The Thirteenth Amendment promised freedom by abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude. Many today believe this to be true, however, slavery from the past has taken on new forms and meaning into the present. Freedom remains to be elusive to countless of people in two simple words: human trafficking. In today’s globalized society, the immoralities of human trafficking are entrenched in lives of people that most will not detect. Those who are victims to the transformed slavery market are mainly women and girls.
In light of recent events about “The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,” my interest to delve deeper into the issue turned into hours of reading personal stories to documentaries on the matter. The act that is in a controversial state, if approved, would provide services to victims of human trafficking by setting up a fund to cover the costs that would arise. Supplemented by federal reserves, the services would be paid for predominantly by a five thousand dollar fine for people convicted of being a sex offender, human smuggler, or human trafficker.
So, what is the problem about a bill that is cracking down on sex offenders and traffickers alike? It does not seem conducive to filibuster an act that is tremendously accepted among politicians of both parties. And yet, here it is in the headlines that Senate is acting against to help one of the biggest human rights causes of our time. The one hiccup that derailed the act to fruition is over one provision of the bill that would block federal funding for abortions. Democrats are calling the provision “offensive” and a “battle for our identity” (Werner). On the other side, Republicans are incensed that Democrats are serious about rebuffing a bill to “help victims of modern slavery, apparently because left-wing lobbyists told them to” (Werner). The acceptance over this bill was essentially debunked because it will not fund abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the mother and child.
The question that comes to mind is why can’t human trafficking victims be defined as rape victims? Is that not statistically represented amongst thousands of recounts told by women and girls? Senate does see the potential in manipulating the Hyde Amendment into defining traffic victims as rape victims, since abortions in cases of rape can be funded under the Hyde language. However, no such actions are being taken and a standoff over the provision has led to the bill being shelved.
This human rights travesty is a worldwide issue and it seems that many in the U.S have forgotten that the land of freedom is not immune to evils of human trafficking. According to the International Labor Organization data figures collected from 2002 to 2011, an estimated 20.9 million victims are forced into labor worldwide. Of those 20.9 million, 55 percent are women and girls ensnared by trafficking and forced into sexual exploitation (Goldberg). In the U.S alone, it is estimated that 100,000 children are forced into the sex trade each year, and the total number of victims nationally, when including adults, reaches double to triple the amount.
Society may not know it, but certain activities that occur in everyday life may be attributing to human trafficking. In the U.S, sex trafficking commonly occurs in online escort services, residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage businesses or spas, and in street prostitution. Labor trafficking has been found in domestic servitude situations, as well as sales crews, large farms, restaurants, carnivals and more. Sex trafficking is a more lucrative market than labor trafficking because of the high profit outcomes. To traffickers, having a woman or girl selling drugs or weaponries results in a one time payment and usage. Now having a woman or girl be used for her body can be retailed fifteen to twenty times a day.
Every year, traffickers are generating billions of dollars in profits by victimizing...
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