Posted in Global News

Human Trafficking: A Global Epidemic

HTIt could happen to you, your mother, your sister, and even your child. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry in the world. Women are kidnapped to be raped for a profit. Or, mothers anxiously await the arrival of their newborn baby and after delivery, are told that the child was a stillborn; meanwhile the infant is being transported for black market adoption.

Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped by Mitchell and Barzee who had been working for her parents in June 2002.

Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour, is traveling the nation this month to help fight against human trafficking and to speak of her experience. In 2002, Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her nine month ordeal, the 14-year-old remained chained and brutally raped.

Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee held Smart captive at a nearby camp site just three miles away from her home. After sightings of the teen dressed in disguise, she was soon rescued in her hometown. Mitchell is currently serving two life sentences and Barzee is said to be released from prison in 2018.

According to the United Nations on Drugs and Crime, 79 percent of human trafficking is sexual exploitation. The UN have gathered data from 155 countries, and on average, two out of every five of the countries had not convicted anyone related to the crimes. While news coverage is minimal, the epidemic has continued to grow.

Globally, 20 percent of all victims are children, whereas in Mekong, Africa holds a devastating record of 100 percent of its victims being children. It is not abnormal for the traffickers to be women. In fact, 30 percent of them are. It is a common misconception that once kidnapped, the victims are transported overseas. Reports indicate that most victims are kept close to home.

Executive Director of the the UNDOC, Antonio Costa says, “If we do not overcome this knowledge of the crisis we will be fighting the problem blind folded.”

And we are.

Insight Crime reports, “…human trafficking has increased by 1500 percent in Brazil.” Government investigations revealed that during the first six months of 2013, there were 64 sexual reports, 25 labor reports and one illegal adoption. Twenty percent of the reports were made by mothers of the victims. Brazil’s government has anti-human trafficking offices available for help, but unfortunately the numbers are a harsh depiction of the effectiveness.

Many Americans hear the topic assume it happens primarily overseas. However, finds that approximately 17,500 women and children, as young as 6 years old, smuggled into to the U.S. annually.

There are more slaves today than ever recorded in human history.

In 2000 congress enacted  the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA 2000). To attempt to address the situation all around.

Right now, babies and children, especially young boys, are kidnapped from their families in China. Women are kidnapped in Brazil and are sold for the equivalent of 90 U.S. dollars. In Africa, children are forced into the arms of pedophiles. And, thousands are brought into the U.S. for all of the above.

Many of the victims do not overcome the brutality. They die from abuse, torture, neglect and disease.

If you know someone who has been a victim of human trafficking, or want more information, call 888-373-7888 or visit


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