficking is a traumatic experience, and that is why the government and some NGOs provide promising programs in order to assist them in their recovery process.