Human Trafficking: Today’s Slavery

When did slavery end?  No, it was not with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  Slavery is alive and well today.  You may think that if it’s alive it’s in Africa or some other third world country, as I did, until I heard a talk at our church about human trafficking in Los Angeles.  Human trafficking is happening right in your back yard, except you’ve never seen it.

How does human trafficking work?  Two examples:  A young girl runs away from home; within a few days she will be approached by a human trafficker and groomed.  She will be told that the person talking to her cares for her and that he will take care of her.  With time she will learn to trust this person as her boyfriend who has her interest at heart.  Once she commits to this fellow, he drops the hammer.  He’ll tell her that they can make a huge amount of money in the sex business.  He assures her that he loves her and that sex with others for money is not that bad and it really validates their relationship.  If she objects he will turn to intimidation. He will tell her that if she refuses he will hurt her and her family.   The human trafficking pimps are so good at what they do that they manage to take complete control of the girls by threats of physical and psychological intimidation.  At a recent church human trafficking workshop, an LAPD Lieutenant who is the head the Human Trafficking Division told this story of a young girl they interviewed:  This young girl told her story about how she got enmeshed in this.  The police were able to arrest the pimp and prepare a criminal case against him.  When they went to court the girl refused to testify against the pimp for fear of reprisal.

A second way young girls get involved goes something like this:  A beautiful young woman is working at a department store.  A well dressed gorgeous woman approaches her and tells her that she knows a job she can get her that will pay her way more than she can make at the store.  She tells the young woman that she can pick her up after her shift and take her to her office where she will lay out her case.  The young woman agrees.  At the end of her shift she picks her up in a brand new Mercedes-Benz.  The young lady is now very impressed,  She takes her to her office where she meets this hunk of a young man who just sweeps her off her feet.  This young man then grooms her until she is in.  He then tells her what her real job will be:  sex for money.  If she objects, the threat will come.  Threats of violence both to her and her family.

Here are some facts about human trafficking:

1.  There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today, that’s the highest number in history

2  Human trafficking has been identified as the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to drug trafficking.

3.  The United States is one of the top three destination points for human trafficking, with California, Nevada, New York, and Texas as the top states.

4.  According to estimates, 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation and 19% labor exploitation.

5.  The average age for of a young woman in human trafficking is now 12 years old.  Click here for more information.

An important point made by the LAPD Lieutenant mentioned earlier:  Victims of human trafficking are NOT prostitutes.  They are victims.  A 12-year old girl does not volunteer to be a sex slave.

Click  here for a 43-minute documentary by CNN called Amber Lyon’s Documentary.

What can we do?  Be informed and inform others.  If you run into anyone involved in human trafficking give them a number they can call for help.  Human Trafficking Hotline:  1-888-3737-888; or contact Zoe at 661-255-7963.

Read the book:  How You can Fight Human Trafficking by Susan Patterson and Through God’s Grace Ministry.  You can buy it on Amazon.com

Human Trafficking: Today’s Form of Slavery

Whenever I heard the phrase “human trafficking” I would think of it as something that took place in such places as Sudan, South America or some third world country.  Last night at our Respect Life meeting we had a woman speak to us on the subject of human trafficking.  Oh how wrong I was!  Not only was the hard truth of this subject shocking but enraging.  Hard fact number one: Human trafficking is taking place right in our back yard.  Los Angeles area is one of the top places in the world for human trafficking.  The main reason is money.  Human traffickers make more money in the US than they can anywhere in the world.  We’re not talking about slavery like it was practiced before where a person was captured and transported to the new world and sold to a slave holder to work on the owner’s farm, we’re talking about human trafficking that involves the sex trade. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world.  The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimate that there are between 100,000 to 300,000 kids, under the age of 18 being exploited in the United States.

Now I know what you’re thinking, only girls who run away or low-income girls from the ghetto get involved in this trade.  Wrong again.  Hard truth number two:  Although it is true that many young girls who run away or are from the ghetto do get involved in this trade, there are many girls from well to do families who are lured into this trade by the devious tactics of the human trafficker.  Here is how it works.  A young girl is working in a department store, a well dressed, beautiful woman approaches her and compliments her on her beauty and tells her she knows where this young girl can make ten times what she makes working in the department store.  The young girl is suspicious but since this is a refined looking and attractive woman she relents and agrees to talk to her after her shift.  They meet in the parking lot where the woman invites the young girl to take a ride with her.  The young girl has some suspicion but since the woman is driving an expensive Mercedes-Benz car she agrees to go with her.  They go to a private home where the woman introduces her to a young man who flatters hers and promises here some wonderful things.  to make a long story short; the young woman is groomed into the sex trade where she will be closely watched and told that if she does not do what she’s told bad things will happen to her and her family.  Click here for a story that recently appeared on CBS and KCAL TV Los Angeles.   Watch this CNN video documentary on how “the girl next door” is sold into sex slavery. This will change you.  Well worth the 42 minutes of the documentary.

Hard truth number three:  Once they have a young girl in their grip they force her to produce a certain amount, anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per night at $50-100 per trick.  If she fails to make these sums she will be severely beaten.  These young girls are so traumatized and intimidated with threats of physical harm to themselves or their families that they do what they’re told by these criminals.