Human Trafficking

Natalie Jones, Reporter

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Slavery. For many in the United States the word is a reminder of a dark time in American history.  The U.S. State Department estimated that for more than 100,000 people in America, and 900,000 people across the world slavery is an everyday reality. Human Trafficking has been called modern day slavery, and it is when humans are illegally bought, sold, or forced across the world’s borders.

The unsettling truth is that there are more people currently in slavery then during the 4 centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Human trafficking has many forms, and the worst off it exists in areas where extreme poverty resides, and there is a large population. Traffickers will pick up victims and transport them to a different country where the trafficked individuals are unfamiliar and not protected by the legal system, and they are away from their families. Often times the traffickers will threaten the victims families with death and violence if the victims will not comply.

Trafficking comes in different forms. Sometimes it is when individuals are exploited for sex, and sometimes individuals are forced into labor for their debts. Whatever the case may be human trafficking is an issue that hits home more than people may realize.

California is among the worst human trafficking states in America along side of New York and Texas. Fresno is nestled in between two of the three major human trafficking cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since traffickers often times move their victims around, Fresno has become a popular spot for traffickers to move their victims to.

Law enforcement officials have stated that human trafficking is on the rise in all areas in Fresno, and is a raising concern. Traffickers are crafty and prey on the vulnerabilities of children. With technology and social media, traffickers can recruit young children while they are sitting next to their parents in the living room.

Curt Chastain is the head of the Fresno Police Department vice unit and he has emphasized the importance of parents talking to their children about trafficking before sixth grade, since most kids are contacted around the age of 12.

Human Trafficking is an issue that is encroaching on the Central Valley; it can not be ignored. Learn the signs. Be wary of that stranger DMing you over social media. Most trafficked victims are not free to move as they please, work unusual hours, are paid little, and are fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid. Victims also have no control over their finances and identification documents, and have little possessions overall.

If you are a victim of trafficking or think someone around you is do not hesitate to call one of the numbers below. These groups work tirelessly to make sure victims of trafficking get the help they need.

 

To get help or help others:

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

Fresno Police Department’s anonymous vice tip line: 559-621-5900

To fight trafficking:

Central Valley Against Human Trafficking: 559-263-1379

Breaking the Chains: 888-858-2021

Marjaree Mason Center: 559-237-4706

Central Valley Justice Coalition: 559-227-8001

 

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Human Trafficking