Oh yay - topping another list - tying in second place with California as one of the worst states in human trafficking http://causes.msn.com/human_trafficking/?section=gallerylong_4#section=gallerylong_4. But I don't think we really needed a national survey to tell us what we should already know thanks to the amazing efforts of the advocates at the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery http://traffickjamming.org/index.html.
If you’re not familiar with the issue of human trafficking, it might be perplexing to try to understand just how someone could get involved in such a mess. Immediately we might think of runaway teen girls, girls who come from abusive and poverty-stricken homes, uneducated women who must enjoy what they’re doing, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. While runaway teens and those from poverty-stricken and abusive homes may be at an increased risk or more susceptible to the advances and grooming of a human trafficking recruiter, a life ruled by oppression and coercive control is enjoyable for no one.
The problem with myths and misconceptions is that they lead us to believe in things that are not true and when we are not properly educated about a particular issue, then the net effect is that we end up actually helping in allowing the problem to continue; if human trafficking is not on our “radar” it’s easy to (mis)label trafficked youth as runaways.
Small children are considered abducted if they go missing because of their age and the unlikelihood of running away but because of the volatility of the teenage years, adolescents who go missing are more often categorized as runaways unless there’s some concrete evidence of foul play (but considering that traffickers are in business – therefore professionals at what they do – the chances of “loose ends” are slim).
The mislabeling of human trafficking victims is illustrated in the attached You Tube video where Kathy Xian refers to women who died from their injuries as a result of trafficking at hospital emergency rooms; apparently the attending physicians were unable to report the suspected trafficking so the women’s deaths would not be listed as related to human trafficking (in much the same manner as how DV cases are "pled down" to harassment or assault so the true extent of DV is never accurately reported).
While coming from an abusive home or from poverty may make for “easy pickin’s” by a human trafficker, individuals from good, happy, healthy homes are as likely to be targeted by a recruiter as well as individuals who are educated and from well-off or well-to-do backgrounds. See Brianna’s story here: http://causes.msn.com/human_trafficking/?section=GalleryLong_4#section=article_6_1 and other human trafficking victim stories here: http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/the-nhtrc/call-vignettes
I also say “individuals” because trafficking victims are NOT exclusively women: boys and men are also sought after and inducted into human trafficking. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osdfs/factsheet.html
Another huge misperception is that human trafficking doesn’t happen in the United States; that it’s a third world problem – NOT SO if only for the mere fact that a national study was able to be conducted that put the states in ranking order of the problem. http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/united_states_of_america
As with domestic violence, the most dangerous attitude I see in prevention education is the response of exclusivity: “It won’t happen to me or someone I know/love” often followed by “because I/they wouldn’t be THAT stupid”. The intelligence (or “stupidity”) of the victim with regards to problems like human trafficking, domestic violence, child pornography, internet fraud and the like is irrelevant because a crime is being committed against the victim by another person, and not just ANY person but a predator.
As Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt, a survivor and the founder of There Is HOPE For Me, http://www.thereishopeforme.org/ an organization that helps survivors of DV and human trafficking, says
Wake up America. The enemy is at your front door, in your computer via internet false modeling scams used to lure innocent children. We need to ask the right questions…. http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/social-justice-the-misconceptions-of-human-trafficking/
President Obama has declared the month of January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month http://www.army.mil/article/93752/National_Slavery_and_Human_Trafficking___/ so do your part to learn more about this issue so we can push Hawaii down to the bottom of the national survey ranking.
For more info about the issue of Human Trafficking click here: http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs