Today we'll discuss chapter 1, which is basically an introduction to the subject of human trafficking.
The authors define human trafficking in the book by quoting a number of reports and studies by several different entities, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the United Nations, and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. But I think the best definition they use comes from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). It defines two forms of human trafficking:
"Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.
Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery."
Burroughs and Powell do a great job of explaining that slavery exists, even in modern day America. They don't speak condescendingly of people who are unaware of this tragedy happening in their own towns. They humbly write that they were in the dark as well.
The authors list some industries where labor trafficking is prevalent:
- domestic servitude/worker cases (nannies, maids/housekeepers)
- nail salons
- industrial cleaning
- sales crews
For me, it's strange to think that some of the people I see and work with every day could be the victims of labor trafficking. How many of these people do we pass each day? How often do we come into contact with slavery and not even suspect it?
The authors also give some great websites that provide resources on this subject. They include:
Slavery Map www.slaverymap.org
The Campaign to Rescue and Restore http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/
International Justice Mission http://www.ijm.org/
Shared Hope International http://www.sharedhope.org/
Free the Slaves www.freetheslaves.net
That's all we'll discuss this week. For now, think about the people living beside you who might be victims of human trafficking. How does it make you feel to know that this crime could be so close to you?
Next week we'll discuss chapter two, in which Dillon and Charles tell their personal stories. We'll also dive a little deeper into exactly what human trafficking is. If you're interested in buying the book, just click the link above.