Underneath The Mist of Pure Sight

A little girl woke up one spring morning to the sound of the birds chirping beautiful melodies, the sound of the leaves swishing in the wind, and the humming of mom’s coffee pot. It was her birthday, and as she raced into the living room she saw a bright, shiny, pink bicycle waiting for her. It was all she had been dreaming about for months. Her dad spent the whole morning teaching her how to ride it, and before she knew it she was zooming down the neighborhood. The next morning she was still speeding around as her parents proudly watched from the porch. But this morning she went farther than normal, and her parents looked away for one second.

 She ended up in a neighborhood she had never seen before, and a smiling, motherly woman offered to take her home. Where she ended up was much different than home, it was a basement full of children just like her, and she wondered why they had bruises on them. Several men came and bid on her like she was filthy cattle in an auction. They whisked her away in time, for her to be sexually exploited every single day of her life. Being beaten, starved, and violated was the new normal. This is human trafficking. 

Now, this is just one of the many horrendous stories that many lived who are victims of human trafficking. However, there is no mold for how it happens. It is not always a young, adorable child, about 75% are past 18. And it can also happen to males of all ages, at least 29% of victims are males. There are no qualifications for being omitted from the targeted list, it is anyone and everyone who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. People can be dragged anywhere from next door, or thousands of miles away in a completely different country. By everyday citizens with nothing but pleasure and dollar signs in their eyes. Human beings become nothing but sex objects, slaves for labor, and punching bags.

And the most appalling part is nobody cares. It’s not happening around me, so why should I care? You don’t care until your little girl is being violated even her dreams, you don’t care until your best friend has a sea of money-seeking pigs surrounding her, and there is nothing you can do. When human trafficking is right in front of you, it is far too late. What is more disgusting about the process of trafficking itself, is the government response. There is barely any response. As stated by www.humanrightsfirst.org, “Of the estimated 16 million forced labor victims worldwide, only 1,038 cases of forced labor were prosecuted globally in 2016, according to the US Department of State. In 2016, the Department of Justice convicted a total of 439 human traffickers.” The statistics are insane, there should absolutely be more done to protect innocent human beings from being sold like nothing. The land of the free should be better than this. What makes this information worse, is that when and if victims are able to escape, they will feel like there is no point in reporting the horrors of what happened to them. If it is just going to be brushed aside, why report it, to begin with? We owe so much more to these people, and it is time we give them everything they deserve. 

As a country, as a state, as a city, and as a school we have the ability to make changes in our government. We hold the ability to elect officials who believe in putting an end to the vicious cycle that is human trafficking. We also hold the ability to write to our officials every day and encourage them to do something. Whether that be to vote on a law pertaining to human trafficking, draft law for preventing it, or just doing something to aid victims, it can be done. As a school, we can spread the word throughout our school. Having those discussions in our classes about real-life issues such as human trafficking is preventative. Having more literature in our libraries about human trafficking is also preventative. If children grow up learning and reading about the dangers of not following safety rules, and not talking to or being around strangers, we are engraving in their brain safety practices without them knowing. As a school, we can do so much more. And it all starts in the school environment. 

Preventing human trafficking all starts with awareness about the topic. Yes, it can be a difficult topic, but the risks of not discussing it can be devastating. So talk about it, talk to your children, your friends, your family, it will affect so much more than just your family. Prevention methods are to stay in groups when out in public whenever possible, be aware of surroundings, take extra precautions when meeting someone new, and always make sure someone knows where you are. It may seem silly or annoying, but is it really worth it? If you suspect anyone of being targeted for human trafficking immediately call 911, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. It is time we join together and become a country where children are able to ride their bicycles through the neighborhood without worry.