Dr. Shazia Ali
March 13, 2015
Roughly 27 million people in the world are affected by human trafficking. The majority of these people being trafficked are used as sex slaves. For people who don’t know what human trafficking is, it is the exploitation of men, women, and children for commercial gain. We all hear about sex trafficking in regions such as Africa and Central and South America, but sex trafficking is literally right on our door step.
Texas comes in second in the nation for the highest sex trafficking rate followed by Los Angeles and Atlanta. Being a Texas resident, I was quite surprised that my state was even on this chart. Since Texas is so conveniently located by major highways and the border of Mexico, Texas is the perfect breeding ground for human trafficking. For some people this is quite shocking but it is the brutal truth that the lone star state is also an international highway for illegally importing and exporting people.
The human trafficking business is so profitable that this industry makes thirty-two billion dollars per year. By now you’re probably wondering, “Well why don’t these people just leave this industry?” the answer is not as simple as just getting up and walking away. The majority of the victims are teenage runaways, illegal immigrants, or just simply too scared to come forward. Sadly this crime often goes without punishment due to the fear to come forward, leaving the police with no information and in the dark. Back to what I said earlier of how sex trafficking is on our door step. Since Texas is ranked second for human trafficking, there is a big chance that you have met someone that has been trafficked. According to a Wikipedia article, “There are over 200 active brothels in Houston with two new openings each month. Houston is home to more strip clubs and illicit spas than Las Vegas….” What I am saying is that there are so many women and children out there being trafficked but not enough being done about it. Is it because most assume that these people are illegal? Or that these victims choose that lifestyle? Or maybe because our society is not well informed about this booming issue.
The US Department of Justice says that “twenty percent of all human trafficking cases occur in Texas.” Also one in every five victims in the US travels through Texas along the I10 corridor one of the longest highways, just under 879 miles long. If that isn’t enough to convince you that Texans are in the dark about this industry how about 1 million children are exploited by sex trade industry every year? Out all of these numbers only 79 convictions for human trafficking have been made in Texas from 2007-2012. Out of those 79 conviction only 13 are currently serving time.
Now how is it that only 13 people are serving time for these crimes? Lack of information from victims is most likely the cause of so few people serving time... The basic information we have on human trafficking are from private organizations and hotlines that people can call for help. The victims fear that if they go to police and their pimps/captors find out there will be punishments awaiting as well as deportation back to a place where they have nothing.
What many people fail to realize about these people is that most cases are not caused by use of force but coercion, promises of money, love or a better life, all of which are lies. Once these captors have these victims they do not let got. These pimps see the victims as property and main source of income. Another thing to bring to light is that these victims are brain washed into this lifestyle. Many victims feel that their pimps are all they have. In our justice system we see prostitution as the lowest form of occupation. Leading to arrests of the victims, not the Johns (men who pay for sex) or pimps. As soon as these women make bail they are back on the streets.
Texas being so close to the border of Mexico offers so many benefits...
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