Putting a Price on Another Human Being
Every year about 1 million people become victims of human trafficking. Here in the US, the State Department has estimated that about 50,000, each year will become victims of human trafficking. And sadly Florida is one of the states with the highest numbers of victims. During last year’s Super Bowl both law enforcement and the community joined together to fight human trafficking. One of the things they did was train the hospitality industry to spot the signs for Human Trafficking. They are often the first line when it comes to discovering victims.
A large portion of these is women and children that will be forced into sexual slavery. It’s more likely for men that become victims to end up in the labor market. Due to human trafficking, more people are enslaved today than ever before. It’s a billion-dollar industry that puts millions into slavery.
They rob children of their childhood, destroy people’s lives, and dehumanize others for personal financial gain. It’s a cruel and ugly business that we must fight to put an end to.
We often think that this industry is kept hidden behind closed doors. But, in fact, it can be right under your nose. But to be able to see it, you have to know what to look for. Miami-Dade State Attorney has a list of signs that gives you an indication of what to look for. I strongly recommend you check it out. The more people are aware of this, the more victims we can save. They also have a hotline for victims to call: 305-FIX-STOP.
January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Every year on January the 11th, we mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. This is a day where we all can use what we have to help raise awareness of the fight to end human trafficking. A21 is one of the organizations that’s fighting this fight every day. They have local groups all over the world. And every year they arrange for a silent march called Walk for Freedom to make people aware of the millions of people who are victims of modern-day slavery.
It’s a day that we all can take the opportunity and shed some light on the millions of people who, year after year, have to live a life in slavery of others.
Here in Miami, we have several organizations working to help victims of human trafficking. And you can find a list of some of them on the Miami-Dade State Attorneys webpage.
My Meeting With a Young Girl
I remember the first time I worked on a case where we suspected that a girl was a victim of human trafficking. The police had picked her up when she was walking around begging people to give her food. She was only a minor, her parents were back in her home country, and a woman claimed that they had given her permission to take her in.
When my colleague and I met her, she was terrified. She had spent one night at a facility for teenagers. According to the people who had been with her, she’d neither eaten nor gotten any sleep. And then she had to meet in front of a judge to give a statement. When all this was over, we had to take her to a different part of the country where she didn’t know anyone, and she had no idea how long she had to stay. All this to keep her safe and make sure that she would not be another victim of human trafficking.
For the girl, all of this was a horrifying experience. She was all alone in an unknown country, with no idea when she would be able to see her parents again. For my colleague and myself, it was also a difficult case. We wanted to help her and keep her safe. But by doing so we also felt that, at the same time, we were causing more harm.
When we left her at the house she was going to spend the next few days in, I felt like crying. To see how scared she was, how she had no idea what was going on, and the consequences it could have on her life. It broke my heart. That night when I came home, I cried. I didn’t do that very often.
But there was something so terrible about the whole situation.
Until this day I still don’t know if the girl we met was in fact a victim of human trafficking or not. And from time to time I find myself thinking about this girl. What kind of life she is living today. There are so many lives out there ruined by this horrific industry. And my prayer is that one day we can put an end to this.