Human Trafficking is a largely misunderstood problem in the United States, which is why there’s a fight to establish no-trafficking zones and finding/helping victims
Nationwide: We can all agree that human trafficking is a tragedy that does happen. But it is not a problem reserved for other countries- it’s happening every day, right here on American soil- often right under our noses.
Sometimes it is difficult to fully comprehend how much a problem is if you don’t see it or are affected by it directly.
So how bad is it really?
Here are some statistics that may surprise you, provided by NoTraffickingZone.org. If these statistics don’t shock you, nothing will.
And hopefully these alarming numbers will be enough for you to envision how serious the human trafficking problem and to take some action.
According to NoTraffickingZone.org (NTZ):
- In Texas, 300,000 individuals are trafficked each day and 80,000 are minors
- 1 in 3 child runaways is captured for prostitution within 48 hours
- Approximately 50% of child pornographic material floating around the internet originated in the United States
Human Trafficking Differences
Not all those victims who are trafficked end up in the illicit sex industry. There are multiple categories.
- Sex trafficking: Victims of sex trafficking are manipulated or forced to engage in sex acts for someone else’s commercial gain
- Forced Labor: Victims of forced labor are compelled to work for little or no pay, often manufacturing or harvesting the products we use and consume every day.
- Domestic Servitude: Victims of domestic servitude are forced to work in isolation and are hidden in plain sight as nannies, housekeepers, or other domestic help.
One of the most disturbing cases involved minors who are forced, and even coerced into the sex trade industry. And anyone under 18 engaging in commercial sex is considered a victim- no exceptions.
This devastating and tragic reality are why organizations like No Trafficking Zone exist. Their mission is to fight and combat human trafficking and to bring more mainstream awareness to just how bad the epidemic is.
And they do it in a unique way.
Many Americans believe trafficking is simply the transport of unwilling victims to another location to be forced into something, such as sex or labor.
But what is more surprising to many people is that victims don’t need to be relocated to fall under the trafficking definition.
It could happen as a slow process (often referred to as “grooming”) by other people with different motivations.
Let’s use a troubled teenage girl as an example, we’ll call her Stacy. Say Stacy’s parents divorce, and she struggles with the thought of her parents no longer being together. She carries a bit of resentment, anger, and even guilt because she believes she was the cause of the divorce.
She is clearly vulnerable.
To traffickers, Stacy is a prime target.
Traffickers are people who gain to benefit from exploiting girls, most often monetarily. From there, traffickers have recruiters who do the leg work to find and “recruit” girls like Stacy. It could be as simple as another student who goes to the same school as her.
A trafficker would pay this recruiter to become close with Stacy and, over time, coerce her to get involved in more deviant behavior, like attending parties where drugs and alcohol are involved. At some point, the recruiter would introduce Stacy to the trafficker.
Think Jeffrey Epstein
Epstein was accused of being involved in a similar network with Ghislaine Maxwell as a central part of his trafficking system. Maxwell allegedly sought out vulnerable victims who were initially attracted to the allure of a modeling opportunity. It then allegedly went from that- to massages- to providing sexual services to Epstein. After victimization, some of the girls then became part of the trafficking system by recruiting other girls to follow the same path. These new “recruiters” were then paid for their services- who were initially vulnerable victims themselves. And the pattern repeated itself.
According to Jacquelyn Aluotto, co-founder of No Trafficking Zone.org, she told LET:
“This is happening all over the United States, every day, to thousands of trafficking victims. Part of the problem is that a lot of these young victims don’t even know they are part of a trafficking system until it is too late.”
Traffickers come from a variety of places, industries, and capacities. They can be violent gang leaders looking to profit from victims to business executives trying to illegally satisfy sexual desires.
In Stacy’s case, she was brought in by a smooth-talking student.
“We call these types ‘Romeo Pimps.’ They find vulnerable girls like ‘Stacy’ and slowly mentally abduct them. They tell them sweet things, manipulate them and have them doing things they wouldn’t do under normal conditions.”
“And with current technology, it’s much easier to exploit and extort girls like Stacy. These Romeo Pimps may engage in ‘sexting’ or video tape a sexual act. From there they can threaten to release the footage to other people- like a parent or online and that’s part of the trafficking system.”
Another part of the trafficking system is the use of spotters. Spotters track potential victims to determine if they would make fitting victims like Stacy- which is very easy with social media.
Potential victims like Stacy could easily take to social media and post about the intimate details of their lives- sending out clear messages to spotters.
SB 1831 & HR 7566
There is currently legislation in Texas to fight back against trafficking. SB 1831 is a bill that will establish No Trafficking Zones in critical areas like schools. The goal is to severely punish individuals engaging in trafficking behavior in these sensitive areas, much like increasing penalties for selling drugs within a school zone.
HR 7566 is an extension of the SB 1831 but would apply nationwide and become a federal mandate. One would think that passing these bills would be a no-brainer and sweep through every level of passage – but that’s not the case.
Jacquelyn told LET:
“Unfortunately, these bills are taking much longer than it should. There are many people in positions of power who are involved in the trafficking industry- the Epstein’s of the world- who are also influential. It’s sad.”
The disappointing, and typical government speed will not deter Jacquelyn, her team, and the No Trafficking Zone organization. They are committed to fighting this epidemic and bringing more awareness to this serious problem.
No Trafficking Zone Support Request
Visit www.NoTraffickingZone.org and consider donating to the fight to protect our children. Your donations help the organization work directly with the at-risk youth in schools and while in detention if they committed a crime while working under the umbrella of a trafficker.
Donations also help arrange training with law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups, government organizations, and many more.
And when abuse of a victim occurs, they can serve as a crisis intervention resource.
The bottom line, donations go a long way.
“Donations help us help victims in a variety of ways. When appropriate, we can help relocate a victim or pay for counseling, anything that can help a victim.”
They will not stop because they know just how easy it is to become trafficked.
And that is a nightmare no parent wants.
You can watch the full PBS Frontline documentary on Sex Trafficking in America for free on YouTube or click below.
Have you read these other LET articles?
Ultra high speed patriotic veterans are poised to take the beer industry by storm and stand ready to support the LEO, 1st Responder and veteran community.
Remember Scott LoBaido, the Thin Blue Line artist who defied Mayor DeBlasio and fought the ‘defund the police’ nonsense. Well there’s a documentary coming out about him and the trailer is now available. A MUST SEE.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!