Recently there was a bust in Georgia of an “alleged” sex slavery ring. I read the article (http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/19/inside-look-how-an-alleged-sex-slavery-ring-is-dismantled/) and I was left with so many questions. First of all, what part of this is “alleged”? “An agent presses against a light blue wall and it gives way. Behind it is a makeshift room made of foam insulation and a cheap plywood frame. The woman inside is believed to a victim of a human trafficking ring that law enforcement agents busted during a four-state coordinated raid Wednesday. She is on a small bed with a thin mattress on springs. A large free-standing mirror sits to the side, and clothes are strewn across the floor.” I myself have never seen a sex trafficking ring operation, but anytime there are people living in secret rooms behind walls made of plywood, I have more than just suspicions that they probably aren’t there by choice. I read on through the article, noting that there were 11 people rescued that day. 11. I am overjoyed that there are 11 fewer human beings enslaved, but at the same time it is so disheartening. It took 120 agents from 10 law enforcement agencies to rescue just 11 people when there are millions more still out there waiting for someone to help them. If law enforcement were to carry out the same simultaneous rescue operation for every trafficking victim in the world, to rescue the 27 millions people in trafficking worldwide (stophumantrafficking.org) it would take approximately 297 million agents. That is A LOT of agents.
The article goes on to describe the procedure and schedule that the agents took: step by step. To me it seems so simple: Learn of scum bags trafficking people. Arrest said scum bags. Scum bags rot in prison. If only it was that easy. There is so much coordination and planning that goes into these busts that they can take months to set up. On top of that everyone has to make sure that evidence is going to stand up in court and every move the agents make is completely by the book; no one wants to see the traffickers get off on a technicality. As much as it ticks me off that it takes months and months for law enforcement to do these busts (I’m the type of girl who wants to kick down doors, dressed in all black and rescue people Mission Impossible style), I understand that’s just how the legal system works. My only problem with this whole news story stems from one anchor that I happened to hear talking about the bust. In introducing as an upcoming story, he said something to the effect, “Coming up next, a human trafficking bust, right here in America.” Right here in America? Is he trying to suggest that this is some kind of fluke? Trafficking of all kinds is HUGE in the United States. I was so shocked that a reporter would say something, that is to me, so ignorant. That kind of language, “right here in America”, only perpetuates to the public that trafficking is a rarity here. Even overseas, a nice chunk of people purchasing sex trafficking victims and Americans traveling abroad. The typical mindset of people in the U.S. is still that trafficking is a “third world” problem. Even just from “liking” the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking’s Facebook page, I’m constantly seeing a constant stream of posts about different trafficking cases happening presently, most of them “right here in America”. So many people want to send aid overseas to help with trafficking there (and I fully support that) but what about the victims at home? How can we, as United States citizens, really do our part to eradicate slavery if we allow trafficking to persist in our own country? It’s great to help those suffering in other countries, but we mustn’t forget that there are over 2 million people trafficked in the United States. Slavery is still an equal opportunity disease.