Editor’s note: The identity of the author of this series of articles, the first running in this edition, has been altered for her protection. Referred to as Elaine McCammon, she is a graduate of Forbush High School, and a member of Girl Scout Troop 40772. This piece is part of her Gold Award Project, and she is majoring in social work with intent to work with victims of trafficking. This article is the first of a four-part series.
Human sex trafficking. This term elicits varied responses to everyone who hears the words, and they connotate a lot of false stereotypes. Take a moment and think: what do they mean to you? Human trafficking is defined by the United Nations to be the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. Essentially, it is modern day slavery. There exist more slaves today than at any other time in history; the UN estimates there to be about 20 million slaves worldwide, but many organizations have higher figures.
It is a common misconception that human trafficking does not occur in first world countries, including the United States. But the sex industry is prominent in the United States, where victims are trafficked internationally and domestically. Yes, American youth are being coerced and captured into the ever booming sex industry.
North Carolina is a prime destination for sex trafficking due to the large number of highways and interstates, which allows traffickers to bring in their victims, sell their bodies, and leave undetected. Charlotte and Durham are hotspots for trafficking due to their large number of conference centers, sporting arenas, and entertainment venues. Any city that has a large sporting event, such as an NFL game or the Olympics will have a dramatic increase in sex trafficking.
As a community, it is essential that we are aware of the reality of sex trafficking and the dangers it imposes. I encourage you to learn more about the danger of trafficking in our area, and look for future articles on the subject.
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