July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking. Human Trafficking is a difficult subject that has recently garnered increased attention, thanks to Pizzagate. The arrest and suspicious death of Jeffrey Epstein, and now a Wayfair trafficking theory also added intrigue. Much of the media “debunk” these conspiracy theories. However, it is no secret that human trafficking and modern-day slavery are alive and well. This rings true, even in the United States. An estimated 40 million people are currently victims of trafficking.
The COVID-19 virus gained pandemic status in early March. When this happened, expert groups and the U.S. government issued warnings that trafficking and related cases have started rising. According to Polaris Director of Strategic Initiatives Robert Beiser, trafficking cases increased by 40% in April, compared to April 2019.
COVID-19 and Human Trafficking
With many people sheltered in place and others unable to work, both the demand and supply for trafficking has increased.
“What we’re seeing online, where sex trafficking is made very easy, is that men keep writing that they’re going out and buying sex,” Beiser said.
Some families seeking money will exploit their own children, selling both their bodies and videos of the encounters. OurRescue.org details some of the circumstances of child sex trafficking occurring in the United States. To date, the organization has rescued 4,000 children.
Philip Langford, president of the International Justice Mission in the United States, told The Daily Signal that the online sexual exploitation of children serves as one of the sinister ways in which cyber sex-trafficking has spread “like wildfire in a forest field.”
“We are seeing, country by country, where we are working to protect women and children from violence, massive spikes in sexual assault [and] partner violence as they are locked up in homes and neighborhoods with predators and abusers,” Langford added.
In June, the United States added four countries to its blacklist on human trafficking: Afghanistan, Algeria, Lesotho and Nicaragua. These countries join 15 others do not seem to do enough in fight trafficking. The United States can choose to limit aid or withdraw support for these countries. These include China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.
It remains difficult to research and measure. However, an estimated 15,000 to 50,000 women and children fall victim to trafficking in the United States each year. One study from the Department of Health and Human Services estimated the number to be as high as 240,000 to 325,000.
The Gravity of the Situation
Deliverfund.org writes, “Sex trafficking has grown exponentially since the dominance of the internet and the online porn industry. Victims are either used for pornographic pictures or videos, or they are prostituted out through online platforms such as Craigslist, Facebook, and MocoSpace. Some dedicated websites are created through subscription services, such as the San Diego Adult Service Provider, which charged members $100 per month to browse its online catalog and purchase sex.” The organization also posits that the police took down the website in 2016.”
More paid attention to the ongoing problem thanks, in part, to leaked emails and accusations of high-profile and elite members of society involved with trafficking rings. There are multiple private enterprises as well as FBI and police forces working on sting operations throughout the U.S. and nations around the world.
Despite increased funding and interest in ending trafficking, the mainstream media at large avoids the topic. Also, disappointingly, authorities only made 2,197 arrests for human trafficking in the United States in 2019. This showed a 38% increase from the prior year. These arrests resulted in 1,113 indictments and 691 convictions.
The magnitude of human trafficking and the involvement of high-ranking officials have been continuously suppressed. This makes trafficking one of the biggest coverups in history.
To reach the National Human Trafficking hotline 24 hours a day toll-free, call 888-373-7888 or send a text message to 233733. People can reach the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 24 hours a day at 800-843-5678.