Human trafficking or “Modern Slavery” as many people call it, has been a problem our society has dealt for centuries. Human trafficking is not similar to the slavery of African people who were brought to America to be enslaved. This new type of slavery involves regular people who sometimes seem to have a normal life. A humanities counselor at Cypress College Daniel Pelletier stated, “It’s an evil thing that’s happening in our society.” Pelletier spoke to a group of college students who are in a journalism class. He spoke about human trafficking domestically, but focused primarily on sex trade.
The human trafficking industry is the second largest illegal activity in America. This lucrative business is worth $32 billion. In addition, women and children make up 80 percent of trafficking victims. There are 1 million children that get trafficked every year. These numbers are appalling and they continue to grow.
Trafficking humans has also been taken up by gangs, as it makes more profit than selling drugs. As Pelletier said, “ A gang member can sell a pack of weed once, but can resell a sex slave over and over.” Once the victims are lured in, whether by force or by charm, they are given drugs. Some victims are as young as 13 years old. To keep them from running away they are told their families will not want them anymore or that their families will be harmed if they try to leave. Not only are they beaten physically, but also psychologically.
There are many ways victims get recruited. Some get recruited at school, parties, online, or foster care. Victims are often lured into a lie or are promised into a job. Pelletier recalls a student he has in class this semester that went through a similar thing. This young lady was approached on campus by an unknown person and was told she could be a model. She resisted and told him she was not interested and the person left. Now, the question remains as to what would have happened to her if she got in the car with him? She probably would have become a human trafficking victim herself.
Pelletier also talked about how close the sex trade industry is to home. He said that Anaheim, CA which is just a couple miles from Cypress, was the second largest human trafficking city in the world. He also mentions what the students can do to prevent becoming a victim themselves. He recommends them to never go to parties alone, be wary of great job offers, and stay away from gangs.
Not only is this malicious industry so close to home, but it is also happening all over the world. France is a country that is currently fighting against human trafficking. France is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation. Many of these women and girls come from Western Europe, West Africa, and some Asian countries. They are forced to work as sex slaves and are threatened if they do not comply, similar to what they do in America. Sex trafficking networks controlled by Bulgarians, Nigerians, Romanians, and French citizens force women into prostitution through debt bondage, physical force, and psychological coercion, including the invocation of voodoo. In addition women and children, mainly from Africa are forced to work as domestic service. The French government estimates between eighteen to twenty thousand people that are in France’s sex trade industry come from trafficking.
According to the U.S Department of State, France only complies with the minimal standards for eliminating human trafficking. French authorities focused mainly on sex trafficking, therefore limiting their attention for other areas such as forced labor. In order for French authorities to fight off trafficking they need to step up their game. They need to increase investigations, prosecutions and convictions when it comes to trafficking. Furthermore, they need to be sure convicted offenders get jail sentences and that they actually do the time. Other things France can do is train authorities better and have more enforcement for labor trafficking. Doing these things can help France in its fight against trafficking.
Not only is the exploitation for sex, but also for other crimes. Child exploitation is increasing in France and these children are forced into a life of crime. Young children are obligated to beg for money, rob people at ATM machines and pickpocket. They are controlled by mafia organizations, but are influenced by their families. This is shocking because children are being exposed to these types of things in such a horrendous way and at such a young age.