Sex trafficking, alas, is alive and well in the US, a century and a half after the Civil War ended slavery, or at least legal slavery. In Seattle, the underground economy in sex generates more revenue than for drugs or guns! In their article “4 questions answered on sex trafficking in the US” Prof. Monti Datta summarizes where it happens – in massage parlors, at motels along the highways, at truck stops – and who the victims are – mostly women and girls, average age 19, but also boys. Victims are often homeless youth, and homeless LGBTQ youth are especially at risk. The customers who enable the industry are men of all ages and socioeconomic classes, and the money generated from this iniquitous industry in the US is in the hundreds of millions.
Polaris, a non-profit that targets the systems that make human trafficking possible, recently published a blog entitled: “Racial Disparities, COVID-19, and Human Trafficking”. Poverty and trauma are critical drivers of the vulnerability of persons to trafficking. The blog illustrates how both the virus and human trafficking have a disproportionate impact on people of color in the US. In King County, for example, “84 percent of child sex trafficking victims are Black while Black children and adults together only comprise 7% of the general population.” COVID’s disparate effects on the health and employment of people of color and women only exacerbate the risk of family members being trafficked.
Generations of trauma, racism and displacement have also put indigenous girls and women at higher risk of being trafficked. Therefore, it is particularly welcome that our Sunday offering for May will go to Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative, an organization based in Olympia. They serve trafficked indigenous women, supporting them in creating a new future.
Summary Written by: Marilyn Parsons and Vicki Robert-Gassler
Advocates for Women, News Group