By Taylor Worley
When the idea of human trafficking comes to mind, countries such as India, China, Ghana, Haiti, and Pakistan, according to “The Top 10 Countries Infamous for Human Trafficking”, fill the minds of many people. Many people are taken aback by the fact that the United States, land of the free, is ironically equally responsible for the engagement in human trafficking. Annie Roe, a junior at Viera High School states, “Some common misconceptions about human trafficking is that it doesn’t occur in the United States.” The majority of the general public has long been unaware that their own neighborhoods may be heavy in human trafficking, and although there have been efforts to raise awareness many people still remain ignorant about this growing epidemic.
According to the FBI, 300,000 children are at risk for prostitution in the United States alone. The FBI also leaked that the average age of those whom have been trafficked are about 13 or 14 years old, 94% of which are women. The Polaris Project, an organization aimed to help those who have been victims of human trafficking, released data saying that about 15,550 people have been smuggled in the United States for sexual slavery.
Human Trafficking is the trade of humans, usually for sexual slavery, or for the extraction of organs and tissues. There are three elements to human trafficking that have been prefaced by The Polaris Project. The first element is the act, or how it’s done, which includes recruitment, transportation, harboring, or the receipt of persons. The second element is the means, or how it’s done, which includes threat, abduction, fraud, and abuse or vulnerability. The third element is the purpose, or why it’s done. Usually, prostitution, forced labor, slavery, and removal of organs. Many times people are smuggled from foreign countries to be engaged in sexual slavery. Tia Rutherford, a ninth grader commented that human trafficking, “… is a violation of human rights and barbaric in a way.”
Efforts have been made to eradicate human trafficking altogether including raising awareness on the issue at hand. Tenth grader, Nicki Corcione boldly proclaims, “Spread the word around, have something done about it!” There are many ways to raise awareness on human trafficking. Researching the topic, telling friends and family, raising funds to help those who have been affected and joining organizations that combat human trafficking in the community are all powerful ways to make a difference.
Human Trafficking is a horrible problem that has become more prominent in everyday society and needs to be destroyed. The first step to freeing those who have been stripped of their rights is to act on the cause immediately.