Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Dream: Human Trafficking and Racial Ramifications

I have returned from a study abroad! Since the semester has started up again, I hope to post on race, transgender, socioeconomic status, immigration, United States, and Brazil as topics in the coming months.
Today is the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. If you have never heard it, I recommend listening to a recording, watching a video, or reading the transcript.

The ramifications of Dr. King’s speech are still felt today. But I am not here to give a historical or political account specifically on “I Have a Dream.” Instead, I am going to share some racial and ethnic statistics on trafficking since racial injustices are a continuing and disturbing reality for many in America. When it comes to human trafficking, the majority of human trafficking is a gender issue emphasized by the disproportionate number of women and girls sexually exploited. However, we cannot ignore or trivialize racial discrimination and how ethnicity and race may play in human trafficking and in the victims’ experiences and treatment.

“We cannot be satisfied” by the saving of only women, of only men, but of all identifying as a multitude of races, genders, ethnicities, creeds, etc.

“We cannot walk alone” when it comes to raising awareness. It requires the effort of all of us to acknowledge the multitude of variables that need to be addressed to assist everyone and prevent people in becoming victims and to ease the aftermath. As Peace states in a previous post, there are individual and community consequences; and also individual and community-wide ways to battle human trafficking.

“I have a dream today” that it is possible.

The third largest illegal industry, trafficked victims are highly concentrated from Asia with a destination of the United States.

Map of Human Trafficking in the World (2011) by Globalization 101

Children soldiers are recruited by this method. As are sex slaves. Immigrants are tricked into slavery to work for travel documents and “safety” from deportation.

Human Trafficking Regarding Race and Ethnicity:
6161 countries identified are affected by human trafficking with 127 as countries of origin, 98 transit countries, and 137 destination countries (the three categories are not mutually exclusive) (2006)
Of confirmed:
o   Sex trafficking victims: 26% were white and 40% were black
o   Labor trafficking victims: 56% were Hispanic and 15% were Asian

Pie Graphs of Trafficking Victims of Race (2012) by Victims of Crimes

About 17,500 each year of foreign nationals are from Mexico and East Asia, as well as from South Asia, Central America, Africa, and Europe

77% victims in alleged human trafficking incidents reported in the U.S. were people of color, but there is much ambiguity such that 747 out of 1,442 reported incidents recorded no racial or ethnic origin

Racism, like sexism, is embedded in human trafficking. We must be explicit in the connections of ALL factors when discussing human trafficking to better our laws on helping victims and punishing the exploiters.

Resources on Human Trafficking and Sources for the Post:
Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech’s video:

Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech’s transcript:

New York Public Library’s Modern-Day Slavery: Stories about Human Sex Trafficking and Comfort Women:

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