By legal definition, Sex Trafficking is “The illegal business of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, or providing a person and especially a minor for the purpose of sex” (Merriam-webster). It is the third largest international crime industry, and according to the U.S Sate Department, Roughly between 600,000 and 800,000 people are being trafficked across international borders every year. It is no surprise that out of those numbers, 80% are females and 50% are children. But even at a minimum, 800,000 is a small number in comparison to the World Wide victims of approximately 20.9 million victims as of 2012 and 1.5 million of those victims are in the U.S. The numbers has since risen as the world population grows. Sex Trafficking is still a major problem across the globe. Sex Trafficking knows no borders and has become a trade so prevalent and lucrative. In this post, I will write about one particular Sex Trafficking case (of many) that happened right in my backyard in Oregon.
Several Counties on the Oregon-Idaho border took part in a “Sting Operation” in December 2016, just a few short months ago. The undercover anti-sex trafficking operation led to 15 arrests. The investigators posted online ad’s on known sex trafficking websites, similar to what people would refer to the “back pages” in their local newspaper. The undercover officers posed as “prostitutes” and arranged payment for sexual acts. Those on the other end of the operation were arrested and charged with misdemeanor commercial sexual solicitation or a felony compelling prostitution. By doing this operation, it not only arrested 15 people that supported sex trafficking and prostitution but it also brought awareness to the county’s neighborhoods.
Some people decide to remain oblivious to these sorts of crimes which is just as much part of the problem as those that participate in sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is a horrific reality that must be brought awareness as well as “Human Trafficking” in general. Organs are being stolen, Kids are being abducted and sold or used for hard labor, Men and women are forced to do sexual acts or even a forced marriage. Human Trafficking needs to be stopped!
If you know or think that someone may be involved in trafficking or is being exploited, contact your local police, the Sexual Assault Resource Center hotline at 1-800-640-5311, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
Rebecca Blair- WR121
Professor Sean Davis