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Human trafficking: NSU Conference will address alarming sex trade numbers

Posted by on May. 2, 2010 at 3:17 PM
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The young woman selling her body at the street corner could be your daughter, your sister, or your wife. Yet, by and large, society chooses to ignore her pain, her imprisonment, and her cries for help. She is part of an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 women and children who are brought into the United States each year by human traffickers and forced into prostitution

If this trend seems alarming to you, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Human trafficking, which has been around for centuries, rakes in billons of dollars for criminal enterprises each year.

The victims, some as young as 12, are kidnapped, beaten, raped, and forced to have sex with up to dozens of men each day. Their pimps brainwash them into emotional dependence. Pimps then teach their sex slaves to mistrust police, making their escape from this vicious cycle of violence extremely difficult.

Here are some cold, hard facts from the federal government, academia, and nonprofits:

Children comprise 50 percent of the human trafficking trade. Trafficking humans, a $10-billion dollar industry, is now the third most profitable criminal activity behind drug and arms sales.

The majority of human trafficking victims who enter the United States originate from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Florida, California, New York, and Texas are the top four destination states for human trafficking.

It's time for society to prioritize this crime and invest resources to reverse the trend. Resources must be spent on law enforcement and social services to help victims break the violence and regain their lives.

Recognizing the seriousness of this problem, President Barack Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.

Nova Southeastern University is following the president's lead by holding a conference on May 6 to address human trafficking. The conference will bring together FBI agents, White House officials, State Department officials, and healthcare providers to collaboratively seek solutions to fight the scourge of human trafficking.

Dubbed the International Child Health Forum, the conference will be broadcast live worldwide to authorities and organizations dedicated to stopping sex traders. The conference will teach healthcare providers who are on the frontlines to differentiate domestic abuse from trafficking victims. All told, there are more than half a dozen speakers scheduled to appear at the event.

For more information, visit:

If society pulls its resources and unites, we can win the war against human trafficking.

These helpless victims need to know they are not forsaken.

Deborah Mulligan, M.D., is an emergency room pediatrician and the director of Nova Southeastern University's Institute for Child Health Policy.

So do we send them back as well? Is this likewise not our problem because they are not citizens?

by on May. 2, 2010 at 3:17 PM
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