Can it Happen Here?

Human Trafficking Doesn’t Happen In Your Community Unless It Has At Least One of These …

A major interstate highway

A nearby shoreline or port

An international airport

Agriculture nearby

Unskilled laborers

Transient housing

Immigrants

Service industries, such as restaurants, hotels, spas, nail salons

Massage parlors, strip clubs, prostitution

A large spectrum of wealth and poverty

Economically vulnerable people

Women and children

Teenagers…

Trafficking victims are U.S. citizens, foreign visitors and workers, young people and adults, male and female. Your city, county, region or state has human trafficking victims in it, traveling through it, or coming from it. How can we say that? Because cases have been found in big cities and big states throughout the United States, but they have also been found in rural Kansas, Utah, Oregon, Vermont, Iowa and small cities in Ohio, Florida and Georgia, for example. Sometimes the victims are citizens of other countries and sometimes they are our own American children whom we have identified as runaway, missing or throwaway children or who may be your neighbors’ children who have been entrapped by traffickers. Some children are actually living at home, but have been lured into believing that they are in love with a man who controls their actions and who are having sex for money during times the child’s parents think she is at school or with friends. When we think of sex trafficking victims, we may think it only happens to girls, but recent research indicates that happens to many boys as well.

If you don’t believe this, go to www.google.com and put in a request for a Google Alert: Human Trafficking. Every day, you will receive an e-mail with multiple newspaper articles reporting on cases of human trafficking occurring now. Go to the internet and search for the keyword: human trafficking. You will be shocked at how many entries you see. Go to the booklist under the Read/Recommend/Act program and learn how trafficking is everywhere. People often ask how can this be the second largest international crime, yet they didn’t see it. Here is an explanation of that phenomenon.

It Can Happen Here

Let me explain how such a horrendous crime can be occurring in your neighborhood and you don’t know it. When I served as the mayor of my small island community, we wrote an ordinance specifying where cell phone towers could be located. Before that, I hadn’t noticed that there were any cell towers where I lived. Suddenly, I saw that there were five within five miles of my home and they were 150 feet tall with flashing red lights on top. If I didn’t see towers that high, how can anyone expect you to see a 12-year-old girl living next door who is never allowed outside, who works in the house, taking care of the other children and is used as a sex slave at night?

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This is what happened in Lee County, FL and only because a neighbor took action when that same girl came running to her house, pregnant, beaten and bleeding. The neighbor took her to the hospital where she delivered her baby. She had been beaten and was obviously very young, yet neither the police or child protective services took immediate action to care for her and she was later released to her captor’s home. After 3 weeks, child protective services put her in foster care – into a home across the street from her captors. She was moved around in the system with no special care for over 18 months. That is when the director of a group home for young foster girls with babies heard from the principal of school where her charges went that there was a young girl there who needed help. The director attended the first task force meeting and told authorities about the young girl’s situation. After a three week investigation, four traffickers were arrested and prosecuted. They are now all in federal prison.

The chief detective who worked on this case lived two miles away from the house where she had been held. He realized that if it can happen in a middle class neighborhood in Florida, it can happen to an innocent child anywhere. It has to be stopped.

If you know about slavery in your community, do you have any choice but to do something to eradicate it?

 

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