Human Trafficking: Modern Slavery

Slavery was abolished 150 years ago, right? While it is true that slavery is illegal almost everywhere on earth, the fact is there are more slaves today than there ever were. – Robert Alan Silverstein

At this moment there are over 27 million people in slavery worldwide because of human trafficking, so it is an issue we are all facing. In America there are a couple thousand people who are victims of labor and sex trafficking and at least a third of those victims are under the age of 18. Many people understand that human trafficking is a global issue, but fail to recognize that its influence is fairly close to home with over 20 cases having occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah over the past few years.

It seems that since this is such a large issue it would merit the attention of the major parties and would a part of their platform. The Democratic Party’s platform for 2012 only had one small paragraph on human trafficking that stated that all the Democratic Party would do is address the problem. However, this issue could prove to be a great weakness for the Democratic Party because the Republican Party is much more active in its position against trafficking and state legislatures are also much farther along in creating laws to stop human trafficking.

“Anything you can do, I can do better” is a phrase that comes to mind when thinking about the Democratic and Republican parties. However, in the case of human trafficking there is no debate or fight between the parties because the Republicans are much further ahead on this matter due to the fact that the Democrats have not taken a stance. While the Republican Party may not address the issue of human trafficking as thoroughly as idealists desire, they still presents a better case for abolishing human trafficking in America than the Democrats. The G.O.P. proposes that everyone, across the entire political spectrum, unite to end this new form of slavery and advocate the creation of an “Inter-Agency Task Force on Human Trafficking”. This agency would report to the president and would be designed for the sole purpose of ending human trafficking in America. They also suggest that the identities of known trafficking offenders be known and publicized throughout the world so that travelers and residents of other countries will be on the look out for these criminals. This would potentially and ideally speed up the process through which these offenders are brought to justice since a majority of the trafficking that goes on is outside U.S. borders. Although it is not an extremely strong position, at least the Republicans have one.

The states have a hard time enforcing human trafficking laws because much of it involves interstate travel. However, many states are doing all they can to fight the causes of trafficking and ‘stations’ where traffickers may stop and deliver people so that it happens less and less. They do this by creating laws against prostitution, changing the legal definitions of “abduction” and “sex offenses”, and providing care for victims of trafficking. There is no way that any long-term change can happen unless the federal government steps in and creates laws against human trafficking. The federal government has the ability to create laws that apply to all the states so that interstate travel does not become a problem in states’ efforts to end human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a huge issue that transcends any political borders that society erects and the Democrats need to realize this and help those fighting modern slavery.

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