In Our Own Backyard
Do you think that human trafficking is something that happens somewhere else, not around here? Not in America? Not in your state? Think twice. If you have the tendency to imagine some far off underdeveloped country when you think about modern slavery I want to challenge you to peruse the University of Michigan School of Law’s Human Trafficking Database. They call it the Human Trafficking Law Project and it’s the first publicly accessible database of human trafficking cases … in the U.S.A. Their goal is to strengthen anti-trafficking laws in the US and to help government officials, lawyers and so on to help human trafficking victims, but what’s great is, anyone can use it.
Go ahead and visit the HTLP and enter your state name in the Search box. See what gets pulled up. I entered “Michigan” and then was able to read about specific cases that have been tried where strip clubs in Detroit brought in girls from overseas, promising them a bright future in America but instead forced them to strip and prostitute themselves. I read of forced labor on Michigan farms and a woman who was brought to America for schooling but was forced to work as a domestic servant 16 hours a day. She was held there with physical violence and false threats that she’d be arrested if she left because she didn’t have the proper papers. From 1996-2000 she was physically and sexually abused until a neighbor (someone just like you or me) realized something was up and called the police. All this and more happened in MY state.
Although the database was intended to be used by those in the field of law, I appreciate that it’s available to anyone to search and learn. It opened my eyes to what’s happening around me. What will you discover?