Just imagine, a young girl from Mexico being sold off by her mother of six to an older man in the United States, just so her mother can have some money to provide for the rest of her family. It is pretty vivid to say the rest that might happen to this girl, but once the man is done using the young girl for whatever reason, he sells her off to another man and the girl is forever lost into the human trafficking industry. Human trafficking is a problem facing poverty stricken people that needs to be eliminated by educating kids in Michigan. Human trafficking is a trade in humans for forced labor, sex, and removal of tissue and organs. Human trafficking happens all over the world and is most commonly looked at in foreign countries. People overlook what is happening with the human trafficking industry in the United States, better yet in the state of Michigan. The Polaris Project is non-profit organization that is combating modern day slavery. The Polaris Project for Michigan stated that 63 reports were made out prior to trafficking situations in January-June 2013 (1). Any type of human race or gender can be trafficked, but women and children are the prime, vulnerable victims. Through research, the two most common popular forms of trafficking in Michigan appeared to be sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The victims of sex trafficking are typically younger girls who fall into an older man’s trap of making false promises to young girls that are having a tough time in life. Trafficking men and women spot vulnerable victims usually online and through other connections of people involved in the industry. Detective Sgt. Edward Price with the Michigan State Police said, “We actually spend most of our time as a task force outside of the big cities and in the suburbs because that’s where they are getting their victims from (4).” And another common form of trafficking is labor trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines labor trafficking as: “The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery” (4). As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services restates, the three forms of trafficking labor are bonded labor, forced labor and child labor. While human trafficking occurs in poverty based countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Haiti, and Pakistan, although the United States is not a country in poverty they have areas in Michigan that are. Detroit, Michigan has the highest ranked calls reported for human trafficking in Michigan. The Polaris Project states that 61 calls were made in Detroit out of 303 in Michigan (1). Detroit being an urban city nationwide, gives people a greater knowledge that areas in poverty face more crime such as human trafficking. Schools, especially in urban areas, need to rely on bringing awareness to kids on human trafficking. Educating kids about human trafficking at a young age will prevent less human trafficking in the future. Schools in Michigan need to educate children on human trafficking, especially in poverty based areas where education should be most looked upon because it is free and valuable. Growing up, kids learn not to talk to strangers and how to stop-drop-and roll, but they never learn about human trafficking or even their human rights. Kids need to be taught early on about scenarios involving human trafficking, how to avoid traffickers, what to do in a situation, or even witnessing someone being trafficked because it can happen to anyone. Michiganders are oblivious to human trafficking, that is why educating and spreading the word about human trafficking will bring more power to strengthen the 13th amendment. Michigan.gov emphasizes, “The U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment guarantees that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist. Attorney General Schuette, as the top law enforcement officer in Michigan, remains dedicated to protecting our children and upholding our Constitution to guarantee fundamental freedom for all (1).” Educating people on human trafficking will decrease the trafficking in local communities of people that live in poverty based communities of Michigan. As attorney and author of “Cooley Host Human Trafficking Awareness Event,” Roberta M. Gubbins concludes that we need to “educate evaluate and engage” (12). This is a problem that has been pushed under the rug for years because people don’t know how to address it. Modern day slavery needs to be affiliated in Michigan's education system to start up a cycle of acknowledgment of human trafficking and bring peace and awareness to Michigan.
Falzone, Deanna. “Human Trafficking: A Reality In Michigan.” Fox17online. com. 10/16/2013 Web. 10/28/2013. Gubbins, Roberta. “Cooley Host Human Trafficking Awareness Event.” Legal News. Web. 11/11/2013.
“NHTRC CAll Statistics.” Polaris Project. Human Trafficking Resource Center, 06/30/2013. Web. 10/21/2013. “Human Trafficking.” Michigan.gov. Attorney General Bill Schuette. c2001-2013. Web. 10/16/2013. “Fact Sheet: Labor Trafficking.” Acf.hhs.gov. Office of Refugee Resettlement. 08/06/2012. Web. 10/16/2013.