Saturday, August 14, 2010

Human Trafficking is Everywhere...Not Just for Sex

The other week, I beceome alerted to the fact that people are being sold and trafficked right near me, and not just for sex/prostitution.

Who knew that such horror could be so close? Not me; I was entirely out of it.

Sr. A.M.  told me that she recently attended a conference about human trafficking, and that this problem is something she and her fellow nuns are working to understand, and they are also determined to try to educate people about this issue.

Good for them; I said I would try to help.

It is only through education, after all, that we can make things better.

So, to that end, my fifth grader just showed me how to do this!

I had no idea that women were being trafficked in America, let alone Philadelphia.

Sure, we've seen stories of women from, say, Mexico, being shuttled into the U.S. and used for the sex trade. 

There was also the film, "Taken," but that was just an action film. It couldn't be real...could it?

Yes, it could.

It's not just about the sex trade, though. Trafficking can mean just moving people for other nefarious purposes. 

Even teachers are trafficked (case in point: recent news stories about young Asian women being sent to the American South to work as teachers, but being forced to pay such a large part of their small salaries for the privilege of being sent to work that they can't ever get away, can't ever seem to get back home). 

That's called indentured servitude.

It happens more than we think.

Every immigrant desperate to get to the U.S. who pays money for help in getting here is often tied up the same way, paying money for years for the (often unsafe) passage to the states.

How many housekeepers and nannies are actually really--honestly--slaves? It's shocking to think about.

But we need to start thinking.

I just watched a show this morning about how "Craigslist" (that list creeps me out; I've heard too many bad things) is a place where not only sex is advertised and sold, but also child prostitutes--sex slaves--are being hawked for purposes of rape, and, of course, moneymaking. 

These young sex slaves can earn their pimps $1500 a night.

The sex slave herself gets raped ten times a day and doesn't see any money (not that getting paid would make anything here right).

I applaud ABC news and other journalists who exposed this story and put "Craig" on the spot about what is actually happening. I also think that society owes its gratitude to the women who dared to write to "Craig," telling their horrific stories about how the list made it possible for them to be advertised and sold.

"Craigslist" put out a statement that they are "screening" to make sure sex isn't being sold, but how can that be true? 

It's still being sold if that's what you want to buy, and because it makes millions of dollars a year in advertising revenue.

I am so sick of how every bad thing we deal with is tied up with money. 

As humans, why are we willing to put up with certain people getting rich by destroying and using others?

Human trafficking is, perhaps, the worst example, but there are also war profiteers; there are blood diamonds; there are even health insurance companies raking in record profits while raising their premiums 20% every year.

It's all bad. And immoral.

When will it stop? When we look around, realize what's happening and demand change.


  1. Thanks so much for this post, Elizabeth! Getting the word out there that this is for real and this is right here is extremely important!

  2. You're welcome. I will try to do more.



  3. See the YouTube searchstory link in my post (I just added it).