How the U.S. Is Battling Human Trafficking

Children, Crime, Freedom, Immigration, News

Human trafficking is generally defined as the recruitment, transport, or harboring of people by means of What is human trafficking?force, coercion, or pay, for the purpose of exploitation such as prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, or even removal of organs. An estimated 12.3 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking.


Pennsylvania has become a huge transport hub for human trafficking, and is just beginning to combat the crime at the state level. A study by the Joint State Government Commission revealed that trafficking as a crime is not widely understood in the state, and victims can be treated as criminals; victims of sex abuse can be incarcerated as prostitutes and forced laborers as illegals.  The study calls for a national hotline to help victims. Signs advertising the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline could be required at salons, truck stops, airports, and bus stations—if a bill moving through the Senate passes.


Village Voice Media is taking a lot of heat for its abuse of free speech and free internet principles on its site, where children and teens have been pimped out for sex. A federal court is reviewing a Washington state law targeting that requires classified ads to check the age of people listed in ads for sexual services. Public officials are putting pressure on Village Voice Media to close the adult section of altogether. The company is fighting back, arguing that while exploitation of minors is abhorrent,  the legal requirement to verify the ages of people in sex-related advertisements is not “consistent with free-speech principles.”


In the U.S. government’s largest-ever human trafficking case, a federal judge recently dismissed human trafficking charges Friday against executive and business associates of an L.A.-based labor recruiting company accused of manipulating 600 Thai workers and placing them as workers in farms across the U.S. The trial had been set to take place in Honolulu next month. While the case was dropped due to some inaccurate statements by prosecutors, many workers have applied for trafficking victim immigration status.


Around 25 percent of the estimated 300,000 American children lured into sex trafficking each year live in Texas. Paola Garcia, president of Faces of Child Abuse, a San Antonio child abuse prevention organization, said Faces recently partnered with a task force to develop a curriculum for public schools to teach children about the dangers of sex trafficking. “We can pass laws, we can rescue (victims) all day long,” says Yvonne Williams, executive director of Trafficking in America Task Force, “but until we change the culture, until we address the issue of demand, nothing will change.”