by Kathy Morgan
Human Trafficking impacts between 4-6 million people annually worldwide, 71% being women and girls. Human Trafficking (HT) is the exploitation of a person for sex or labor through the use of force, fraud or coercion. It is a Human Rights crime as it deprives a person of his or her freedom and causes them irrevocable harm – both mentally and physically.
Many people believe that this is something that only happens in other places. However, California is ranked as one of the top four HT destinations in the United States with our central coast being identified as a natural transit corridor for trafficking. Trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion dollar industry annually and the second largest criminal enterprise in the world.
Traffickers consider it to be an easy way to make money as it is low risk with a renewal resource. Soroptimist International – a global volunteer organization which advocates for human rights and gender equality has been involved in projects and advocacy surrounding this issue since 1995. For HT to end there need to be efforts in Awareness and Prevention (Education to all),
Protection (Police resources and safe houses), Prosecution, and Policy changes.
Our local Soroptimist International clubs (Oxnard, Ventura and Camarillo) have sponsored STOP Human Trafficking awareness events for 13 years. Only with the public being educated and aware of this issue is there hope for ending this heinous crime. For more information go to www.stoptraffickingventuracounty.org.
If you need help or see potential abuse call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733.