He made me his slave. He broke me down. He took my heart, mind, and soul. says Diana Bolivar who was held hostage in sex trafficking for two years in Colombia (Orlando Sentinel). Human trafficking is sexual slavery, and it is still a human rights issue that affects millions of lives every day. Traffickers know that abduction is easy, profitable, and extremely violent, but they could care less. Most people may assume that women are the only ones who are trafficked but honestly anyone can be trafficked, and it is quite easy. It can be someone walking to their car in a parking lot, a little girl or boy who gets tricked into getting in a stranger’s car, or a teenage girl at a party leaving drunk in her most vulnerable state. …men and boys are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in many countries around the world, and they even outnumber female victims within certain subcategories of trafficking (Human trafficking). Social media has such a big platform that now human trafficking can be done online as well. For example, flirting on an app then meeting up with the online person only to be abducted by the end of the night. Some people are tricked to believing that the trafficker will get them a well-paying job to only later finding out they are not giving the work they were told and are forced to work in conditions that they did not agree to such as prostitution, pornography, and sex shows. Traffickers take away identification of any sort so that the police won’t be able to find them. Sex and money are what traffickers love. Traffickers can expect to make a lot of money with minimal fear of punishment or legal consequence (How Trafficking Exists Today). Sexual desire is what creates sex establishments. The demand for sex slaves is relatively elastic, so the quantity demanded changes in response to changes in price (Roach). For example, increasing the price of sleeping with a sex slave can reduce the demand for it. Traffickers do not pay their slaves and that is what makes sex trafficking profitable because all of their revenue goes directly to profits. Prostitution in the US is a 14.5 billion dollars a year business (Prostitution in The United States). Based on 2007 data, the average annual profit per sex slave ranged from $11,349 in Africa up to $78,196 in Western Europe, with a worldwide weighted average of $29,210. (Roach). This data shows how remunerative sex trafficking is. It is illegal, but penalty is hardly ever enforced because of the lack of international coordination in prosecuting trafficking crimes. Some of these women may choose prostitution for financial reasons but many women are forced into prostitution against their will. Girls at a young age are taken away from their families and sold into prostitution. Violence is one of the major issues of prostitution. …threw me out of his car. My dress got caught in the door and he dragged me six blocks along the ground, tearing all the skin off my face and the side of my body (My 25 years as a prostitute). Brenda Myers-Power shared this experience with BBC News as she was a former prostitute. Figures vary, one report citing 60% of the abuse against street prostitutes perpetrated by clients, 20% by police and 20% in domestic relationships (Weizter). Some men pay for sex because they believe they are unattractive, and others simply just want no strings attached. But these men don’t think twice about what these women go through. They convince themselves that prostitution is a choice and that none of the women they see are exploited (Schwartz). It is wrong for men to make assumptions about any women who is visiting them, and it is unethical to even pay for these services. Karla Jacinto, a woman from Mexico estimated that 43,200 is the number of times she was raped after being taken by traffickers (Romo). Her story shows the horrible reality of human trafficking that has damaged many girls like Karla. When she was twelve-years-old she remembers waiting for her friends near a subway station and a boy came up to he and told her that someone sent her candy as a gift. As soon as that happens, a man tried to make a conversation and told her that he was abused when he was little, and Karla could relate because she came from a dysfunctional family as well. She said the man was super affectionate and came off as a gentleman. They each gave each other’s phone numbers, and he called her a week later and she was excited. He asked her to tag along with him on a trip and when she seen the car she said, I was impressed by such a big car. It was exciting for me. He asked me to get in the car to go places (Romo). She ended up leaving with him and lived with him for three months and was treated well she says. He spoiled her with materialistic things and attention. Karla’s special treatment didn’t last for long. Her trafficker confessed that he was a pimp and told Karla everything she had to do; the positions, charges, length of time, and how to treat and talk to men so that they would give her more money. I started at 10 a.m. and finished at midnight… Some men would laugh at me because I was crying. I had to close my eyes so that I wouldn’t see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn’t feel anything (Romo). Karla was forced to see at least 30 customers a day, seven days a week, and her trafficker began to abuse her (Romo). He started beating me with a chain in all of my body. He punched me with his fists, he kicked me, pulled my hair, spit at me in the face, and that day when he also burned me with the iron. I told him I wanted to leave and he was accusing me of falling in love with a customer. He told me I liked being a whore (Romo). No one deserves to be treated this way and be forced to live a horrific life like this. Karla was taken advantage of and awfully abused, but thankfully in 2008 she was rescued during an anti-trafficking operation in Mexico City (Romo). Human trafficking still is happening today, and the problem only continues to grow. Unfortunately, these women are very hard to find; they can be walking around in public and you would never know. There are ways to help fight human trafficking. You can report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (15 Ways). Proceeds from creating a fundraiser can donated to anti-trafficking organizations. You can write or meet your local, state, and federal government representatives (15 Ways). Conducting an awareness-raising event is a good way to share information about trafficking, and to discuss what it is and the importance to abolish it; you can do this at your church or at a school. Volunteering and supporting anti-trafficking events are also very helpful. It is important to be well informed because human trafficking is currently a human rights issue that people are battling. Human trafficking is immensely violent, and traffickers only care about the money and how easy it is. Humans are not for sale, and we must speak for those who are silenced.
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