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What is Human Trafficking?

For almost as long as I have understood what a prostitute is I have realized that our societal views on the subject are pretty divided. One school of thought is extremely judgemental and condemns prostitutes for making the choice to perform sexual acts for money. The other school of though the one I belong to agrees that "choice" is rarely a part of the equation.

This is where Human Trafficking comes in. So firstly lets define Human Trafficking, according to the definition by Homeland Security "Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings"

In the US the average age of entry for a sex trafficked victim (or prostitute) is 11 for boys and 12 for girls, it is estimated that 63% of sex trafficking victims are first trafficked ie used as a prostitute before the age of 18. So if the average age of entry is so young why are we so willing to judge them when we see them on the streets years later still stuck in a life as a sex slave. After all the mental coercion only increases with time and the lack of self esteem that comes from being a sex slave increases the validity of the mental coercion.

I encourage all of you the next time you walk into a strip club (well ideally drive by it and don't be a patron) or look up the nearest brothels to you on, or see a street walker please consider what event happened in the lives of these victims to keep them in this bondage and realize that if 63% started before the age of 18 it was never really a choice!

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