tonight’s trafficking thoughts

“More than anything, it’s up to us to do everything we can to protect our vulnerable citizens and continue this fight to make our communities and ultimately our world safer. It’s up to us to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Who is this human trafficking crusader? CNN.

I love CNN, I know news and politics are a constant war in the United States but I appreciate that at least their website tries to cover a large range of important topics.  More than anything it is up to us.  There is not a soul who could say it better CNN, the fight is up to us all.  One of the big trends in trafficking awareness I’ve been seeing in the last year is the struggle to get airports, ports, and train stations better suited to conquer the issue.  This has been coming in a variety of forms.  Let’s start with Time Magazines appeal to the public that uses these places.

“If for instance you are at a gate and there is an unaccompanied minor, do they know the name of the person they’re traveling with, or where they’re going?” she said. Crew members also watch for unusual activity on a plane, such as when kids don’t answer questions or avoid eye contact when addressed. Other telltale signs might be bruising or other wounds, or a ravenous appetite….The response that trafficking activists are hoping for is similar to the response for suspected acts of terror: “If you see something say something.” Vance is a bit more circumspect. “First people have to decide they care about it,” he said in an interview. “Unless you acknowledge that it happens and are prepared to talk about it it’s not going to change”

Times

“Let’s say I’m at the window of a transportation station. I would only have 60 seconds to four minutes to identify if this is potentially a case of human trafficking. You look at the demeanor of both people, look at their identification. Where they’re going and where they’re coming from.”

It’s Georgia

What they’re really saying is that although training the law enforcement in these avenues is of utmost importance it is still going to be necessary for everyday people busy with their travels. Frustrated with their delayed flights. Stuck on their layovers to stop and take notice of the world around them. “If you see something say something.”

I think a common question I’ve had when discussing trafficking is one that everyone who talks about trafficking gets and a question that everyone has when they first consider trafficking.  Why don’t they run away? Why don’t they say something to the countless officers they pass by entering our country?

The simple answer is fear.  The fear traffickers create is powerful.  There is physical abuse sure, they get beat.  But the real chains.. they exist outside of the physical world.  Mental abuse is strong.  They threaten victim families and make the victims feel worthless where they are too afraid and too ashamed to fight back.  Plus as several of the above articles notate, minors are not questioned in traveling in the US, the guardians hold the papers.  That is a huge way to control victims of trafficking.  By controlling the legal documents it makes it harder for the victims to escape and traffickers feed the idea that law enforcement in our country will arrest them for being here illegally and won’t believe or care that they are saying they are victims.  The victims trafficked into the US often don’t speak English and our culture is one they are not familiar with, a stranger in a foreign land, who can’t speak the language, who is being threatened and beaten.  Adding to this dilemma is that many of them have experience with corrupt law enforcement in their home countries or even in the United States.  Imagine being the victim and being forced to perform for a corrupt officer, would you ever and I mean ever..trust that uniform?  Especially when they bust into your building and arrest you for prostitution are you going to tell them about the trafficking ring or are you going to be quiet in case the cops on the trafficker’s pay roll are the ones talking to you.

If you see something. Say something.

1 (888) 373-7888

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Languages: English, Spanish and 198 more languages

I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

Dr. Seuss

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