29 April 2015
Human trafficking is the worlds second fastest growing criminal industry right behind drug trafficking. The estimated global annual profit of all trafficked victims is around 31.6 billion dollars. Human trafficking is an injustice that needs to be addressed immediately. Human trafficking is an injustice because in many cases the victim (prostitute) is the one who suffers legal consequences not the pimp. In the Netflix documentary ‘Tricked’ Danielle stated she was arrested so many times that she had to start using a fake name while her pimp never saw the inside of a jail cell. The notion of human dignity in all cases of human trafficking is diminished. The pimps often “season” the victims, seasoning means the break down of an individual by sexual assault, confinement, and creating a dependence: drug use or psychological abuse.
Human trafficking is not just prostitution; it also involves forced labor, slavery, and the removal of organs to be sold in the black market. Trafficking is done through threat, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, and abuse of power. Typical trafficking victims work in massage parlors, strip clubs, brothels, or they have ads in back page newspapers. Trafficking victims suffer from both physical and psychological effects. The psychological effects the victim feels are feeling insignificant, living in constant fear due to the threats of harm to family and friends, and the trauma of an abusive relationship. The physical effects are obvious, STDs, burns and scaring, pelvic pains, and forced abortions.
You may ask yourself who would be capable of doing such horrific acts to another human begin? Those who commit these horrendous crimes are typically called pimps. There’s a romeo pimp who uses psychological abuse, they typically manipulate the victims by dehumanizing them, taking away their dignity and self worth. Then there are gorilla pimps who use physical abuse to control their victims, beating them instilling fear, making them believe the beating is their fault. Traffickers also consist of brothel owners, gangs, factory owners, and even intimate partners or family members. 52% of recruiting victims are men and 42% are women. The other 6% consists of the intimate partners. While there are many international laws such as United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Slavery Convention, Universal declaration of Human Rights these laws are not enforced. The laws are sometimes hard to enforce due to the fear the victims have of the trafficker, there’s also a lack of training of officials who deal with the trafficking victims.
While human trafficking is a vast problem globally it’s also an enormous problem right here in Baltimore. Many say Baltimore is a “prime hot spot” for human trafficking due to the easy access to ports and the truck stops on the major interstate 95. A recent local case involves Matthew Warren Brown, 25 and Anthony Leon Eley, 30. The local Baltimore County police answered an ad in the paper. They met three underage girls 14, 16, and 17 at a Best Western hotel. Matthew and Anthony drove the girls to the hotel, gave them condoms, and told them to rob the “johns”, people who buy sex, afterwards. When the police interviewed the girls they told them the specific instructions from both Matthew and Anthony. The underage girls also made the police aware that Matthew and Anthony knew they were under the age of 18 despite claims that they didn’t know. Both Matthew and Anthony were charged with human trafficking, but in Maryland human trafficking is only a misdemeanor. Just last month, March, a bill was purposed to make human trafficking a felony charge and the bill was denied. What can we do as students? We can become educated on trafficking, all of its forms, where it’s happening, and who is doing the trafficking. You can also write to government officials to make human trafficking a felony in Maryland, this is a serious crime and it deserves to be treated as such.