Even though the United States is a strong and aggressive proponent of anti child trafficking campaigns, it is still not immune from the increasing number of victims trafficked and abused annually. In fact, this country is a major destination for trafficked children and minors.
It is true that American children are less likely to be victims of trafficking compared to the children in Africa and Asia. But this alone doesn’t tell us that America is not guilty of tolerating the crime. Based on the most recent estimate, there are almost 20,000 people trafficked every year in the United States. Majority of these people are women and children. However, a great portion of this number also involves women and children who are not American. Some come as far away as Asia and Africa but majority are from the neighboring Latin countries.
What are these trafficking victims doing in this country? Simple – they are used by criminals for furtherance of their own interests such as prostitution and forced labor. Even though it is clear enough that the problem is prevalent even in this very developed country, it seems like there hasn’t been any serious attention and measures to address the problem. Or perhaps child traffickers are simply way ahead of law enforcement and the government.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 is a prominent example of a law that was made by the government to combat trafficking. However, its provisions are primarily aimed at providing benefits, services, and healing for victims. There is really no clear-cut solution as to ending the problem by pulling out the roots of it.
Nonetheless, the State Department has been closely watching child trafficking since the early 90s. During the first few years of monitoring, the focus was mainly on women and children who are trafficked for prostitution or any other related sexual crimes. However, the trade itself has significantly evolved through the years. Today, inter-agency and cross-border efforts have been strictly monitoring reports of child trafficking for a wide variety of purposes which includes forced labor in sweatshops and factories, domestic service, and commercial sex and prostitution.
Nowadays, trafficking in general knows no boundaries. Of all the victims, children are the most devastated. Most of the victims are not able to live the kind of lives they deserve. Although healing is very possible, others aren’t simply meant to survive the ordeal. Not only does trafficking put child victims away from their homes, they are also deprived of their right to choose what they want for their future. Additionally, it’s kind of sad that child trafficking obviously exists in America. It is frustrating to know that for many victims who are trafficked to this country, America is not the land of promise anymore.