Health

Modern Day Slavery In Our Own Backyard

Human trafficking, or modern day slavery by force or coercion for labor or sex, is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, currently ranking between weapons sales and drug sales.  

“Kathy was a smart college student, receiving a scholarship to Tufts University. She had lots of friends and enjoyed school. Some of those she befriended, she assumed were students. They were at the cafeteria, library—everywhere students would go. They asked Kathy one day if she wanted to go with them to a jazz festival in Chicago. Kathy agreed; sounded like fun! They traveled to Chicago, and that’s where her life changed. They entered a hotel room where she was beaten, tied up and pumped full of drugs. Her whole life changed that day.” 

Human trafficking, or modern day slavery by force or coercion for labor or sex, is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, currently ranking between weapons sales and drug sales.  

Sobering Numbers 

  • 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked in the U.S. each year. 
  • 80% of them are trafficked for sexual exploitation. 
  • 80% of those are female. 
  • 50% percent are children. 
  • 12-14 years old  is the average age of entry into sex trafficking 
  • 40% of those sold in the sex industry are under the age of 18.  

Sources: www.the-wellhouse.org, www.dosomething.org 

According to CNN, pimps will tattoo their victims with a logo like branding  

You may assume that sex trafficking is not a big problem in our corner of the world, but the truth is that the southeast is a key area for human trafficking; 40 percent of the major hubs in the United States are in the southeast. In many cases, victims are in plain view.  

40% of human trafficking is in the Southeast.  

WE REACHED OUT TO ASHLEY ANDERSON, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR AT THE WELLHOUSE FOR MORE INFORMATION: 

Is human trafficking something that really happens in the United States, let alone Alabama? 

Unfortunately, yes, it is an evil that affects all areas and it is in Alabama. 40% of human trafficking is in the Southeast. We have major interstates running through Alabama – I-20, I-65, I-459, and I-59. Traffickers get around easily along these interstates. 

Are there areas in Alabama that are more prevalent for human trafficking? 

Human trafficking knows no boundaries- it is in all pockets of our communities. It is not a socio-economic problem, but rather it affects those from affluent areas to poverty-stricken areas and everything in between. To a trafficker/pimp/handler, the victim is just a dollar sign, a commodity to be bought and sold. 

What can parents, grandparents and caregivers do to ensure their children are safe? 

Sadly, the average age of entry into tracking is 12-14 year sold. Traffickers groom the most vulnerable in our society. It is important to not only monitor your child’s cell phone and social media usage, but to make a point to know all of their friends. Have a conversation with your child about sex education. If you don’t do it, someone else will. 

Can you tell us more about The WellHouse? 

The WellHouse was founded by Tajuan McCarty in 2010 and welcomed its first victim in 2011. Tajuan, a survivor of human trafficking, saw the need was great for rescuing and helping to restore these ladies. With only $33 in her pocket and a cell-phone, Tajuan founded a non-profit which helps throughout the entire United States. The WellHouse has rescued victims in 25 states. We want them to see their worth and all the gifts and graces that God has provided to them. We provide clothing, healthcare, job and life skills as well as counseling services. We also provide a social mentor who has advanced to the long-term program. 

What are some ways to help fight human trafficking? 

  • Call The WellHouse at 800-991-9937 to schedule a speaker to come to your school, small group or business to learn more about human tracking. We must raise awareness and help educate so we can truly put a stop to this evil. 
  • Tell five people about human trafficking and what this ministry does to help spread the word. 
  • Coordinate a donation drive of toiletries and nonperishable items to help The WellHouse. Donate your time and resources to the ministry to make an even greater impact. And finally, but most importantly, pray for those victims who have not yet found their way to safety at e WellHouse. 

Check out www.the-wellhouse.org for more information on how you can get involved and make a difference in the lives of human trafficking victims. The WellHouse also has a crisis line (800-991-0948) which is answered 24/7. 

As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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