TRAFFICKERS OF HUMANITY

[This is a second response paper written for my women's studies class dealing with human trafficking around the world. The essay is based on a presentation of a guest speaker named Kathleen Davis who came to inform the class on the crisis.]

Sometimes I wonder just in what direction this world is headed. It seems that every day more and more lunatics break forth from whatever rock theyíve been hiding under and seek to force the world into their perverse mold of delusional reality. Kathleen Davisís presentation taps into this remorseless undercurrent of potential tyrants and shines some light on a corner of their criminal activities.

Human trafficking is an issue thatís been around as long as civilization has existed. Itís not just a way of exerting power and control but of capitalizing on the psychologically weaker members of our species. Unwilling contributors to this horror are: those unaware of the depths of human depravity, children, and job seeking females. This crime permeates every facet of every country and yet goes unseen.

And donít for a second think America is immune to this disease either as human trafficking is a major occupation deep in the heartland of our free society. In fact, Toledo, Ohio seems to one of the larger hubs of the trafficking trade. One would think our justice system would be able to bring to justice the perpetrators of these crimes, but think again as our finest police forces will only arrest the victims for the offenses of prostituting, child prostitution, illegal immigration, and any number of other labels that donít ensure victims of this forced trade are removed from this environment and protected, not just deported so they can end up back in the criminal underworld, or sentenced to some period of time in jail which doesnít serve to end the crime.

Though Ms. Davis may not have been the strongest presenter she could have been, an illness wil do this to you, her message is just as potent. She begins by laying out just what human trafficking encompasses. Hereís a subject thatís just too complex to easily speak about. Of the most profitable business ventures in the world, human trafficking ranks second or third, depending on the investigative report you follow. This puts the crime up with illegal narcotics and arms trades.

Often the victims of these crimes are young children: who are kidnapped from homes, the streets, and anywhere else they may be found unattended. Many of these children come from impoverished nations with no real justice department. However, there are quite a few taken from the wealthier nations like Britain and the United States. And they donít necessarily have to be poor either. One report indicates that a government officialís daughter ended up in the slave ring after being abducted. In the United States, children can become victims when left unattended, or are runaways, or even by being sold by their guardians. Of course, this is common world wide as well and is only a small sampling of a variety of ways criminals get ahold of children. The victims of this crime can be sold into child prostitution, end up in child pornography rings, or become forced labor.

Another source of human trafficking victims come from women around the world. Often these women are poor and are sold into slavery by their families when young, or can find themselves being abducted off the streets or responding to false job offers. This can happen with college educated western women as well and isnít unheard of Just like children, women abducted can find themselves forced into prostitution or servitude of some other mode. Psychological control over many of these people is not to be discounted or ignored.

Ms. Davis continues her explanation of these crimes by detailing how ineffectual the law is against the perpetrators of human trafficking. Often, individuals gone after by law enforcement are those in the prostitution circuits. Victims forced into prostitution can be arrested and jailed for being in that line of work. This despite the fact they didnít chose to. However, many law enforcement officials will say that theyíre the ones committing the crime and will ignore the potential victim status warranted. An investigation will not be made, partly because of paperwork considerations-since no one really knows who the pimp is, but mostly because they donít acknowledge the extent of the trade. Though, to be fair, singling out who is a trafficking victim and who is a chosen career criminal is a daunting task and many who are victims are too afraid to say anything, making it even more difficult for law enforcement.

It actually sickens me, however, to think on the fact that there are people out there who a) commit this act and b) are in law enforcement and would rather blame the innocent. "Well, they have the choice. They broke the law. Theyíre the ones whoíll do the time and thatís that." Indeed. Like a little twelve year old girl made the choice to enter prostitution and/or serve as someoneís slave! Whereas it is true there are individuals who do do this out of some naive thought of a better life, the vast majority are forced from a young age and continually get coerced psychologically with threats such as bodily harm, death, or murder of their loved ones. At least it is fortunate that those law enforcement agents who would turn a blind eye are in the minority~ though there is still much work to be done.

I thought Kathleen Davisís presentation was okay. It was a bit long and covered similar territory quite often. However, the issue itself strikes a cord with me. There is much that needs to be done in regards to this crime. Legislation needs to be established to go after the perpetrators of this ghastly venue: the slave traffickers, the pimps who buy them (often young to raise in their little harems), and the financiers who may be tied to big business. Itís far past time for our government and law enforcement agencies to stop ignoring this issue and do something about it, to gain better tools to sort out the confusing mess of hapless victims and to not just take the easier way out and just brush the problem out of sight. Close down one sex shop and another one will open. Take out the financial backer of that shop and make sure those tenants donít return and itíll stay closed.

As well, itís time to stop blaming the victims. Itís not their fault no matter how much you try to rationalize it! Anyone who suggests they chose this life is: too self absorbed, in their own little world, clueless, uninformed, heartless, in on the action, arrogant, or just plain ignorant.

Email: kaipur@aol.com