Over at Politichicks Lee Bagdasarian Rech has written an important piece about modern day slavery in America… and it’s something that everything should read.
An International Megan’s Law, Operation Underground Railroad, and “The Abolitionists” bring awareness to modern slavery and the need for strong response to these complex crimes.
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In a recent Politico article, “The Truth About Sex Trafficking,” human trafficking is cited as the second fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating over $32 billion annually.
I live in the U.S. and my 4th of July was spent celebrating with my family and friends. I hold the classic viewpoint of praising the nation’s heritage, laws, history, society, and people. I think of independence and freedom as opposed to coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, suppression, exploitation, and vulnerability.
Yet, as we gather this year, a very real and complex crime is proliferating; human trafficking is happening right here in the U.S.
With more than 20 million worldwide victims, mostly women, and 5.5 million children, according to one projection by the Polaris Project, this despicable crime trend is modern slavery on a worldwide scale.
According to the same Polaris Project source, traffickers use a combination of criminal tactics to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex or forcing them to provide labor services against their will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience—the loss of freedom.
Last year, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes had a personal experience with the trafficking of children, which became game-changing for him and a priority focus for his administration. In 2014, the Utah AG’s office filed 34 felony charges against human trafficking criminal Victor Rax, who later killed himself in jail. With eyes, mind, and heart wide open, AG Reyes gained international acclaim when news broke of his travel to a dangerous area of South America last year with Operation Underground Railroad. During the covert operation, AG Reyes posed as a bodyguard and translator to help liberate more than 100 children from a sex trafficking ring that spanned multiple locations. The sting had the support of both the U.S. and Colombian governments; two U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators were also present.
“Protecting children and women from exploitation by providing advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders to the government of the country of destination is another powerful step toward stopping this all too true crime trend,” said Reyes. “I can tell you this deplorable multibillion dollar industry continues to flourish and must be stopped. By advancing International Megan’s Law, I am hopeful we can significantly reduce sex tourism and human and child sex trafficking on a nationwide and global scale…”
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