Human Trafficking; The United States Public’s Opinion
Barbara J. Schneider, MSCJ
July 31, 2014
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is defined as “the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.” This includes, servitude, forced labor, sex, and forced organ donations. It is estimated that the disturbing activity brings in $32 Billion dollars a years. As of this writing it is not far behind drug trafficking as the largest criminal industry in the world. Each and every person on this planet should be concerned if not totally scared about this growing criminal activity, but for some reason, they are not (Archer, 2013). This essay examines the theories that are essential to answer the question “Why is there not more public attention to human trafficking in the United States?” Information has been gathered, explored and analyzed in order to better understand human trafficking through the eyes of the public. Recommendations based on research findings will be made in order to develop a plan to bring about public awareness and concern.
Background of the Problem
Human trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion, and resulting in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery; or commercial sex act, through the use of force, fraud or coercion; or if the person is under 18 years of age, any commercial sex act, whether or not force, fraud or coercion is involved” (Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000). It is one of the most relentless problems that the United States Department of Justice faces today. Other criminal activities such as money laundering, document fraud, prostitution and child abuse are fueled by trafficking. It is the third most profitable criminal activity right behind drug and arms trafficking (Simon, 2008). Trafficking of persons takes place on many different occasions and levels because victims are trying to escape poverty, social and/or political inequalities. Often times they believe that their traffickers will bestow a better life upon them, but instead are subjugated into a world of sexual exploitation and/or forced labor (Simon, 2008). What must come to the forefront is that not all cases of human trafficking and the vulnerable groups it affects are international. Persons or groups who are U.S. citizens are also targeted. For example it is a United States Department of Justice estimation that 200,000 American children are in danger to be trafficked in to the sex industry each year (Simon, 2008). In the United States most people view the issue of human trafficking as happening in other countries such as Russia, Asia, Singapore, China or Thailand not on American soil. In actuality it is not a third would only problem. It is taking place in the United States and it is the fastest growing illegal industry in the world. It affects everyone, not just “others” (Archer, 2013). Of the estimated 200,000 women forced into the U.S. sex trade annually, the majority are American, not women imported from other countries. The Super Bowl, which many believe to be “All American”, is the largest annual event for human trafficking in the United States. Most people think of tailgating and Super Bowl parties during this celebratory event not human trafficking. The huge party atmosphere of this event enables pimps and victims to hide in the shadows. During the 2012 Super Bowl, in New Orleans, with the help of Operation Innocence Lost, 80 individuals were arrested for prostitution and human trafficking by local, state and federal law enforcement....