Two years ago, I tuned into an episode of "Kresta in the Afternoon"on Avemaria Radio. Al Kresta is an excellent interviewer who discusses topics from religion to politics and current events. On this particular program, Al interviewed a courageous woman named Theresa Flores, who is a survivor of human trafficking. When we think of human trafficking, we often assume that the term refers to people in far-off lands, poor women from third-world countries. However, Theresa was from an upper middle-class family in Michigan. She wasn’t taken to another country. In fact, she went to school, lived with her family and, to many, seemed like a normal teen-ager, doing things that normal teens did. One day, a boy who she had a crush on took her to his house, drugged her and then raped her. Pictures of her were taken and she was told that the only way to get the pictures back was to become a sex slave, with the threat of having the pictures sent to her family if she refused, along with threats that her family would be harmed if she disobeyed. For two years, she went to school during the day. At night, she would be ordered to meet someone from this organization who would drive her to someone who would then rape her, forcing her to supposedly continue paying off a debt which, she hoped, would eventually lead to them freeing her. She was not just a girl being forced into prostitution. She was a victim of what is known as human trafficking, a form of modern slavery which exists even in our own country.
After she and her family moved, she was free from these monsters and, eventually, learned to heal from her ordeal.
Here are just a few statistics from her Web site, Traffickfree.com
As many as 2.8 million children run away each year in the U.S. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.
–The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation.
–U.S. Department of Justice
If you would like additional statistics and to learn more about human trafficking, the Resources page from traffickfree.com will provide you with additional information.