3 Things You Didn't Know About Modern Day Slavery

One Sunday, the pastor of the church I attend preached a message on human trafficking. Honestly, I thought that even though I often heard the facts, I still didn't know much about the topic. This prompted me to research more about human trafficking around Regent, since I was told Hampton Roads is a major connection point for human trafficking on the east coast.

I decided to get some more information from Bethannie Workman, the president of the Regent chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM). After an interview, I received some insight about modern-day slavery.

1. It happens right under our noses.

Bethannie says, "we don't even realize it's in our own backyard." Isn't it disturbing to think that people who may be serving your food, washing your car or cleaning your workplace may be victims of human trafficking? As mentioned earlier, Hampton Roads is a major port for human trafficking on the east coast. Virginia ranked 15th for most reported cases of human trafficking within the United States with 148 reported cases.

2. Kidnapping isn't always the method of choice.

"People tend to think that enslavement happens like the movie Taken. People aren't always getting kidnapped in the night, there is usually a grooming process," Bethannie says. Enslavement does not always mean kidnapping although it is just as illegal. On the IJM site, while reading some of the stories, I was shocked to find out just how trapped modern-day slaves are. One story, of a girl who used the pseudonym Elsa, told that her father died and her mother left when she was only 12 years old. She sought work to support her and her younger brother. She was tricked into working for a bar owner who prostituted and abused her every day.

The unfortunate thing with slavery like this is that the enslaver can threaten the life of not only the one enslaved, but the slave's family. It's not always as simple as "running away," or "getting help from the police." Most countries don't have laws to protect people from enslavement: That's what makes it so difficult to escape.

 3. There are huge ties between human trafficking and pornography.

"This may be a touchy subject, but there are major ties between the industries of human trafficking and pornography." Bethannie reveals. According to the website of the Human Trafficking Hotline, sex trafficking is the most common type of human trafficking with 3,186 reported cases in 2017.

Cybersex trafficking is a major income for the human trafficking industry. It involves live streaming sexual abuse of children as young as 4 years old. Pedophiles and predators all over the world pay to view. It's sickening. Porn stars are not always in the porn industry by choice. Pornography commodifies human beings to be sold to other people who are willing to buy. The income from the ever-growing porn industry allows the purchase of more humans. It allows more people to be trapped in an industry that is cruel and abusive. It desensitizes people from the value of other human beings- other people.

 So what can you do about it?

There is a way even college students can get involved with getting justice for people who have been victimized by human trafficking.

 There is currently a Fear 2 Freedom supply drive happening until February 28th, 2018. When men, women and children are sexually assaulted, all their clothes and belongings are stripped away for evidence once admitted to a hospital. Drop off gender-neutral and travel sized toiletries, crayons, coloring books, pens and journals in the drive boxes in Foundation, Constitution or Robertson Hall.

The Regent IJM chapter meets every other Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p. m.

Their next meeting is February 26th at 6:30 in Robertson Hall room 103.

 Rally For Freedom is March 2 in the morning hours (time is yet to be determined). There, students will be calling Virginia's congress members to make known their concerns about human trafficking in Hampton Roads.   

 There is a tentative open mic night coming in either March or April.

 Stay tuned by liking and following the Regent IJM chapter page here https://www.facebook.com/regentuniversityijm/

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