Human trafficking is closer to home than you may think

by Grace Brady, Contributor

There are more than 4 million human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations International Labour Organization, with 99% of these victims being women and girls. It is easy to become oblivious to this problem by thinking it isn’t close to home, but the reality of the situation is the United States is a front runner in the human trafficking industry. 

There is no certain estimate of the number of victims involved in human trafficking as many of the cases go unreported. However, in 2019 the U.S. Department of State found that the U.S., Mexico, and the Philippines are the top three nations where trafficking originates from. 

Human trafficking is very prevalent in the U.S., and San Diego is one of the hotspots. In January of this year, for National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, a photo exhibit called “Behold Her” was displayed on El Cajon Boulevard. The exhibit displayed photos of former victims of human trafficking while they shared their stories of survival. 

San Diego is on the FBI’s top 13 highest child sex-trafficking areas with human trafficking being the city’s second-largest underground economy under drug trafficking, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Children most often at risk are girls who live in low income and high crime areas as well as girls who have immigrant families or are immigrants themselves. 

Human trafficking occurs everywhere in the world making it an issue that affects every single one of us. If you feel like a helpless bystander, there is a lot you can do to spread awareness and put an end to this modern-day slavery. 

Donations are accepted at various organizations that offer support and services to survivors, as well as fight to find the traffickers responsible. 

Polaris – named in reference to the North Star that helped guide slaves to freedom in the U.S. – is an organization that works to educate and console survivors as well as work with the government to find long term solutions. 

Locally in San Diego, Generate Hope provides opportunities to volunteer and become mentors to survivors. 

Found on Generate Hope’s website is a quote by Nelson Mandela, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Don’t wait for you or a loved one to be affected by human trafficking to take action. Below is the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. There is no time like now to fight for human rights. 

1 (888) 373 7888

National Human Trafficking Hotline 

Grace Brady is a sophomore studying political science and film. 

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