Human trafficking is arguably the world’s greatest crime against humanity. The United States is a top contributor to human trafficking, containing one of North America’s largest trafficking ports: Houston, Texas. Despite this, many Americans understand neither the practice nor the severity of this trade. According to the Polaris Project , 48% of Americans were unable to give an accurate definition of human trafficking and 37% of those surveyed believed it to be the smuggling of persons without proper documentation across international borders. Human trafficking does not require movement; the twelve-year-old being forced to prostitute within her community is still considered a victim. Police forces can shares this ignorance, making it common for a nineteen-year-old forced into prostitution to be arrested for promoting commercial sex, when she is the true victim of the crime.
Human trafficking is an invisible yet ubiquitous aspect of all communities. This trade targets all ages from infants to adults in their late 20s and does not focus on a specific socioeconomic bracket. It seems like a lost cause to many— the public is uninformed, the trade is extremely lucrative, and even some individuals with the power to make a difference are participating in the trade.
However, human trafficking is far from untouchable. What is necessary for change is awareness. It is up to the public to take action and pressure their leaders into combating the trade to a greater extent. Once the public is active in combating human trafficking, the world’s greatest violation of human rights will fall and the innocent victims will be given an opportunity to be free.
Learn more at Anna Merzi’s Texas Junior State article: Human Trafficking: Everyone’s Problem.