WRITTEN BY: AUBREY WALDRON
COVER PHOTO COURTESY: WIX
Prostitution, domestic servitude, slavery, and even forced organ donation have become a number of U.S. citizens reality. Men, women, and children are increasingly being forced into these horrific situations each year. The United States has had a growing human trafficking problem since 2002, which also marked the start of the Polaris project. The Polaris Project is a nonprofit and nongovernmental foundation devoted to solving cases and aiding the victims of human trafficking. Based on reports and tips made to the National Hotline, Polaris was able to identify 4,863 suspected traffickers. An analysis also found 1,698 suspicious businesses that were involved in potential human trafficking. From 2008-2010 there were 2,515 suspected trafficking cases but since then there has been an 842 percent increase with a total of 8,759 cases reported in 2017 alone. These cases are composed of different types of labor and different types of people.
Many students don’t realize the growing human trafficking problem.
“I think there are maybe 3,000 people in the United States that are affected by human trafficking each year,” sophomore Kaelin Schiffer said.
83 percent of victims in confirmed sex-trafficking were identified as U.S citizens, while most labor-trafficking victims were identified as undocumented immigrants or legal immigrants. There are hundreds of thousands of girls being sold into the underground world of sex trafficking. Girls that were conceived for the sole purpose of being sold, girls that were first affected by this before they could even talk, and girls that are merely tricked into meeting someone with the intention of living out a dream but instead forced into the world of trafficking. These young girls go into this innocent and naive and leave traumatized and heartbroken. Along with the increase in trafficking, traffickers are getting much more creative in ways to abduct victims. Kara Nichols, Kayla Croft-Payne, and Raven Cassidy-Furlong are three girls that share similar stories: They were young, pretty, in contact with men online and were tempted with modeling work. This is a classic case here in the U.S. Young women are offered with jobs like modeling, dancing, or being a nanny for a wealthy family but instead are being forced into prostitution.
“When I think about human trafficking I think of countries like Africa and India but usually not the United States,” junior Michaela McIntyre said.
The truth is that it is everyone’s problem.
“It’s the fastest growing illegal industry in the world,” Psychology Today says.
Human trafficking generates $150.2 billion in illegal profits each year. More than one-third of these profits are from forced labor exploitation and the remaining two-thirds from sexual exploitation. The sad truth in the United States is that human trafficking is continuing to grow and grow each year and will continue to grow until we as a country put a stop to it.