A national sweep was done by the FBI and 55 law enforcement agencies last week, rescuing 84 children from a human trafficking ring that stretched across several states, according to NBC News.
The rescue took place over four days, arresting 120 traffickers involved in the ring. With so many people revealed to be involved in the U.S., and within such a short amount of time, it raises questions of how much this crime slips under the authorities’ noses.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of people for forced labor or commercial sex, many of the victims being minors. They are commonly abused by their traffickers.
The International Labor Organization estimated forced labor and human trafficking to be $150 billion industry worldwide. This marks human trafficking as the second-highest earning criminal industry today.
Most people envision slavery as an issue of the past, but these numbers prove otherwise. The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 31,000 cases within the past eight years and receive about 100 calls per day. It’s shocking to imagine slavery being a modern issue not only in the world, but on American soil.
To put things in even closer perspective, 135 human trafficking investigations were reported in Ohio last year, according to the Vindicator.
It is unthinkable what victims to this crime must suffer from. Everyone deserves to be free from such atrocities, and it is up to communities around the U.S. to recognize when situations occur.
The U.S. Department of State presented a list of human trafficking indicators for people to look out for. Some of these indicators include living with an employer, poor living conditions, scripted or rehearsed answers to questions, an employer holding identity documents, signs of physical abuse and underage prostitution.
If you know or believe someone is a victim to human trafficking, it is your responsibility to relay this information to the authorities. Contact either 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.