Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wait, It Is a Crime to Sell Humans?

If a tree falls in the forest when no human is around, does it make a sound?

Of course the falling of a tree onto the ground makes a sound. Plus, for the tree, falling down is a life changing moment. There are numerous subsequent effects on the surrounding environment from the fallen tree.

There is a related question. If there is a noise yet no concerned human responds, does the situation matter?

Let me alternatively ask this question: If a person who has been humanly trafficked stands in front of you, will be able to tell that person has been sold in modern slavery?

The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg has received a grant to study human tracking. This is a great news. Opening awareness so we hear there is a problem is a key step forward. We are finally hearing the noises of fallen lives,

I am not an expert in human tracking. I have discussed the issues with some experts (cite: researchers at Drexel University at ). It is their belief that human tracking exists far more extensively than we care to admit. It is easier to cast our eyes away. The experts believe human trafficking victims are here, standing in front of us, right here in Harrisburg and across the world.

Police experts generally will state they lack the resources to do much about human trafficking. We place a low priority of this type of crime dispute these crimes’ viciousness. We can more about the crimes we see and report. It is far more difficult to investigate and report hidden crimes where few report them.

We often only learn about the crimes when something goes wrong, such as when a boat filled with people being brought into the nation illegally is seized or is found during an emergency rescue.

Few of those brought into this country report the crime. To some, they are escaping a worse life of greater poverty. Some have saved and paid someone to bring them to the United States. They then work in illegal industries, from factories with no windows for outsiders to see in to work in the sex industry. Some may hide in plain sight in various retail and agricultural positions as they are scurried about to avoid developing community attachments.

Great Britain and Ireland are taking initial measures (cite: ). What is being found is horrific. For those who abhor slavery, literal slave trade continues with bidders ranging from factory owners to massage parlor chains who bid on workers. Their passports are taken away and their lives illegally belong to those who purchase them. A British study notes their police are attempting to break through, discover, and stop human trackers. Some believe crack downs on human trafficking in other countries are driving more human tracking business to the United States.We are not as proactive in stopping this.

Many people trafficked into the United States are unaware they have rights. We need labor rights brochures (including how to safely report violations) to be written and posted around areas where we suspect there could be illegal employment. These brochures should be written in many languages, particularly those languages from which it is believed people are being trafficked. They should be posed (and reposted as they will be torn down) and distributed in areas where illegal operations may occur and where immigrant populations live,

Not all human trafficking is of foreigners. There are domestic victims, often people with limited work and housing options whose situation is exploited by illegal employers. Similarly, such people may find themselves in illegal industrial, agriculture, or sex work.

A major problem is we treat the victims as criminals. If their place of work is raided, the trafficked employees are arrested. They may be imprisoned or deported. Often the managers know how to escape. The investigations seldom reach up and arrest the traffickers.

The lucrative business of human trafficking continues because it is difficult to stop. We need to commit or shift more resources towards stopping it. We also need to start treating the victims as victims and assisting them, advising them of their rights, and helping them get out of illegal activities and learn how to enter legal employment.

We need to stop being blind to this. It is happening. It impacts many lives. The YWCA is taking needed steps. There are many victims out there, and we need to reach out and help them.


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