From left, panelist Susan Burkholder,
moderators Kathryn Keeton and
Jenni Blackstock, LWVSAA President
Madhu Sridhar, panelists Adrian
Owens, Rodney Klein and Peter Sakai.
An audience member
makes a point during the
human trafficking forum.
Guests mingle before the panel on
human trafficking begins.
How can you help stop human trafficking?
“We rely on the public interest and focus to get funds from the City Council to address this problem,” Judge Peter Sakai said. He stressed the importance of voting for representatives who will approve financing for police, public awareness programs, judges and organizations that help victims recover from their experience in the trade.
The public must be informed and aware that this tragedy goes on all around us: “If you see something, say something, Burkholder explained.
“We rely on the public for tips; if you see suspicious activity, call the human trafficking hotline (888-373-7888) or the police (SVU or Crimestoppers),” SAPD Detective Adrian Owens said. “Either way, we will investigate all calls.”
The discussion included topics related to the proliferation of social media and internet pornography. They also discussed that no community will be immune to the threat of human trafficking in the near future. It will cross all socio-economic boundaries, races and ethnicities.
Alarmingly, “the sex trafficking perpetrators that take advantage of these (often) very young victims are married, white, middle-aged males that are college educated,” Burkholder explained. There is often a daily quota for the victim to reach.
In those efforts, they often “deploy a ‘knocker’ who preys upon other victims to reach that quota, explained Chuck Paul (who was in the audience), an advocate and subject matter expert in areas of commercial exploitation of juveniles and advanced child abuse investigations.
Human traffickers use children in schools and other areas where children gather to recruit more victims and grow their numbers,” he said.
Further statistics from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) show that 83% of the missing minors in the U.S. go willingly with someone they know, or
Some shocking facts about trafficking
- There are an estimated 40 million victims worldwide, and 13 MILLION are CHILDREN.
- An estimated 313,000 people are victims of human trafficking in Texas.
- About 234,000 workers are victims of labor trafficking in Texas.
- Today, a slave costs about $90 on average worldwide.
- Human trafficking worldwide is estimated to generate a profit of anywhere from $9 billion to $31.6 billion. Human trafficking is estimated to surpass the drug trade in less than five years.
- Minor and youth sex trafficking costs Texas approximately $6.6 billion.
Source: Susan Burkholder of Ransomed Life; Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, UT-Austin
think they know. Less than ½ of 1% of missing minors in the U.S. are "abducted" by a stranger. "Snatching" a minor is NOT a common scenario in human trafficking. Therefore, Stranger Danger is not enough to teach our youth.
There are many ways one can help these victims and further an end to human trafficking. “We need donations and volunteers who have it in their heart to help these victims,” Burkholder explained. Sakai agreed, commenting that public awareness and vigilance is also needed to combat the problem, “There is no one answer to this prob-lem, we must all work together to fix this.”
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