The following article was written by Natasha T Baker and posted on her blog this past October. It tells an ugly truth about human sex trafficking; modern-day slavery that exists all over the world. Already a horrific crime of brutality against children, teens and even young adults of all ages and genders, it's made even uglier by the involvement of a US funded private military contractor. As advocates of the organization 'Truckers Against Human Trafficking", we have re-printed this article in its entirety. We encourage you to take action in any way you can to help stop this epidemic.
Truckers Against Trafficking
Human sex trafficking is a local crime. Listen to Shari's story for proof.
The other day I was listening to NPR and heard a story about an organization called Truckers Against Human Trafficking. My ears perked up because this is an issue that I find fundamental to human rights work; human trafficking is modern-day slavery and if that still exists – and here in the US, too – then we are not doing our duty as human beings.
How to say it? It’s unfortunately very simple: American teens, mostly girls but boys, too, are being kidnapped and pimped in the US. Why truckers are involved here is that the teens are often driven into truck stops, wearing skimpy clothes and are forced to go truck to truck offering sex in exchange for money – which is then handed over to their pimp, or more precisely, slave driver. Truck stops are just one popular spot for this kind of activity; bars, strip clubs, casinos and the street itself are prime spots for child prostitution
We’ve got a crisis on our hands; there are enough people in the US who are ok with the concept of child prostitution (and pay for it) that there are many people out there who make it their living to destroy our youth; these people brainwash them, making them wholly dependent on them for survival. They are beaten, raped, manipulated – add whatever adjective you want. It’s happening. And the issue deserves more attention.
This child sex slavery isn’t just happening in the US. US tax dollars are funding it abroad, too:
Truckers Against Trafficking reminds me of a horribly frightening (yet true) film I watched called The Whistleblower that still haunts my mind to this day. Briefly, The Whistleblower is the story of Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac who takes a job as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia (late 1990′s) and ends up blowing the whistle on a huge child sex trafficking scandal that the UN has been covering up.
Essentially Americans and others who were brought into Bosnia to build and maintain peace (soldiers, UN peacekeepers, private contractors hired by the US government and the UN, etc.) are funding huge prostitution rings whereby minors are kidnapped from their homes and then used as toys for men – they are raped, maimed, shackled, beaten – you name it, it happened. Please don’t watch this film at night, or if you do, please have company. This film is very graphic in the abuse of these girls and includes a very detailed scene of a sexual assault on a very young girl.
But it tells the truth. And it’s ugly. The US funded DynCorp, a private military contractor, to outsource its peacekeeping work in Bosnia and instead they completely abused the population they were there to protect. And the “whistleblower” Kathryn Bolkovac was not taken seriously. Why? Because there were too many people (too many men we must say it) who stood to lose a lot of power if they were outed. Many of the key perpetrators were simply sent home; no punishment, no trial, no jail time, no fines, no restitution.
Part of the consequence of not fessing up to how sick this situation was, is that history is repeated. THE SAME US-FUNDED PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTOR, DYNCORP THAT SOLD CHILDREN INTO SEX SLAVERY IN BOSNIA ARE DOING IT AGAIN NOW IN AFGHANISTAN.
You read that right – they’re at it again: US government contractor DynCorp is currently using US tax dollars to fund sex with underage boys – yes boys – in Afghanistan.
So what can we do about it?
As American citizens, we have the right to tell our representatives to end child sex trafficking in the US AND defund companies like DynCorp who violate American values. This is just plain sick; and Congress funds them. And no one gets punished. Well, the beauty of living in a democracy is we have the power – through our vote, through our voice, through the media (like blogs), through our purchases, to send a message that this will NOT be tolerated.
My federal representatives are Congressman Mike Honda and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein: Let me say to them here that the US should permanently defund DynCorp. Sure it’s a messy political move. But you’ve got to be kidding that profits are more important than ending child sex trafficking – paid for by US taxpayers like me (without our consent)!
Furthermore, if anyone in your family or anyone you know is involved in the trucking industry, talk to them. Find out what they’re doing to prevent this. Get them to join the Truckers Against Human Trafficking network. Get their truckers trained in how to spot and report human trafficking. Download the app. Call the hotline. Get the posters hung in the breakroom. Donate to Truckers Against Human Trafficking.
Take action today. Call your representative. Email them. Write to them. Post a blog post. Share this with friends. Post a link to Facebook or Twitter. Get people talking about it. Everyone is talking about how to fix the economy right now; well how about starting by saving US taxpayers billions of dollars that are currently going to funding modern slavery?
The average age for a girl to enter the US sex-for-sale industry is 12. Remember that this happens because there are people among us who pay for this, who enjoy it, who get away with it. We have to change this. There is change that needs to happen at the individual, governmental and global level.
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.373.7888