What is Human Trafficking? It is modern day slavery. It is the taking of a human life and holding it in bondage without pay, without freedom, and without escape. Whatever the form, whether labor trafficking (especially for work in nail salons, hair braiding studios, sweatshops, or on farms) or sex trafficking (forcing women, children, and occasionally men to prostitute themselves), it is horrific
Traffickers work in plain sight in both suburban towns and major cities. They kidnap and coerce victims, including many runaways, from foreign countries as well as from within the United States. Trafficking is often depicted as a large ring of traffickers, an organized crime syndicate. But it is usually the opposite: one trafficker, holding a few people against their will. These small groups are not easily detected by law enforcement and many times go unnoticed by bystanders.
Trafficking is a lucrative business. A girl who has been sex trafficked, for example, can bring in $3,000 a night. And her forced prostitution can continue for years. Interpol estimates that traffickers earn $21 billion annually, and that number is increasing.
The efforts to combat human trafficking are inspiring, but there is always more to be done – Human Trafficking will not end without our help. We need to understand why it exists and what we can do to help end it. We need to mobilize and act. General Convention must continue to take a stand against human trafficking: A029 asks for protections for trafficking victims on Indian Reservations and for our support to stop this evil.
- Laura Russell, Episcopal Network for Economic Justice