No longer can we ignore the presence of human trafficking in the US. Be it facebook warnings from concerned mothers in Milwaukee, legal tussles with prominent online portals or concerned citizens banding together, awareness and activism is definitely on the rise.
On Social Media
More and more reports are coming in from Kenosha of young women in some scary situations. According to the authorities, the I-94 corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago is becoming a hot spot for human trafficking, because it leads to a lot of destinations.
Recently a young woman detailed a threatening encounter with a stranger while on a beach. Her facebook post went on to become viral and elicited a lot of responses detailing similar incidents.
One harrowing instance was a mother’s detailing of her teenage daughters who encountered a couple of shady individuals before managing to escape. Such messages have contributed a lot to raising awareness than even reports in mainstream media.
Victims Vs Tech Giants
Even more harrowing is the tale of Kubiiki Pride who had to go online on a classified ads portal Backpage in order to get her 13 year old daughter back. She would eventually go on to lead a 7 year legal tussle that eventually shut down the portal’s adult services listings.
A feisty start-up, Backpage was launched In 2004 by the iconic libertarian publishing house New Times Media. The house launched Backpage as an online advertising business that soon morphed into one of the world’s largest prostitution hubs with more than 90% of its weekly revenues from trafficking and escort related ads.
Kubiiki and her daughter are not alone in the fight that’s going on even now. Many other victims of trafficking and their families are embroiled in multiple legal suits with the tech giant. To compound their woes, several not-for-profit special interest groups funded by companies including Google are supporting Backpage in their legal battles.
On the Road
Truckers in the US are increasingly operating on the front line in the fight against human trafficking. Truckers tend to spend a lot of time in the places that trafficking victims also pass through due to the transient nature of their job.
Traffickers are constantly moving the victims around, shifting them to newer locations according to demand. Pimps also often look to sell their victims in places like truck stops en-route-- hence the importance of trucker diligence.
Organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) seek to educate truckers on what to look out for, how to report suspect incidences and the importance of doing so.
It’s encouraging that these acts of resistance are gaining ground in our country, yet alarming that such acts are even required at all. Anyhow, these efforts are not adequate by themselves and we as a society can contribute more to the fight against trafficking. Be it raising awareness about this modern day slavery, urging authorities to take steps to curb this crime or providing support and rehabilitation for rescued victims, we all can do more.