The fashion industry’s worldwide yearly revenue is twenty billion dollars. The human trafficking industry has a startling revenue of 31.6 billion dollars per year. For 31.6 billion dollars you could feed the whole entire world on one dollar a day for four and a half days (Mannafreedom). Many people believe that human trafficking doesn’t exist anymore, and some think that it only happens in foreign countries whose names they have never even heard of-these people are incorrect. For those of you who don’t know what human trafficking is, it is the modern day form of slavery, it is the taking and transacting of human beings against their will for sex or forced labor. Human trafficking is subsisting today, and happens on a daily basis, all over the world, in our country, and much closer to home than we think. This is a huge problem in other countries, as well as our own, and before we can even begin to put an end to it, we must spread awareness.
In the past year, I have met many people who are working to terminate human trafficking, and I have heard girls who have been trafficked speak about their tragic experiences. In November 21st, a fashion show was held at the University of Oregon to raise money for a house for victims of human trafficking, as well as awareness for the issue. I was able to partake in the show, and was privileged enough to meet many amazing people who are taking a stand against human trafficking.It was so inspiring to see all of those people getting together for such a great cause, and it made me want to do whatever I could to stop this horrible problem. At the show, videos about trafficking were shown, and several people spoke about the issue. The facts presented were absolutely staggering to the entire audience. No one had any idea how common human trafficking was, and that it happens so often in our own neighborhoods.
Many young women and children are trafficked every day, all over the country. Over one million new people are trafficking every year. Out of all of these people, 80% are women, and 60% are children (Unglobalcompact). Each minute, two more children are brought into the sex trade, and are likely to die within two years if they cannot escape. It is not known to many, but Portland, Oregon, is in fact the country’s second largest capital for human sex-trafficking, and it is rapidly approaching the first on the list, which is Seattle, Washington. Very few are aware of the dark realities of human trafficking, and the fact that it happens so close to home is a wake-up call to those people.
Human trafficking is dynamic in our very own community, and it could even involve people in our own lives. Many trafficking victims are: teens with family problems, young women with at least a middle level of education, and runaways, which the majority of are taken within 48 hours of leaving home. As Portland’s Sgt. Mike Geiger said in the Washington Post, “I just believe with my whole heart that people across the community would be appalled if they knew what was going on,” (The Washington Times). If people knew what was happening in our state, they would want to do all they could to make a difference.
Even though the reality of human trafficking looks dim, there is also much that can be done to stop it from progressing. The human trafficking industry is huge, it it will indeed be a great challenge to stop it from ruining more lives. If everyone was to donate a little of their time or