During the past week, @villagevoice (Village Voice) and @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) have begun a twitter war on a topic near to my heart: Human Trafficking. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have recently started a non-profit organization raising awareness for human trafficking. From my research, I gained a large insight insisting that raising awareness for this large problem is crucial. In our awareness of what human trafficking is, citizens are more likely aware, and more likely to report. I am grateful that 'stars' like Ashton and Demi are stepping up to fight this battle. Through their short time in doing this, awareness has been raised in this growing problem.
Let me clarify something which has been misinterpreted. Through my research, I found that there is an estimated amount between 100,000 and 300,000 victims trafficked within the US every year. Somewhere between the lines, news stations, churches, organizations, etc. have made this an actual amount. If we actually knew how many victims were trafficked within the US borders every year, we wouldn't have a problem with trafficking - because we would have all of these victims located. While remembering that this is an estimate, let's remember that those who created this estimate did not just think of the first number which came to their head.
Ashton & Village Voice have been going out in a twitter war (check it out) about human trafficking. The war actually started because of this article regarding numbers of victims of trafficking, you can view that here. Village Voice states in their article that 827 arrests have happened because of trafficking. Only 827 may have been arrested for sex trafficking/trafficking in persons [which I personally believe is an extremely low number after looking at several different news stories about individuals who have been trafficked]- but girls are being treated as prostitutes & arrested rather than their traffickers and Johns being arrested and trialed. Behind almost every prostitute is a pimp who is forcing her drugs and taking the money she earns from selling her body. Not only are there prostitutes who are being treated as sex slaves from a pimp, but there are women, men, and children who are forced into labor on fields, massage parlors, nail salons, factories, landscaping, pornography, and personal labor.
Let's step back, though. Regardless of the money that is made, the numbers, ages, prostitutes, johns, or traffickers... my main problem with The Village Voice is that they have not denied their classifieds section selling young women. A 15 year old girl is suing the Village Voice because she was prostituted through their newspaper. Why would a 15-year old girl put herself in the newspaper as an escort to turn around and blame the Village Voice for it?
The Village Voice refuses to back down and fight for the victims they do know about, some of which appear in their paper. Let's face it: no young girl wakes up and wants to be a prostitute. Through a series of unfortunate situations (poverty, kidnapping, run-away, and corruption), she is easily sold into slavery... potentially from the home she lives in. Secondly, any man (who IS a john...) buying from an escort service (who IS a trafficker), is engaging in Human Trafficking - and engaging in trafficking of a minor.
Maggie Neilson stated in the Village Voice article that regardless of the numbers of human trafficking, the problem needs to be addressed.
If I had all the time in the world, I could continue research regarding this article in the Village Voice... and I may do so at some point, but not today.
In summary, I support Ashton Kutcher and his fight to abolish modern-day slavery. Speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves in the first step in which we will end this problem - regardless of numbers. Ashton is taking action against this newspaper which is profiting from the exploitation of children.
Read for yourself the actual statistics of Human Trafficking in the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.