If there is one thing 2020 drove home is that we have a shared humanity. For the first time in a very long time, we found ourselves as human beings in the same boat together as we battled a worldwide pandemic. While there were indeed some bumps along the way, in the end, most of us were willing to do the hard work to fight the common enemy, the virus.
It is my hope, as is the hope of all people engaged in the battle against human trafficking, that in 2021 we will apply the same resolve we’ve used to fight Covid-19 to the fight against sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking, and it is a reality in every country in the world. It is a crime of using force, fraud, or coercion to induce another individual to sell sex. While sex trafficking is more common among females, males can also be victims. In the United States alone, it is a multi-billion dollar industry and takes many forms. Traffickers are adept at taking advantage of those who are most vulnerable, which is most often young people. Those who are estranged from their families are especially vulnerable targets. Many kids who have grown up in the social welfare system become victims of trafficking.
There is much work to be done to change the reality of sex-trafficking, but also to change the ways people think about sex for pay. Last year shined a bright light on the pornography industry and how it perpetuates sex trafficking as Pornhub was held accountable for providing videos of minors being sexually abused.
This month, the beginning of a new year, TikTok announced several enhanced privacy and safety settings for minors, making it more difficult for children to be groomed, sexually exploited, or abused on its platform. These are great strides in the fight against trafficking.
Imagine if each of us could take one small step towards understanding how trafficking is perpetuated and take a stand against it. We could change the narrative of this terrible reality for far too many of our fellow humans. We can do this if we do it together.