By Domingo Fortuna

ISIS has taken more than five thousand women and children and sold them as sex slaves. Some of these children are 9, 8, even 7 years old. According to Farida, a 19-year-old Yazidi girl who was sold into sex trafficking, ISIS fighters “preferred the young ones. They would say the older ones know a few things, the young ones know nothing”,(NBC, 2015) To these men, girls are considered property and object of pleasure, instead of human beings. Traffickers price girls base on their age and appearance. For example, girls aged 7-20 are priced at a higher amount because of their innocence. Yazidis have been dehumanized, yet the world has been silent. Where are the law enforcement officers of this world who are talking about peace and security?

Human trafficking has become a multi-million business. In fact, the United Nations estimates that human trafficking makes approximately 32 billion US dollars a year. World Health Organization reports suggests that the global scale of human trafficking can be attributed to the way nations approach human trafficking and what they do to provide a solution. According to Vice News, a group of Yazidi activists from the US, Europe, and Iraq have asked the UN, US, and multiple leaders for military assistance, yet no action has taken place. As a result, no effort is made to investigate, prosecute, or convict perpetrators of sex trafficking.

Human trafficking seems to be a problem, far from home, but it is happening right outside of our doors. For instance, New York has “6000 Chinese restaurants located” throughout the state (Macaulay, 1). As the number of Chinese restaurants grows, the competition increases. Restaurants owners are forced to commit “underhanded and even illegal activities”(Macaulay, 2), because of the pressure to maintain their customers. By lowering the food cost, owners have to deduct money from their worker’s salary to sustain the restaurant. In one case, Mexican immigrants were paid a salary of $3.50 an hour to work at a Chinese buffet-style restaurant under harsh living conditions (Chicago Tribune, 1). To furthermore, the Mexican workers worked 84 hours a week without substantial breaks, (Chicago Tribune, 2).  Immigrants are exposed to exploitative labor conditions that are characteristic of trafficking cases, such as withholding of documents, deportation, nonpayment for services, physical abuse, or extremely poor living conditions. 

The United Nations estimates that victims from over 130 different nationalities are trafficked in almost 120 countries. We have to stop the exploitation of human beings and promulgate the enforcement of justice. It is our duty to stand for our belief and preserve the freedom granted to us.  As citizens, we have to spread awareness about human trafficking, in order to get rid of thousands of years of slavery. Even though presidential candidates haven’t addressed this issues, we have to ask them this kind of questions to elect an official capable of creating change and hope for those, who are not free.