Modern Slavery: prolific and profitable

Human trafficking is here, it’s local, and much of it is in plain sight, not hidden behind fences and barbed wire.  It is modern slavery trapping men and women everywhere into forced labor and sexual exploitation.  Human trafficking is the #2 criminal enterprise, behind the drug trade.  But it is growing, with $32 billion in profits in 2016.

While trafficking conjures up a mental picture of sweltering shipping containers overloaded with human cargo, the reality is much of it doesn’t move the victim from place to place.  Those who are trafficked are used in their own locales and by people who have gained their trust.  Forced labor and sexual exploitation know no geographical boundaries and often, intersect with local drug trade.  It preys on the vulnerable, particularly those without economic or social stability.

Pennsylvania’s Act 105, anti-trafficking legislation enacted in 2014, includes criminal and civil recourse for victims of human trafficking.  Yet most victims do not willingly come forward due to fear of their trafficker, language or cultural barriers, or fear of law enforcement.  Even in highly public settings, most trafficked individuals will not ask for help.

NFRW has prioritized the fight against human trafficking and asked each state and council to act accordingly.

PFRW’s legislative director, Margaret Recupido has led the effort statewide by educating board members and regional directors on ways to equip their Republican Women.

SUNACRW works with several organizations to provide both financial support and supplies to those who first connect with victims of trafficking.    For security purposes we do not name our partners, but our projects have included providing flashlights with alarms to young women in a residential program, for previously trafficked youth and supporting direct care programs.

What can you do?

  • Educate yourself on issues related to trafficking in labor, sex, etc.
  • Befriend vulnerable individuals who may be at risk.  Strong families and appropriate friendships provide barriers to traffickers looking for victims.
  • Get involved with programs that work to provide victims with new opportunities, education and counseling.
  • Report suspected trafficking to the police.
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