Human trafficking is one of the ugliest and most preventable man-made disasters in our world today. Many of the cases worldwide involve the massive sexual brutalization upon millions of the most marginalized groups in society- children, woman, refugees, ethnic minorities, and the poor in the most horrific encounters imaginable. The appalling epidemic of human trafficking unfortunately only flourishes in areas that it is tolerated by the local law enforcement. The multi-billion dollar industry of forced abduction, rape, and false imprisonment can only thrive if the perpetrators hold out the victims of these crimes to the general public so that customers can locate the people and “services”. This is a simple historical marketing strategy: If the customers don’t know the service exists, sales will probably be limited or non-existent.
Brothel keepers and pimps cannot hide their victims and to make a great return on their investment, they must keep their service open to the public for continuous long periods of time. How do we keep a public open door policy on an illegal (almost world-wide) felony act? This is generally facilitated by bringing the government or local law enforcement into the business by sharing profits of the corrupt business for the exchange of protection against local governing laws. “Sex trafficking requires the commission of multiple felonies in a way that is held out openly to the public”(G.Haugen, 2003).
Understanding the process can aid in the prevention of the act: Sexual slavery can be shut down IF the political will and operational resources care to do so at any given time. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) was created to influence the political will of countries with severe trafficking problems to cease or undertake severe consequences from the United States as far as economic relationships, including the possibility of sanctions, if the country in question does not take significant efforts in thwarting the activity. Unfortunately the United States is trying to combat a hefty amount of commercial sex trade on their own so the Act could appear meaningless to other nations and government authorities: Can the policy have its intended effect when our own governments may be accountable for the misconduct themselves?
The U.S. government estimates that 50,000 women and children alone are trafficked each year into the United States from origins such as Latin America, the former Soviet Union, and Southeast Asia. In November of 1991, the Oceanside CA police shut down a prostitution ring, which catered to 300 migrant farm workers, many who were abducted and repeatedly raped. The women were trafficked from Mexico to the U.S. and were placed in makeshift shacks furnished only with one dirty mattress. Instead of making arrests, local officials demolished the shacks and cleaned up the heaps of condoms and beer cans.
A recent study found by a team of researchers supported by a grant through the National Institute of Justice, found that sixty-four percent of U.S. women who were held in isolation and under guard in brothels or compounds in sexual abduction scenarios were held against their free will; versus 35 percent internationally (Grant #98-WT-VX-0032). The TVPA Act of 2000 was written with great intentions for mankind at a worldwide level, but perhaps we should clean up our own back yard before implementing policy for others. How do we stop this predatory type of criminal behavior that is going on in front of our eyes? Should the U.S. take a more proactive role in fighting this activity, or should the rest of the world band together in the fight?