Human trafficking is increasingly identified as an insidious societal problem. The statistics are staggering: Human trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion industry that profits from 25 million victims worldwide. Estimates suggest that, internationally, only about .04% of survivors of human trafficking cases are identified, meaning most cases of trafficking go undetected.
And this is a problem that hits close to home for those in the U.S.: More than 100,000 children are sold for sex in the U.S. each year, and 83 percent of sex trafficking victims in the U.S. are U.S. citizens, according to Polaris, an organization that collects statistics on HT.
Many efforts are underway to communicate and alleviate this enormous problem.
One important initiative is legislation at various levels, which would make it easier to prosecute the johns and create more punitive actions against the traffickers. There is also funding for victims’ remediation, such as support for job training and criminal records expungement. There are also compensatory funds available in some instances.
Community education initiatives take the form of mandated training for societal members who might have heightened interactions with traffickers/or victims. These include training for the police, hotel staff and licensed professionals.
There are also many organizations founded with the goal of alleviating the suffering caused by human trafficking. One such group is Free To Thrive, directed by Jamie Beck. Located in California—the number one state for human trafficking—Free to Thrive provides legal services to victims of human trafficking and partners with other organizations to provide other social services for victims. Free to Thrive is also teaming up with numerous cosponsors in California to enact legislation allowing resentencing for victims of human trafficking.
Ms. writer Helen LaVan spoke with Jamie Beck in a recent interview about Free to Thrive and human trafficking.
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