Your Worst Nightmare


Caroline Carter, Staff Writer

What’s your worst fear? Right off the bat, your answer was likely something along the lines of spiders, snakes, heights, etc., but as you think deeper about the question, an unfortunate and gut-wrenching answer crosses your mind: human trafficking. Most couldn’t imagine the horrors victims of trafficking face every day. It is a massive issue all over the world, but no one ever seems to acknowledge it. When you take off the rose-colored glasses and look at the world, you come to realize how disgusting people can be and how low they are willing to stoop for money.

Human trafficking is the forceful transportation and harboring of someone into situations of exploitation against his/her will, most often for large sums of money. Globally, the modern slavery market makes about $150 billion per year, $99 billion coming from sex trafficking. Approximately 20 million to 40 million people are victims of trafficking, about 71% women and young girls and roughly 29% men and young boys. Data suggests that only 0.04% of human trafficking cases have been identified, meaning the vast majority of these cases go undetected. The United Nations has referred to these crimes as “the hidden figure of crime.” It’s terrifying to think about how successful this industry is and how high of a demand there is for something so revolting.

In America alone, 1 out of every 6 women have fallen victim to attempted or completed rape, whereas 1 out of every 33 men are victims of attempted or completed rape. These statistics fluctuate depending on geographic location, race and ethnicity, working class, and sometimes religion; however, none of these factors will ever condemn the victim. In the U.S., the top 3 cities with the most human trafficking cases include Washington D.C., Atlanta, Georgia, and Orlando, Florida. Most of the time, large cities with easy access to means of transportation are the biggest hub for criminal activities such as human trafficking. 

Because women are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than men, possible situations and necessary precautions are always on their minds. The most common precautions women take include, but are not limited to, never leaving a drink unattended, holding her car keys between her fingers, cutting her hair shorter so it’s harder to grab, carrying pepper spray and/or a taser, and remaining alert in any public place. It’s disheartening to know that despite all of the necessary precautions, the statistics don’t change. Despite what some small-minded people believe, rape has nothing to do with the victim and everything to do with the rapist; the survivor never “asked for it.” 

Everyone is vulnerable to abductions; however, there are factors that cause greater risk for some more than others. In the sex trafficking industry, women from 14 to 25 are the targets highest in demand. Factors that put someone at a higher risk of being abducted include: moving to an unfamiliar area, abusing any substance, having mental health concerns, or running away from home. Traffickers will often use their victims’ vulnerabilities as leverage for control over them.

Much like their victims, traffickers come from a myriad of backgrounds. Some come from the same working class and living conditions as their victims; others use their wealth, power, and privilege to their advantage. Traffickers could be anyone: family members of the victim, business owners, gang members, romantic partners, government representatives, or corporation executives. They exploit their victims through many psychologically damaging tactics. They physically, emotionally, and economically abuse their captives, make promises targeted at the needs of the victim, and isolate their targets from friends and family members in order to scare the victim into submission. Captives often feel like they can’t leave because of shame, trauma, threats placed on them or their family members, and emotional dependency, and they become trapped.

Human trafficking is a heinous, inexcusable crime that needs to be put to an end. Millions have fallen victim to this growing industry, and the majority of these cases remain unsolved. While the government is working to bring these crimes to justice, it simply isn’t enough. If you see something that seems off, report it; your instincts are most likely right. There are also a variety of hotlines that are available 24/7, and they can make it easier to get help. Trying to put an end to trafficking may seem impossible now, but if we don’t do anything to help, this repulsive industry will continue to climb at an alarming rate.


Works Cited
“11 Facts About Human Trafficking.” DoSomething Accessed 13 November 2019.
“Statistics.” RapeCrisis, Accessed 14 November 2019.
“Top Cities in America With the Most Cases of Human Trafficking.” GeoffreyGNathanLaw
Accessed 14 November 2019.
“What is Human Trafficking?” NationalHumanTraffickingHotline, Published 6 May 2019, Accessed 13 November 2019.