Friday, February 21, 2014

Combating Human Trafficking

There was quite a bit of coverage prior to the Super Bowl about the Super Bowl being the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States. While there is very little evidence to support this claim, media outlets reported that between 13 and 17 human trafficking victims were rescued prior to and during the Super Bowl this year. 

According to USA Today, “authorities arrested more than 45 pimps and their helpers, some of whom said they traveled to the New York region to traffic the women and juveniles at the NFL championship at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The teens, ages 13 to 17, were found in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. More than 50 women coerced into sex for money were also saved, the agency said. Some of the victims had been involved in international sex trafficking. Six children were rescued in both New Jersey and New York, and four others in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, the FBI said.”

I was pleased to read that part of the plan to stop human trafficking included training and educating hospitality works, airport security employees and other groups that come into contact with children and groups of individuals who are traveling and moving about the country. 

I do believe that widespread training of individuals that come into contact with children and adults as they travel will bring positive results in identifying potential human trafficking victims, as well as victims of other crimes such as kidnapping and abuse.

My daughter and I flew to Chicago recently and, for the first time; she was directly asked questions regarding her name, where she was going and her relationship to me. I was very happy they were asking her these questions as I understood it was a way to see red flags, was she going against her will, did she really know where she was going and did she really know me and trust me. My daughter was very confused and somewhat taken aback by the questions until I explained to her why they were asking and then she was comfortable with the “intrusive questioning”.

Abuse of women and children is an atrocious crime and one I work every day to help bring an end to. I am encouraged by the progress I am seeing in the changes in how we are conducting everyday business and bringing awareness to the general public that they too can be a part of the solution and make a difference.

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