By Pailey Gordon
All over the news, we hear about politics, war, celebrity drama, natural disasters, and sometimes we even receive a happy story about how a child overcame some sort of challenge he was facing. Rarely do we see news on a concerning pandemic that is developing more and more every day: human trafficking. Human trafficking is the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area, typically for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is also known as modern-day slavery.
An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children are trapped within this massive, horrifying business, within 71% of the victims are women and young girls, and 29% are men and young boys. This business has become so enormous that it is now an international problem; it is happening everywhere from big cities to small communities.
In 2017, there were 254 calls regarding human trafficking from either victims or community members, and 74 turned into court cases, just in Minnesota.
Most people only imagine that this would happen in big cities, not in small tight-knit towns like we have in our surrounding areas. It is just as possible to have human trafficking groups in our local area as it is in big cities such as Minneapolis or even places like New York City.
In order to bring down all these numbers, we all need to bring awareness to this pandemic. It will be extremely difficult to get an effective start on ending human trafficking, but human trafficking has been a taboo subject for way too long, so if we raise awareness to confront it, numbers will go down.
We can raise awareness by talking about it in schools, volunteering and supporting anti-trafficking efforts. We also need to be thoroughly informed on this topic. I highly encourage anyone and everyone to join and help fight this cause, even by doing something like writing a column in your local newspaper as I have done. Any sort of speaking out on this cause will help.
Being able to recognize the signs of human trafficking will also help bring this crime to an end. Some signs that are common for victims of this crime are avoiding eye contact, bruises or cuts, a malnourished appearance, and misses class or work frequently. You should also keep an eye out for high-security measures on houses like bars, wood boards, cameras, or other measures. Not all of these warning signs will be prominent with everyone, and every situation is different; but these warning signs have shown up repeatedly in many situations.
This article is not designed to frighten people or to limit you from living your day-to-day lives. The reason I wrote this article is to raise awareness on this silent pandemic. There is just not enough talk about how human trafficking is affecting not only our country but also so many other parts of our world. What I hope is to raise more awareness of the problem and to have more ordinary people be able to point out the warning signs from victims of this crime. We need to support the victims of these horrid acts, so I urge you to speak out and help put these acts to an end for good.
Pailey Gordon is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 20th year.