7 Facts You NEED To Know About Human Trafficking In The U.S.

7 Facts You NEED To Know About Human Trafficking In The U.S.

Nobody should be enslaved in the Land of the Free.
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"Human trafficking" is something that many people associate solely with exotic places, where girls are forcefully kidnapped and forced into prostitution. And while this is the case occasionally, it is actually the minority.

In the United States every day, thousands of individuals are trafficked, and the rings that facilitate this transportation of human slaves make millions from within U.S. borders. Where can you see human trafficking within the good ole U.S. of A? Here are 7 facts about domestic trafficking, for both labor and for sexual exploitation.

1. There are anywhere from 600,000 to 800,000 individuals trafficked in the United States every year.

Primarily, these individuals are women and children, though there are a high number of workers in all genders and ages who are forced into situations in which they are unable to escape from. This includes but isn't limited to agricultural work, "massage parlors," prostitution, janitorial services, construction, and the restaurant business.

2. Most labor trafficking in the USA occurs due to lack of regulation on foreign labor recruitment.

Because there is a lack of regulation and transparency about foreign workers to American markets and vice versa, it is very easy for foreign nationals on work visas to be exploited by labor trafficking within supply chains. There was an attempt to rectify this in the Fraudulent Overseas Recruitment and Trafficking Elimination Act, which addressed a policy gap that allowed such oversight to occur, however, it did not pass.

3. The United States of America is a "Tier 1" rated country in regards to human trafficking.

Good job, Uncle Sam! Tier one is the highest level of approval a country can receive for efforts against human trafficking, meaning that laws not only are written with anti-human trafficking measures in mind, but they are regularly enforced with consistency and purpose. There is also a continuous forward motion to facilitate assimilation for individuals of trafficking back into society.

4. Victims of human trafficking within the United States require more than just immediate intervention.

While victims in the United States are assisted in leaving their crisis situations, unless they receive more than just removal, they are still at risk to be re-introduced into trafficking. Some of the short and long-term services that are suggested for trafficking victims to readapt to society include shelter, medical care, counseling, language skills, education, job training, and career coaching. Providing these services drastically reduces the risk of re-trafficking, though it does come at a larger price tag. The average price of rehabilitating an American trafficking victim is approximately $30,000, compared to the world average of $400 per individual.

5. Some of the most vulnerable individuals for sex trafficking in the United States are runaways, especially LGBTQIA+ youth.

1 in 6 runaways will be involved in sex trafficking in the United States, a figure projected by the Polaris Project.

6. There's a lot of money in sex trafficking.

When Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, San Diego and Washington D.C. were studied to determine the microeconomies of sex trafficking locally, the results for the monetary gathering was shocking. There is approximately 39.9 million to 270 million per city garnered from sex trafficking alone.

7. You can fight human trafficking in the United States.

You can fight this! Below is a link to the State Department page with 20 suggestions for how you can fight modern-day slavery in the United States.

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/

Below is the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline provided by the Polaris Project. If you or anyone you know is a victim of trafficking, this toll-free, 24-hour line is available to provide assistance.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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Stop Saying 'Love Is Love' And Then Shame Me For Dating A Republican

"How can you date a Republican?!" Quite easily, actually.

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"And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." Other theater geeks like me probably also remember this quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech in 2016. Now, thanks to Lin-Manuel and his talent for catchy phrases, every time someone says "love is love," all I can think of is Lin-Manuel's emphatic cry for equality.

This cry is one that I support wholeheartedly. I think that you should be allowed to love whomever you choose and that you should do so without fear of hatred or scrutiny. If you are a guy who loves guys, great. If you are a girl who loves girls, great. If you are a girl who loves guys and girls, great. You are born a certain way with certain sexual preferences, and there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you believe that people should be free to love anyone they choose, then, honey, you better start looking past gender.

Let me tell you a little story.

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my closest friends about my boyfriend of almost 11 months. Somehow (and I'm shocked that this hadn't come up before), my boyfriend's political preferences became the topic of conversation.

The conversation went something like this:

"Wait, so is Tom a Democrat or Republican?"

"He's a Republican."

"WHAT?! Are you serious?"

"Yep."

"How can you date a Republican?"

After that, I basically went on a five-minute rant about how at the end of the day, his political preferences only make up a small fraction of who he is as a person and that I am not so shallow that I would be deterred by something this trivial.

At our cores, Tom and I value the exact same things: compassion, knowledge, kindness, dedication, honesty, respect, and above all else, love. Tom loves me unconditionally and I give him that same love in return; honestly, what else could I ask for?

Tom and I do get in some political arguments from time to time, but we also agree on those issues that are most important to me: female reproductive rights, marriage equality, and support for survivors of sexual assault. All of those things are non-negotiables for me, and Tom understands that and possesses his own list of non-negotiables.

Before you ask, yep, he voted for Trump. Did that take me back at first? Yes. Did I struggle to understand what would compel a person to vote for him? Absolutely. Did that thought kind of terrify me at first? Hell yes.

But you know what? After I just sat and listened to Tom's reasoning as to why he voted for him and watched him delve deep into Trump's policies, I could understand why some would vote for him. And to tell the truth, once I fell in love with Tom, none of that mattered anymore. And what is sad is that people so often fall so deep into their own echo chambers nowadays, that they wouldn't even give someone with different beliefs their ear. Well, I'm damn glad I did because Tom is the most amazing person I've ever met and I fall more in love with him every day.

So to tie this all together with a pretty little bow, if you're going to go around and preach that love is love and that everyone should be free to love whom they choose, then that shouldn't change for me. Maybe you're a Democrat that would never date a Republican or maybe you're a Republican who would never date a Democrat; that's your choice. But we don't get to choose who we fall in love with (much to the dismay of my liberal family and friends). Just keep an open mind and who knows? Maybe you could find some absolutely epic happiness.

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It's Important To Take A Moment To Breathe, Especially During The Most Hectic Part Of The Semester

Sometimes, when I take the time to just pause and notice how I'm feeling, I often realize I'm more tired than I thought I was.

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Sometimes, when I take the time to just breathe, pause, and notice how I'm feeling, I often realize I'm more tired than I thought I was. I started to wonder: Why is that? And there could be a variety of reasons like work, extracurriculars, and midterms to name a few, but those are some of the out-in-the-open, obvious things to consider.

It could also be something that's not so obvious, something that is almost so innate that you hardly ever notice it. For me, that was the case this time. I realized that I had my guard up a lot more than I thought I did. By that, I mean that I spent so much more time than is necessary thinking about the way people perceived me.

How do I appear to the world?
Am I standing out too much?
Are people staring at me?

On the surface, I seemed to be basing my happiness on what others thought. What's more important, though, is that I was using a lot of cognitive energy on something I neither had control over nor could determine with accuracy. People don't have thought bubbles floating above their heads!

And in this constant worrying, it's only natural to find one's self oddly drained and tired. All the energy that could have otherwise been used to make a balanced state of mind more effortless has gone into stressing over public opinion.

Instead, use that precious energy to identify what your opinion of yourself is and how it needs to be changed to benefit you, not hurt you.

Let that guard down (the one that makes you stiff and tensed) and feel free with your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, habits and tastes.

When we say "be yourself," we might as well be saying "let your guard down," because the expectation is that you be authentic to who you are. And if you're worried about being accepted for who you really are, honestly speaking don't worry about it.

Accepting yourself as you are attracts the very same into your life.

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