Human Trafficking in America
Human Trafficking in America
According to the report submitted to the U. S. Department of State in 2004, every year there is an estimated account of 600,000 to 800,000 people being trafficked for force labor and sex worldwide. In the United States alone, there are around 14, 000 to 17,000 men, women and children of different nationalities being trafficked each year passing discreetly international borders just to come inside the territories of the United States. Of these numbers, 70 percent are female while 50 percent are children or minors and most of them end up working forcibly in the illegal sex industry.
The report also said that most of these trafficked foreign nationals mostly come from Asia. In America, however, an estimated 200,000 missing American children (minors usually women) from the past years are also getting the risk of having trafficked also in the sex industry (Shurter). While the United States has an open policy in accepting foreign nationals to its territories, the succeeding events of terrorism in the American soil during the past years has reorganized its system of policies and became more aware in allowing foreign nationals to stay in America.
But then America remained to be the main transit and destination country for trafficking people if compared to other countries in the world. To adhere to the strong commitment of fighting human trafficking in the US and other countries, the US government has enacted The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 or the TVPA to redefine pre-existing criminal penalties and provide better protection for the victims of human trafficking.
This act establishes Cabinet-level federal interagency task force to use their federal program in providing services to the trafficked victims. Initially the monitoring program done by the US in the early 1990s was primarily focused on trafficking women for the sex industry. But ever since the U. S. Department of State has included in their report in 1994 that not only women are being trafficked, the department began monitoring all persons with questionable citizenship status in the US beginning in that same year.
To greatly reduce human trafficking, the U. S. has begun initiating anti-trafficking programs to aid countries fight this illegal trade. The office of the TVPA was assigned to monitor and allowed by the US State Department to combat human trafficking in the international level while millions of dollars were poured out as grants to organizations around the world to implement programs combating human trafficking. The U. S.
has also helped these countries in enacting their laws for anti-trafficking legislation and provided training to law enforcers, prosecutors, border guards and judicial officers in determining, investigating and prosecution of traffickers and providing protection for the victims. Two years after the resolution of TVPA, The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2000 was reformulated to 2003 to provide resources and initiatives in helping the 18,000 to 20,000 victims of human trafficking saved in the US.
Then in 2006, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 was signed into a stronger law (Justice). To show that there is clearly the cause for alarm with human trafficking which brought about white slavery in the United States, CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith explores and exposes the world of human trafficking in America by making her own series of research in America’s suburbs and reported her findings for The Early Show in series. Tracy interviewed a number of people who were victims of illegal sex trade and one of these is Shauna.
Shauna is a 17 year old girl from Florida who was looking for friends in school because she was the new girl in the campus. Finally she was befriended by another student and invited her for a sleepover in her house. But a man who posed as the friend’s father drugged her drink and woke up to a nightmare. She found herself tied still dizzy with the drug. Not long after, she was brought to a place where she was sold. She was raped and beaten if she refused to have sex. Her parents searched for her and finally she was found by investigator Brad Dennis in a club.
According to Dennis, Shauna was a victim of human trafficking which becomes the growing problem in the suburbs of Florida. Tracy Smith has discovered that the syndicates who are behind the kidnapping and human trafficking know the profile of the most potential targets that can be used for their sex trade. In this manner they connive with other people to do their deeds. Dennis said usually girls who are victims of human trafficking are moved around a circuit by their captors hitting major hotels and convention centers looking for potential and moneyed clients. Wan Kim of the U. S.
Justice Department said that this kind of business has now developed into a very prolific business and usually undetected. The problem for the authorities is that the people behind this crime have wide connections and they have become even wiser with the trade. They can keep women for years without people knowing they live there as sex slaves. In the case of Shauna, her case has never been pursued because until today her captors remained at large (Smith). Human trafficking has developed into a lucrative business formed by different individuals grouped together to run a ring of syndicate.
However, this is not always the case. In 2008, Maribel Rodriguez Vasquez, a 28-year old Guatemalan woman was arrested in Los Angeles for her involvement in her family’s human trafficking business. She was the sixth member of her family who was nabbed by immigration authorities as she was charged with 50 counts of human trafficking cases specifically luring Guatemalan minors to the United States with a promise of well-paid jobs but all ends up being prostitutes. Vasquez who was known as the “L. A. Madam” by her clients was posted on television as one of “America’s Most Wanted”.
But Vasquez’ case was only one of the few cases of human trafficking that was highlighted by the media which makes people believe cases of immigrant sex trafficking are not literally important to be known by the masses. Lisette Arsuaga, director of Development for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles said we have a clear reality that human trafficking operates in every American city and even to towns but it is craftily hidden it is hard to uncover (Johnson and Rodriguez). The state of San Francisco is known for its liberalism toward sex and it has continuing history of arresting prostitutes around the city.
Unfortunately it has also become one of the top American cities to be the favorite sanctuary of international sex traffickers and so large numbers of illegal immigrants pour out to the city each year. This is because sex trafficking is now an $8 billion international business and sadly traffickers consider San Francisco to be the best place to operate their largest commercial trades. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who is not ignorant about this trade said although the city despised such reputation, being underground with unending source of clients makes the state helpless.
Mayor Newsom said girls are forced to come to America because their families are being threatened and so the cases of human trafficking seem to be endless. While the U. S. Department of Justice states that thousands of illegal immigrants are being brought to the United States each year, there are still no quantifying data which assure that many of them fall as sex or force labor victims. The CIA is now involved to stop this trade and it has used its significant methods to come up with reliable sources of illegal immigrants.
They now rely on law enforcement data, government data, international reports and academic research just to come up with backed-up information and track the sources of this trade. The CIA also confirmed that trafficked women for the sex industry generally come from Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union and also South America. As usual, they are lured to work in the United States for more meaningful opportunities but once they are in, they are held captives and sold to brothels, strip clubs and outcall services.
Even high-society call girls who come to the United States admit to the Federal investigators that being in captivity and held as sex slaves can be the most degrading and unimaginably unacceptable. In other parts of the world, human trafficking has also become an insatiable growing business which has overtaken drugs and arms trafficking. According to Barry Tang who is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement attache with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security in Korea, human traffickers in Korea are now highly organized with full logistical network between Korea and the United States.
They have recruiters, intermediaries, brokers and even designated taxi drivers and influential pimps. On other countries, women are the usual traffickers and they acquire women from clubs, bars, colleges, restaurants and even pool halls. Their international contacts target mostly developed countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia because this is where the money is. When everything is settled in these countries, they even set up their own shops in the main cities particularly in California, New York, Las Vegas and Texas (May).
As a conclusion, we may never stop human trafficking for the moment because it has already rooted itself in our societies. Not even America who advocates for human rights and preservation of human dignity find it hard to control such a phenomenal dilemma. But though this has become an uncontrollable ailment because it made its evil influence to the different form of culture and societies, we might still reduce its havoc in degrading human dignity by involving ourselves and be guardians for the sake of our children and our society.
The governments are trying hard to pursue what is necessary but they cannot do it alone. We might not be the victims here but our children maybe their next target. Works Cited: Johnson, Alex, and Cesar Rodriguez. “Human Trafficking in America. ” The World Race (2008). April 14, 2009 <http://matthewsnyder. theworldrace. org/? filename=human-trafficking-in-america>. Justice, U. S. Department of. “Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking: Fiscal Years 2001 – 2005. ” (2006). April 15, 2009 <http://www. humantrafficking. org/countries/united_states_of_america>.
May, Meredith. “Sex Trafficking: San Francisco Is a Major Center for International Crime Networks That Smuggle and Enslave. ” San Francisco Chronicle2006. Shurter, David. “The Problem with Human Trafficking in America. ” Now Public: Crowd Powered Media (2009). April 15, 2009 <http://www. nowpublic. com/world/problem-human-trafficking-america>. Smith, Tracy. “Slavery in the Suburbs”. United States, 2007. CBS Evening News. (September 12, 2007): CBS Interactive, Inc. <http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2007/09/12/eveningnews/main3254966. shtml>