Human Trafficking has been identified as a form of modern-day slavery. Being defined as “the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit human beings for some type of labor or commercial sex purposes.”
There are 3 different elements of human trafficking:
- The act [what is done]
- The means [how it’s done]
- The purpose [why it’s done]
Nearly 15,500 individuals are trafficked into the United States, yearly, with about 50% of them being children. The average age for starting girls is between 13 and 14 years old. Victims of human trafficking are mostly female, with about 2% of them being male.
Once girls are brought into the arena, they are branded by their “gorilla,” also known as a “pimp,” with a specific tattoo.
Each pimp has its own tattoo, to label “their” girls, as a way to psychologically control them and to create permanent ownership. These tattoos can range from anything, from dollar signs to the name of the individual that “owns” them to bar codes. Most pimps will tattoo their girls with the amount of money that the girls owe them, in which they use this as financial control and exploitation in certain cases.
Most victims of human trafficking are runaways looking for anyone to give them the attention that they’ve been craving since they were little. Once someone gives them that attention, they feel the need to give their life to the individual that “saved” them. One individual that fell into this dark hole was Christine McDonald.
McDonald grew up in an abusive home, in which she was trying to run away from. Around the age of 15, McDonald stole money from her mother to purchase a bus ticket for Oklahoma City; where she found an abandoned house and lived there for five days. McDonald was picked up on the street by a man, who introduced himself as Rocky. After a few days, McDonald started to become more comfortable towards the new stranger; he groomed her and took her to bars and strip clubs. After being sold to Rocky’s brother, for $2,500, McDonald worked as a stripper, providing sexual services to men. She turned to drugs as a coping mechanism. Eventually, she became too drugged up, to work inside, and was put on the streets, where she worked as a prostitute for 17 years.
The purpose of any individual to be involved in human trafficking is solely for the purpose of exploitation, whether it’s forced labor or sexual exploitation. The driving motive for most traffickers is profit. Human trafficking rakes in about $9.5 billion yearly, in the United States. With each pimp having the ability to make $150,000 – $200,000 per child.
There are many ways in which you can get involved to help and end human trafficking. Learning the red flags that indicate human trafficking as well as asking to follow up questions. Human trafficking training is also available to individuals as well as law enforcement. These courses put their focus on defining, detecting, and investigating human trafficking, helping to apply what you learn into the field. One course that can be taken is one that is offered at McAfee Institute, Certified Human Trafficking Investigator.
“It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.” -Desmond Tutu