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Human trafficking is a world-wide problem that affects people, girls and boys, of all ages. “It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 people are trafficked each year globally and that between 20,000 and 50,000 are trafficked into the United States” (EncyclopediaBritannica2017) which is a lot more American people being trafficked than a lot of people think.
Human trafficking is a criminal activity, which is the third most profitable business for organized crime. After drugs and arm trades, it is an estimated 32 billion dollars per year. The most common form of human trafficking is the transportation of people into the sex industry. It consists of different types of slavery, including forced prostitution, pornography, child sex rings, and sex-related jobs such as nude dancing and modeling, which are some things that some people would not think to be human trafficking.
Most people believe that human trafficking only involves women or girls, but, “polaris reported 7,572 cases involving 6,340 females and 978 males… a total of 4,890 reported cases involved adults and 2,387 involved minors” (Cone2017). The history of human trafficking began in the 1400s when European slave trading in Africa with the Portuguese started to transfer people from Africa to Portugal and using them as slaves. In 1562 the British joined in on the slave trading in Africa, and more countries like Spain, North America, Holland, France, Sweden, and Denmark joined in the 1600s. Later on in the years, there was a Chinese gang called the “Tongs” which trafficked about 6,000 women between 1852 and 1873. The Tongs brought Chinese women to San Francisco and auctioned them for as much as $1,000 which is $18,780 in today’s dollar amount. “During WWI, Japan had set up a system where women all across Asia were forced into sexual slavery. The women were housed in what were known as “comfort stations”. Each woman detained in a small cubicle, received beatings and other tortures if they were defiant. Many women died of disease, malnutrition, exhaustion, and suicide.
The stations were also surrounded by barbed wire, making the escape impossible” (RutgersUniversity2011). The “ugly” women were sent to these bad places where they either lived in the alleyways of Chinatown or they were sent to the mining towns. After the African slave trade, “white slavery” became a thing where white women or girls were forced into prostitution. “As white slavery gained attention, governments began to cooperate to fight it. In 1899 and then in 1902, international conferences against white slavery were organized in Paris. In 1904, the International Agreement for the Suppression of “White Slave Traffic” the first international agreement on human trafficking, was signed” (Oster2015) making it a criminal act to participate in human trafficking of a white person. The League of Nations was founded after WWI (1914) and focused on the issue of human trafficking.
The end of white slave trafficking was changed to “trafficking in women and children” so that everybody was included without the discrimination to race. People of both genders were considered and recognized as victims of trafficking. “Awareness of the traffic in women and girls was revived by the second wave of the women’s movement in the mid-1960s. Many feminists, particularly those who focused on violence against women, took up the fight by defining sex trafficking as the previous activists did: They included all commercial use of women and girls in prostitution and the production of pornography. By the mid-1980s, a second international movement against sex trafficking was underway” (Hughes2013).
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