I believe Human Trafficking is an area that should be of great concern globally and not just locally. It transcends all parties ages, genders and is at the core of human rights at the most basic levels.
Atrocities mostly unspeakable, are being committed in the illegal trafficking of innocent people which destroys countless families and lives every day. These illegal actions, often go unnoticed and affects literally every part of our country. I am committed to take aggressive actions to combat this inhuman treatment of our fellow man.
This despicable crime is a thriving international business in our increasingly interconnected global economy, generating some $9,000,000,000(USD) in profits every year. It’s rooted in one of the world’s oldest atrocities against man; the enslavement of other human beings. Just like slavery, human trafficking it involves buying, selling, and smuggling people—often women and children—and forcing them into what deplorable conditions and situations.
How big is the problem? Unfortunately very big and growing. According to the U.S. State Department, up to 2.4 million people are trafficked worldwide every year, with an estimated 27 million of people in modern-day slavery across the world, causing untold suffering and devastation.
Victims are lured away from family and friends by the promise of a better life, often in another country. For traffickers, there’s no shortage of victims—people eager for higher-paying jobs and other opportunities in distant cities and nations. Then they are forced to do both 'legal' and illegal activity. Everything from prostitution to exotic dancing…from street peddling to housekeeping…from child care to construction and landscaping. Some victims are forced to work in restaurants and factories and are drawn into servile marriages and various underground criminal activities.
Victims are controlled through many different ways: physically, through beatings, burnings, rapes, and starvation; emotionally, through isolation, psychological abuse, drug dependency, and threats against family members in home countries; and financially, through debt bondage and threat of deportation. This makes escape difficult because victims are often “invisible”—in the U.S., for example, victims typically don’t speak English; they’re afraid to approach authorities because they don’t want to be deported; and they have no idea where they are or how to get help.
So who is doing it in the U.S? Often members of the victim’s own ethnic or national community…are here legally and maintain close contact with their home country…may be fluent in English and a native language, and/or may have greater social or political status in their home country than their victims which is why getting other countries engaged is often problematic.
Human Trafficking Worldwide:
- 27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.(Source: Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves.)
- According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), estimates vary from 4 to 27 million.
- The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 2.4 million people were victims of human trafficking from 1995-2005. This estimate uses the UN Protocol definition of human trafficking, and includes both transnational and internal data.
- 800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.(Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007)
Note: The TIP Report in 2001 and 2002 estimated this figure at 700,000; The TIP Report of 2003 reported 800,000 to 900,000 victims; The TIP Reports of 2004 through 2006 reported 600,000 to 800,000 victims.
- 1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.(Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005)
- 50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.(Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003: 2004)
- 80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.(Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007)
- 70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.(Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004)
- 161 – Countries identified as affected by human trafficking: 127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries. Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive. (Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006)
- 32 billion – Total yearly profits generated by the human trafficking industry. $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries. $9.7 billion in Asia. $13,000 per year generated on average by each “forced laborer.” This number can be as high as $67,200 per victim per year. (Source: ILO, A global alliance against forced labor: 2005)
Human Trafficking of U.S. citizens within the U.S.:
- 244,000 – Number of American children and youth estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation, in 2000.(Source: Estes, Richard J. and Neil A. Weiner. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work: 2001. Study funded by the Department of Justice)
- 38,600 – Estimated number of an approximate 1.6 million runaway/thrown away youth at risk of sexual endangerment or exploitation in 1999. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Runaway/Thrown away Children: National Estimates and Characteristics. NISMART Series: 2002)
- 12-14 – Average age of entry into prostitution. (Source: Estes, Richard J. and Neil A. Weiner. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work: 2001)
Just like my proposal for National Security and Immigration the solution is work with citizens, local, state, and federal joint law enforcement task forces (there are up to 30 such task forces around the country right now) and national victim-based advocacy groups to combine resources and expertise on the issue.
Training and education is another important aspect of how we address the human trafficking problem. In many instances, local police officers are the first ones on the scene in a suspected case, and it's important that they know what to look for. Bureau agents who have worked a lot of these cases can offer their own expertise and experiences to state and local officers at regional training sessions. And as more states pass their own anti-trafficking legislation (27 so far), additional human trafficking cases will be prosecuted locally, so it's even more important that local police departments fully understand the crime so that tougher penalties can be issued on those who commit these crimes.
We also need to work to bring more awareness and education through victims specialists from the U.S. Attorney Offices and/or other non-government victim assistance service providers to assure that both victims and those who report this get the help they need to address their short-term and long-term needs—like legal and repatriation services, immigration relief, housing, employment, education, job training, and child care.
We need to integrate more closely relationships with citizens, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies with the FBI's Human Smuggling Trafficking Center (HSTC) created in July 2004 by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General. The HSTC serves as a fusion center for information on human smuggling and trafficking, bringing together analysts, officers, and investigators from such agencies as the CIA, the FBI, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.
As a senator I will make combating this practice paramount in not only my campaign but implementing solutions in my policies. Again, this is an issue that should bring together the brilliant minds of all parties and all affiliations as there is no justifiable reason to allow such activities in our civilized society. I believe that this problem is bigger than is being reported and threatens the fabric of our society.
To think that your child can be on some “freaks” shopping list and the barbaric network that allows the kidnapping or luring and the ultimate sale of our children and beautiful kids from all walks of life and from around the world, that this is tolerated or deemed “off the radar” is very scary.
We must infiltrate these organizations, thwart them at every level and educate ourselves and our children to avoid becoming victims. We must also aggressively go after those who are the “shoppers” and put our eyes on them through whatever means necessary including drones, satellite and human resources along with financial penalties.
Governments, businesses, NGOs and citizens everywhere have a fundamental responsibility to work together to address this modern-day slavery. As a senator I will also push measures to build up regional and civic interest networks involving community, and international organizations as well as the private sector to ensure that stricter enforcement of laws and punishment on this issue exist.
At the grass roots level where the problem is most acute, empowering non-governmental organizations, religious groups and other civil groups protect victims and raise awareness among vulnerable groups. These groups are the eyes and ears of the global community, the front line of the anti-trafficking movement. I hope you will stand with me and if you are still unsure of the impact of human trafficking, look in the eyes of your child and imagine they were abducted and forced into these horrific conditions... now do you get the picture?
I really want to hear your feedback on this issue. As an individual running as a Senator, my job would be to listen to you as your representative and then act accordingly upon the expressed will of you, the people. This is why at the end of every issue I have a comment feedback section, because without your direct involvement in this campaign, I would just be another politician promoting my agenda over that of those whom I work for and was elected to represent.