In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave an executive order for the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that certain slaves be set free immediately. Nevertheless, complete freedom was not assured (see post Slavery By Another Name), and disparity persists today. Similarly, although trafficking appears illegal, it lives on by preying on discrimination and injustice.
“The research and statistics on human trafficking in America are ambiguous, especially in relation to race and ethnicity. We need to explicitly recognize the connections between trafficking, poverty, migration, gender, racism and racial discrimination to adequately battle and destroy human trafficking in the U.S.”This quote by Jamaal Bell in the 2010 article titled, Race and Human Trafficking in the U.S.: Unclear but Undeniable should be a reminder to advocates of human rights, and specifically of human trafficking, that the more we try to deny the relation of human trafficking, gender, poverty and race, the more we will continue to fight in vain for the rights of these victims.
Again from Bell: “Seventy-seven percent of victims in alleged human trafficking incidents reported in the U.S. were people of color, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics Report. An example of BJS's ambiguity is that 747 out of 1,442 reported incidents recorded no racial or ethnic origin.”
Could it be that this is not a high priority because the victims of human trafficking are not identified with the male gender, caucasian race and upper-class economic status?
Isaiah 43:8 says, “Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.”
When we open our eyes, we will see that human trafficking, both sexual exploitation and labor-related, is discriminatory in gender, race and class.
Ask yourself, how are you consciously or unconsciously contributing to human trafficking statistics? By avoiding conversations about how trafficking issues relate to gender, poverty and race, how do we perpetuate the problem?
Decades later, we are still enslaved. So, when will we really be set free?