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Who Is Most Vulnerable To Becoming A Human Trafficking Victim?

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A major concern in the United States is human trafficking. There are millions of victims each year who suffer from this horrendous action. Traffickers victimize certain people due to their background. They know who the easiest ones to capture are, so they chase after them and succeed. Many of the victims go through mental, physical, and social issues while they are in the system or even when they are saved. Today in America human trafficking is a major issue that is sadly too common in this country.

Since the traffickers know who is most likely to be lured in, those are the people that they prey on. Three ways that help identify those victims is social media, their financial situation, and isolation from family and friends. Predators use the social media to capture certain subjects. “The study, which was requested by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, reveals how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media” (University of Toledo 1). They are able to communicate easily with children through the Internet. They often say that they understand the child and are really supportive towards them . Some common phrases that attract the traffickers towards the children are: “Nobody gets me”, “My life sucks”, “My parents don’t trust me”, and “I need to get out of here”. The predators respond to them with encouraging and sympathetic feedback. Many people think it is important for parents to have their children comfortable with them so the children share information with them. “Parents who are educated can wage a worthy defense against potential recruitment and recruitment of their youth online,’ Williamson said.

Parents who work to build healthy, open and communicative relationships are more likely to have youth that share information about where they go and who they talk to online.” (University of Toledo 3). Parents have started becoming more alert to their children’s social media. They monitor and sometimes block activity that may seem questionable to them. Another way traffickers obtain their prey is based on the victim’s financial position. The victim may not be able to financially support themselves so they seem like an easy target. When the traffickers talk to them, they make it seem like they can help them live in luxury and be able to afford anything. That’s obviously not the case. “Some people are naive and almost desperate to do everything for their ‘dream lives’, mainly young women from poor, developing countries who seem to have no future perspectives. If there is a chance for them to get out and start living a perfect life, they go along with it, without reflecting on it.” (Wilke 8).

By taking up these offers from their “dream lives”, they most likely result into becoming a slave. Another tactic traffickers use is to look at people that happen to be isolated from family and even friends. “Instead of a white girl from a wealthy or middle class home, as we are lead to believe through media, it is more likely a runaway, girl of color, and/or someone who has been in the foster care system” (Ohio State University 1). Runaway children are searched for since they are obviously looking for a new home. Traffickers also look at kids in the foster care system where they might not like their family and may want to run away. Those kids often feel alone and need someone to encourage them. That’s where the trafficker comes to welcome them.

Once the victim is in the human trafficking system there are many personal effects that happens to them. That includes mental, physical, and social effects. Mentally, they may be diagnosed with some mental disorders. “Victims who have been rescued from sexual slavery, typically present with various psychological symptoms and mental illnesses, including the following: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Suicidal Ideation, Stockholm Syndrome, and Substance Abuse” (Kaylor 3). The impact of these mental problems can be more severe than physical ones. The traffickers want to show dominance and they do that by physical violence. Starvation, rape/gang rape, and beatings are the most common act of dominance. The victims may also experience harm from the people purchase the acts. They may get broken bones, burns, and brain trauma from the buyers. The individuals who are captured also go through some social problems if they are ever rescued. They do not like to ask for help since they do not like identifying themselves as human trafficking victims. They tend to blame themselves for being trafficked. If they are still in the system, they are not able to communicate with family and friends. They also might not speak the local language to get help.

Human trafficking is still a major conflict today. Many do whatever they can to stop it, but they do not manage to stop it. “Although the United States abolished slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment over 150 years ago, there are still an estimated 24.9 million slaves living around the world today” (Human Rights First 1). Many organizations have stepped forward to help prevent human trafficking, but it still is hard to completely stop. Human trafficking is considered to be “modern-day slavery”. They compare this to slavery since the victims are often forced to work without pay. They may be threatened to do the work. To help raise awareness for this tragic situation, they dedicate the month January for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention. More and more kids are getting trafficked each year and the United States is doing everything they can to prevent it.

Human trafficking is a major problem in America that is trying to be prevented. The traffickers know who to track from social media, their financial state, and isolation of family and friends. Social media is easy to track one another so it is an useful tool for traffickers. They may also go after young adults that are financially struggling. Another way is to look at people who tend to be isolated from family or friends. There are many personal effects of being trafficked. They are mental, physical, and social problems. The victims may have some mental disorders, physically abused, and may feel like they can’t talk to anyone. Even if they are rescued, they may not want to identify themselves as a victim of human trafficking. Today in America human trafficking is a major issue that is sadly too common in this country.

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