Human Trafficking Is Closer To Home Than You think
Human Trafficking is a topic that often times is thought of as an overseas or outdated issue, but it is still occurring and right here under our noses. There is no exact number since it is so difficult to track people being moved in and out of the country, but it is estimated that there have been over 40,000 victims reported in the past decade in the U.S. alone. That number includes people being brought in from other countries and those already residing here. This issue is surprisingly also occurring close to home, here in sunny Florida. Our large and quickly changing crowds make Florida an easy location for the crime. Another reason it is a popular state for modern slavery is due to the fields that require much demand for labor. We have tomato, orange, and watermelon fields that need to be tended to and at low costs in order to generate more revenue.
The majority of the victims here are of Hispanic origin and young women. It is common for the perpetrators to take advantage of women that are going through a difficult time. Victims tend to be runaways or drug users that are out on the streets and are considered easy prey. They are targeted because they are more likely to accept “help” and less likely to be reported missing. The victims that use drugs may be enticed with free drugs in order to earn their trust and lured into the business then of course kept against their will. Don’t let that fool you though, there are still a lot of kidnappings which occur even in private homes, not just out on the streets. These kidnappings are much easier to track than the people being brought in from overseas. Although young women are the most reported victims, there are still a larger amount of men which are also being exploited, especially as field workers.
This human trafficking business is sadly one of the fastest growing in the criminal industry. Florida hosts one of the largest hot spots in the country, with a vast majority of it occurring in South Florida. Raising awareness, especially of the proximity of these issues can be vital for victims. It is not usually very obvious or easy to spot either a victim or perpetrator. They manage to blend in and keep their activities hidden from society. As dark as the issue may be, bringing awareness is crucial to help combat this. There are several sites available online to inform the public and also resources to assist victims. We just have to know the signs and report what we see in order to attempt to reduce this horrible crime. Numerous calls come in everyday to report suspicious activity and each one can help save a life.