January 11, 2020
Human Trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion industry worldwide. That number includes $99 billion estimated for commercial sexual exploitation. Human Trafficking is expanding in the U.S. because there is “demand to purchase sex” and traffickers can make a large profit from exploiting girls and women. It is estimated a trafficker can earn approximately $18,000 month from each victim. On a local level, Orange County, California is a hub for Human Trafficking nationwide. Demand for buying sex in Orange County is fueled by affluence and disposable income of local residents as well as a flourishing tourism industry. Approximately 50.16 million visitors came to Orange County in 2018.
Human Trafficking Awareness Month started in 2011 and has gained steady momentum through the advocacy work of nonprofits as well as work by government agencies. A pervasive myth about Human Trafficking is that persons are transported from across state or international borders. The reality is that Human Trafficking is occurring locally in our communities. In many cases, victims can still be living at home with their families and/or going to school. Not all Human Trafficking victims are being physically held by their traffickers. The victims of human trafficking are bound by threats, fraud, and coercion.
Under U.S. law, trafficking in persons is defined as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age;” or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."
Human Trafficking Awareness month brings the horrors of human trafficking into the public conversation. A focus on awareness is important as Human Trafficking Awareness in all areas of our society including schools and medical settings can allow educated citizens to recognize victims, report to authorities, and rescue victims.
Given the facts and factors that allow Human Trafficking to pervade in our society, Human Trafficking Awareness Month shines a spotlight on preventative measures and solutions. Although the crimes occur mostly behind closed doors, the signs can be detected by the general public. Sex trafficking occurs in hotels, motels, home brothels and “massage parlors.” It allows us to further the conversation into creating prevention measures and early detection of victims. Partnerships to end human trafficking in our society includes law enforcement, the judicial system, health care, and the education system.
There are two main elements. Firstly, as discussed above is recognizing the signs of girls and women that are victims of Human Trafficking. Secondly, from a public policy perspective, each state must adopt laws and policies in place that deter human traffickers and the buyers of sex.
Global Hope 365 advocates for Human Trafficking prevention. As a nonprofit, Global Hope 365 recognizes that identifying the signs of human trafficking contributes to our mission of raising awareness to save lives. Specifically, Global Hope 365 advocates for Human Trafficking Awareness Training in all public, charter, and private schools in Orange County and statewide in California. Global Hope 365 advocates for the pictures of buyers of sex with victims of human trafficking be added to a National Human Trafficking Offender Registry to deter buyers of sex and tougher criminal penalties to deter the buyers of sex and the traffickers. If you support our mission, please donate to Global Hope 365 to fund our advocacy work.