Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Human Trafficking in California

Human Trafficking is indicative of an immoral condition of such magnitude as to fly in the face of God. It is an affront to all the godly qualities and characteristics within the human soul. In other words, it dehumanizes all of us.

 After last week’s article, “Human Trafficking Redux,” my friend Linda, reminded me of the salacious activities uncovered by the work of two people posing as a pimp and a prostitute attempting to acquire housing through ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). I’m sure you watched the undercover tapes being broadcast on the news, where the man posing as a pimp openly stated that he wanted these homes for the purpose of bringing under-aged girls from South America to work as prostitutes. That was shocking enough, but the manner in which the employees of ACORN accommodated the request was stunning. It was handled in such a matter-of-fact manner that it spoke volumes of whatever else was going on under the guise of a community organization. There was the expected outcry from “We the people,” and of course the appropriate posturing of our elected officials who all huffed and puffed their indignation, harrumphing their disdain for such awful activities going on right under their noses. Then the attacks on the man and woman who filmed these various meetings with ACORN workers were relentless. I’ll leave you to decide the morality of their sting operation. But here’s a question: Would anyone in a position of power have bothered to investigate unless they had hard evidence? I think not.

I wonder how many of us are aware of a report that was released in 2007 by the state of California, entitled, “Human Trafficking in California – Final Report of the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force.” This was published by the California Attorney General’s Office. I was particularly interested in the section which identified California as being a “Magnet for Traffickers.” The opening page quoted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” (Amendment XIII, Slavery Abolished (1865).

Well, that’s a great start. 

Consider this statement by California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber: “The problem of human trafficking has reached into neighborhoods throughout California and is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. Individuals are bought, sold, transported and held in inhumane conditions for use in prostitution or as forced laborers. It would be morally and socially irresponsible to ignore this problem and the victims it creates in California every year.” (September 21, 2005 – signing of AB 22).

          There is a simple pattern to the way human traffickers operate. I shared some of this in my first article three weeks ago based on my own exposure and experience with this morally reprehensible so-called business. This next statement is taken from the findings of the California Task Force assigned to investigate trafficking. “Traffickers lure victims into the United States with deceptive promises of good jobs and better lives, and then force them to work under brutal and inhuman conditions, and deprive them of their freedom. Victims of human trafficking may be involved in agricultural labor, construction labor, hotel and motel cleaning services, illegal transporters, organized theft rings, pornography, prostitution, restaurant services, domestic services, servile marriage (mail-order brides) and sweatshops. Once in this country, many suffer extreme physical and mental abuse, including rape, sexual exploitation, torture, beatings, starvation, death threats and threats to family members.”

          The scope of the problem of trafficking in California found that “over 80 percent of the documented cases took place in urban areas: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, and the majority of victims were non-citizens, with or without valid travel documents.”

          “To put the power of the economic magnet for trade in human beings in perspective, it took transatlantic trade 400 years to import 12 million African slaves to the United States. Yet, within Southeast Asia alone an estimated 30 million women and children have been trafficked – in the past ten years.”

To report human trafficking, call the U.S. Department of Justice Hotline, 1-888-428-7581.

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