The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Despite this explicit prohibition, slavery still exists in the U.S. today. This is an issue of which more Americans need to be aware.
The modern day phrase for slavery is “human trafficking,” which is defined by Webster Dictionary as
“organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (as by being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor).”
In the instances of sex slavery, people who are called pimps force children and women into prostitution by telling them lies and through threats. Many of these young girls are found in foreign countries and are told if they come to the U.S. they will have a brand new life. But once they get here, they are told they owe the pimp a huge debt for being smuggled in. Some are threatened and told their families will be killed if they don’t comply.
This practice is so completely, utterly wrong, and yet the demand for prostitutes is on the rise.
Human trafficking, like every business, is based upon demand. If the demand for prostitutes is there, pimps will make sure there are enough to supply. However, many Americans, especially those who solicit the prostitutes, are unaware of these practices.
Being informed about the civil issues of prostitution is important. U.S. officials have prosecuted sex slaves for being involved in illegal activities, when the reality was they had no other choice but to obey the people exploiting them.
The human rights organization Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement estimated four million women and children worldwide are forced into prostitution every year, and that human trafficking brings in about $7 billion dollars annually worldwide.
Another issue with human trafficking is police are prosecuting victims. Of the four million people forced into prostitution yearly, 60,000 to 85,000 were arrested in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010.
We need to be more aware of human trafficking as a society, and we must do more for the victims of these horrible crimes. They are humans who have been sold for sex against their will. These are people with thoughts, opinions, creativity, intelligence and emotions, just like you. These women are someone’s child, sister, niece. Many of these victims are children, and more should be done to help them.
For more information on combatting human trafficking visit www.humantrafficking.org.
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