By: Olivia Reynertson
Sex trafficking is a violent crime that is happening everyday, all around the world. I have always been interested in reading and learning about human sex trafficking. In 2013 I sang with my choir, Bella Voce: Young Women’s Choir, to raise awareness on human trafficking, there we not only sang songs to raise money for awareness. The Minnesota South East Ballet Academy also danced at this awareness. It was very powerful watching over 100 girls stand up against human trafficking. That concert lone helped me realize that it is a lot more prevalent than I thought. It was there that I found out that Minnesota was number 13 for the trade and selling of girls/boys in the United State! Being from Minnesota I was dumbfounded when I found that out! Knowing that this was all happening in my state to I wanted be apart of stopping it. I found an organization that I could volunteer at called Mission 21 in Rochester, Minnesota. They help raise awareness and help victims of human trafficking. I want to make people aware that this problem is only going to worsen when the traffickers keep getting away with what they are doing. Human trafficking should be made more aware of the problem in the U.S., also trafficking laws should be changed or added to increase the punishment to criminals trafficking the victims.
What exactly is human sex trafficking? Today modern day trafficking is a type of slavery that involves the transport or trade of people for the purpose of any type of work. There are children all around the United States who are unfortunately put into these positions. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children it is “estimated in 2016 that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims” (“Sex Trafficking”). This statistic does not even show the children who are taken against their will. Roughly around “4.5 million women and children being trafficked around the world” which is more than Nebraska’s and Kansas’s populations combined(“Sex Trafficking”). Human sex trafficking is a “$32 billion annual industry” which is roughly $87 billion daily (“Facts on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery | Soroptimist”).
Human trafficking can be a very tough subject to talk about, that is why most news stations do not publicize these issues because of the young ears who could be listening. They do however publicize when the police have a bust. The media needs to help bring people aware, by putting those details out there they should not sugar coat anything, because if you do it will not help people realize the extent of the problem. The news should cover what to look for in a victim, how to identify if someone looks like they need help and how to deal with something of that extent. As of now they are just touching on the victims in the news and how they have returned home safely. They are not talking about all of the ones who have not been rescued out of trafficking.
There are multiple different acts and laws that are in place for human trafficking, there is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, Preventing Sex Trafficking and strengthening Families Act of 2014, and Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization of 2013. “The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 improves the U.S. response to human trafficking. It contains amendments that strengthen services to help victims. In these amendments, are changes in the criminal liability of buyers of commercial sex from victims of trafficking” (“Federal Law”). “The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, this law, enacted in 2014, strengthens existing laws on child welfare, including additional stage actions related to foster care and adoption. This law recognizes how states’ welfare agencies play a key role in the longer term stability and assistance to minor victims of trafficking” (“Human Trafficking Task Force E-Guide”). Lastly, Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization of 2013, this covers international trafficking such as the right to restrict passports, prevention of child marriage, it also covers the prevention of trafficking people in the United States (H.R. 898). It is great that there are now laws in place that helps protects victims.
We should improve these laws even more by increasing the punishment for the traffickers and the buyers. As you can see in the Acts above, all of these laws focus onto the victims and say barely anything about the trafficker itself. By adding to the laws that are in place it won’t only help the victims of sex trafficking, it will also help secure that there is a punishment established to help regulate the time served.
By raising awareness and adding more about the traffickers regulated punishments, these two things alone will bring us one step closer to making sex trafficking a thing of the past. Human sex trafficking is a real problem that is going on not only in the United States but also all around the world. Human sex trafficking will not go away fast, but it is these small steps that we can take to walking away from the high demand.
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888–373-7888 if you notice anything.
“Facts on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery | Soroptimist.” Soroptimist – Women’s Organization – Volunteer Organizations. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.
“Federal Law.” National Human Trafficking Hotline. Polaris, 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 01 Apr. 2017.
“Human Trafficking Task Force E-Guide.” OVC TTAC. Office of Justice Programs, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017.
“Sex Trafficking.” Polaris. N.p., 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.