By Beverly Chandran and Bahati Phoenix, Women Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is happening in our city, and as residents of Philadelphia and citizens of the world, we owe it to humanity to do everything in our power to ensure the human right of freedom is guaranteed to everyone.
Deception, coercion, recruitment, and abduction are just some of the tools of trade for traffickers.
Trafficking in America is a billion-dollar business in all 50 states, where women, children, and men are being exploited; their lives of no value other than the profits they earn.
Here in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, several modern-day slave holders have been convicted of sex trafficking. Lawsuits have been filed against several local hotels claiming they helped sex traffickers enslave young girls in what they call a rampant sex slave business.
Where sex trafficking can occur:
Moving around in your daily life, in the city, suburbs, rural areas
Transportation systems: Septa, Uber, and Lyft
Brothels (houses), motels, and major hotel chains
Bars, strip clubs, high-end baller parties
Online via social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Street prostitution and at truck stops
Major sporting events,conferences and concerts
Malls, churches, Bible class meetings, college campuses
Some of the characteristics of human traffickers and their victims and the tactics used are:
1. Human traffickers/pimps target children, teenagers and women to groom by offering their victims gifts, attention, and a better life. Promises include the stability of belonging to someone (a family or tribe) and extensive travel, as well as the perception of living a “Hollywood” lifestyle of which many victims yearn for.
2. Trafficked victims do travel a lot from state to state and sometimes out of the country, but are required to sexually service 10-20 men a day at Hugh Hefner (“high baller”) type parties that they have been billed out to. The so-called “good life” is a life of forced prostitution against a female’s will. The ramifications of this lifestyle can be severely damaging to their internal organs..
3. Traffickers are using technology to identify and recruit victims; apps, texting, the Internet, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, laptops, and iPhones to run their business.
4. Traffickers use social media to recruit girls through ads and dating websites.
5. Traffickers run ads on Craig’s List and other public and private websites.
6. Traffickers use the new iPhone with the wide-lens capability to take photos of women without their consent as a scouting method.
7. Traffickers are known to “lift” or “save” photos off social media to help identify girls/women they intend to abduct or recruit. Don’t get comfortable with these methods, because the traffickers are constantly changing their method of recruitment and scouting techniques.
8. Traffickers are known to kidnap and abduct their victims off the street by luring them to a house for some type of gathering. Once the victim is in the house, they are attacked, drugged, abused, and held hostage before they are transported to another location against their will. Also, traffickers abduct girls and women from off the street and have attempted to pick up women pretending to be Uber or Lyft drivers at major sporting events and concerts.
9. It takes about 48 hours for a runaway or throw away child to be trafficked off the street as they seek basic needs which include food, housing, and drugs.
10. Human traffickers are looking to recruit girls as young as 13-years-old and as old as 60- years of age. Many victims are murdered for organ harvesting at some point during the “Life” process.
Learn what to look for. If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s Hotline at 1- 888-383-7888 and dial 911. You can also:
• Text “Help” to 233733
• Text “BeFree” (233733) via live chat https://humantraffickinghotline.org/chat
• Email: [email protected]
Services are available toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.