When you hear the phrase, “human trafficking,” what do you think of?
Are you like me who had a tainted view of this subject? I always pictured some far away country, dirty, smoky, drugs constantly being consumed and thousands of dollars being exchanged by dirty, evil men. While in the corner cowers a little child about to have her world ripped apart.
Unfortunately, this is at least partially true. But we don’t need to go to exotic countries to find such evil. For years now, I’ve been learning more and more about this sickness that affects millions of people throughout the world.
Our world has a multi-billion dollar sex industry.
Consider the movies we watch, the music we listen to and the clothes we wear. There is a huge demand for sex throughout popular culture. It’s a great market with tons of profit.
Isn’t that basic economics? Go where the demand is high and supply what is demanded? Be the savior and give to the “needy” while taking their money and making huge profits?
“The U.N. and other experts estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking at $32 billion—about $10 billion is derived from the initial “sale” of individuals, with the remainder representing the estimated profits from the activities or goods produced by the victims of this barbaric crime” (UNODC).
But at what cost? The cost of forcing young children into a hellish nightmare with no hope of escape. Ripping away their childhood and scarring them for the rest of their lives. The average age of entry for girls and boys ranges from 11-14.
This nightmare is not in some third world, poverty stricken country. This nightmare is here. The US State Department estimates that approximately 14,500 to 17,500 men, women and children are trafficked into the Unites States annually. *
“Trafficking occurs in major cities such as Dallas, Baltimore, Atlanta, El Paso, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. It also occurs in Minneapolis, Toledo, and Tampa to name a few.” **
Houston. Blessed to be in a state with thousands of miles of borders and a major highway system. Easy transport in and through.
Houston. Where the Super Bowl will be held this weekend. What better place to profit?
Thousands of new “clients” will be coming in. According to USAtoday.com, the Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” I can’t help but imagine that with all those football players, the coaches, the personnel, the sponsors, the fans, even our own AIA staff—how many thousands of young children are rolling into Houston against their will?
Human trafficking is a form of slavery. It’s about power. It’s about making someone feel they have no option but to do what you ask of them.
I received a book from my friend titled The Slave Across the Street: The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking by Theresa L. Flores. It is about an American teenager who, for two years, while she was living in her parent’s Detroit home, was forced into sexual slavery. How? Why? These were also questions that entered my head before I read.
But there was a part at the end of her book that helped to explain:
“Would anyone have believed me if I told my secret? Even now, the truth seems unbelievable for a girl in an upper class suburb in the United States. The important thing to know is that I felt I couldn’t tell anyone. I was terrified of the consequences. I believed I had no options. No choice. No Free will. That is why it is called slavery. I was brainwashed, confident that no one would believe my story if I told. Reduced to nothing inside, I was convinced that the welfare of my beloved family rested solely on my behavior. I was without hope, happiness or future. Left only with shame.” **
As the dust from the Super Bowl settles, as you pick up after the party, as you head back to work…pray.
Pray for the people in Houston partnering to raise awareness of this evil.
Pray for the “clients” that they see the evilness for what their actions truly are.
And pray for those who are subjected to slavery and endure a nightmare no one should ever have to live through.
*Taken from The Problem published by love146.org
*Taken from The Slave Across the Street: The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking* by Theresa L. Flores