Friday News Roundup: Vulnerabilities
Every Friday, Polaris highlights noteworthy human trafficking stories in the media for our readers to check out, share, and respond to. Tell us your thoughts on these stories in the discussion below!
The Perils of Emigration from the Northern Triangle
Harvard Political Review 4/21/17
Children born in such a land face not only the murder of parents and other family members at the hands of local gangs, but also the problems accompanying extreme poverty, such as lack of education, health resources, and a tenable future. Child labor is commonplace, along with sexual exploitation, trafficking, and child marriage. To live in such a place is to live in constant fear for one’s life. Escape means either joining one of the local mara gangs or emigrating to another land. Therefore, despite the dangers involved, unaccompanied minors and families make the trek to the United States, because they see it as a land of opportunity, or at the very least, as a place with more opportunity than their homeland. Like most people, Latin Americans are naturally disinclined to leave their homes; oftentimes, they leave because they must. In interviews with the HPR, Lisa Haugaard of the Latin American Working Group and Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office of Latin America said that it is poverty, fear, and distrust that drive Latin Americans to flee their homes.
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is a minor. “The vulnerability children experience when they are alone, hungry and without shelter on the streets makes them particularly susceptible to trafficking,” said Ryan. The researchers found that of those interviewed, nearly one-fifth of homeless youth in the United States and Canada are victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for sex, labor, or both. Some 20 percent were victims of human trafficking.
Truckers like Kimmel are increasingly seen as operating on the front line in the fight against human trafficking. Victims are often women and young children but men and boys are also trafficked. Potential incidences of trafficking have been reported in every state in America, according to National Human Trafficking Hotline data, and the issue was recently described as an "epidemic" by President Donald Trump. Those most at risk are usually individuals without strong social or family support networks. However, anyone can be targeted. Kimmel, who still drives a truck and speaks about his experiences at anti-trafficking events around the country, says that truckers tend to spend a lot of time in the places that victims pass through given the transient nature of their job.