OFFENDING THE LITTLE ONES – THE BLIGHT OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
While the majority of law-abiding citizens are unaware of it, slavery is still alive and kicking in the world. It does not matter whether you live in India or Europe or America, there’s a good chance that somebody is being forced into slavery or prostitution in a major city near you.
Three months ago Maribel Rodriguez Vasquez, a 28-year-old Guatemalan woman in Los Angeles, was the sixth person in her family to be arrested for her participation in the family business – transporting young women into America to force them into prostitution. Vasquez and her cohorts had lured a dozen women (at least) to America – including minors as young as 13 – and instead of helping them find the better lives they dreamed of, forced them to sell their bodies. The girls were beaten and threatened in order to force their submission.
The problem of human trafficking reaches across the country. In New York, a 61-year-old grandmother pleaded guilty earlier this year to bringing in women from Mexico for her prostitution business. Asian massage parlors near Kansas City, MO were fronts for prostitution until the ring was busted this summer. Young women were forced to provide sexual services from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. They lived in the massage parlors, where they were constantly monitored, and were very rarely allowed to leave. In all these cases, the women were coerced, often beaten and tortured, and their lives and families threatened in order to force their compliance.
Sex slavery is a widespread problem, and not only in corrupt nations where police turn blind eyes. The FBI opened 225 human trafficking investigations in the US in 2007, and in the single month of July in 2008, a nationwide sweep resulted in 640 arrests and the rescue of 47 children.
The girls and women, and even boys and young men, who are forced into this horrific form of slavery have a difficult time escaping. They may speak very little English and fear being deported. They may not be aware of their rights and have no idea people are willing to help them.
The problem is even worse in other countries. In many Asian countries, parents from poor villages are often tricked into sending their children away. They are told by the “compassionate” person who visits that their children will be given a better life. In reality, these professional traffickers sell the children as slaves, complete with 20-hour work days, beatings, and poor food. The children are not allowed to talk to their parents, and if they escape or if the parents track them down the police come to the aid of the slave owners.
Child prostitution is a tremendous problem across Southeast Asia. When the tsunami hit Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Indonesia at the end of 2004, one of the gravest concerns was the protection of children who had been left alone. The human traffickers were scooping them up for the forced labor and sex trades.
The shame of human trafficking lies not only with the traffickers themselves, but with those who use their services. The man who visits a prostitute at a truck stop sex ring in Texas is the one feeding the sex trade. The factory owner who not only uses child labor, but forces his slaves to work exhausting hours, is just as guilty as the man who tricks or kidnaps the children in the first place. And those Western businessmen who makes use of a Thai brothel where children work is just as guilty as the men who profit from the children’s “services.”
Please continue to do research on the horrific problem of human trafficking, and pray for those who are caught in its trap.
“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10
• Modern Face of Slavery – The Independent
• Sex Slavery: Living the American Nightmare – MSNBC
• Task Force Dismantles Human Trafficking Family – America’s Most Wanted
• List of Antislavery Organizations – HelpStopChildSlavery.org
• The Decline of the US – Koinonia House