Human Trafficking Awarness Month

Maya Mellberg

January 28, 2020

Human trafficking awarness month is January 2021, and it is an important time to educate ourselves on the current cases taking place today. Not only is it important to educate ourselves, but our community in order to notice the signs of trafficking and make a difference to help potential victims. Trafficking is not only happening in our country, but worldwide; it has become an international issue with The International Labor Organization estimates “there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States. The victims of this crime in the U.S. are men and women, adults and children, and foreign nationals and U.S. citizens.” This number is constantly growing as more people become victims to dangerous and inhumane trafficking rings.

   Human trafficking is a major issue worldwide, in honor of January 2021 being human trafficking awareness month, it is important to address serious issues regarding sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude, and organ harvesting. 

   Uyghur Muslims are victims of trafficking and genocide; in China, Uyghurs are being exploited and forced to work in Xinjiang’s “labor programs”. “It is believed about one million Uighur people have been detained over the past few years in what the Chinese state defines as “re-education” camps”(BBC). Not only are they being trafficked to work in factories across the country, but the Chinese government is also attempting to destroy their culture as part of cultural genocide. Women are forcibly having their ovaries removed and forced to take birth control in order to prevent the growth of the Uyghur population. The Chinese government either fines mothers with a number of children that exceed their legal limit, or force expecting mothers to have abortions. If they do not follow through with the abortion women are “being threatened with internment in the camps for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed birth quotas.”(BBC), making this a clear cultural genocide. 

  Thousands have already been killed by the Chinese government, and they are continuing their search for Uygurs throughout China. Huawei, a Chinese technology company, is now aiding the Chinese government with this genocide with the use of  a new patent mentioning the use of facial recognition technology to find those of Ugyhur descent. According to CNBC “patented technology can be used to identify the attributes of a pedestrian, for example. One attribute that can be recognized is “race.” Uighurs are referenced as one “race” that can be detected by Huawei’s system.” In essence this will allow the Chinese government to take anyone targeted by this new technology to the concentration camps. 

  Human trafficking is also a major issue in the United States. It is estimated that about 20,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year, with this number increasing annually. It is also estimated that in the U.S, 200,000 children are at risk of being trafficked into the sex industry. During the pandemic, there has also been an impact on human trafficking. Criminals are finding victims online through social media and luring potential victims by agreeing to drop drugs off at their homes. This has become much easier for criminals as school programs and interventions are essentially non-existent. Child predators are now finding ways to further exploit children knowing they are spending large amounts of time online and isolated. Although COVID-19 has made an impact on the transportation of victims, these predators are finding new tactics to get victims, leading to a new generation of human trafficking victims.

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