If you’re not sure what human trafficking is, here’s a definition:
Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receiving of a human being through force, fraud, or coercion, for the purposes of commercial sex, pornography, labor, involuntary servitude, or debt bondage. (U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2008)
Essentially, human trafficking is slavery.
Human trafficking doesn’t necessarily involve smuggling (like drug and weapons trafficking do), nor is it necessarily about “illegal immigrants” who are brought to this country without the proper paperwork. Human trafficking can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone–especially to those who are vulnerable–children, runaways, drug addicts, people without a safety net. Force, fraud, or coercion–those are the keys.
Why are people trafficked?
–Cheap or Free Labor
–Pornography (especially child pornography)
Human trafficking is becoming more popular than drugs, money laundering, and guns for organized crime. This is primarily because guns and drugs are disposable resources, while humans represent a resource that can be continually exploited and re-sold.
What can we do about it? Well, we can begin by learning as much as we can about human trafficking. Then, we can begin efforts to find out, prevent, and stop human trafficking wherever we may be.
To that end, I will be moderating a panel discussion on January 29th at 11 a.m. in the Dicke Forum here on the campus of ONU. The event is free and open to the public, and will include experts from our own Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice Department, and the Northwest Ohio Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition. If you’re in the area, join us for this time of discussion about this important issue.