Have you ever wondered where your belongings come from? Who made them? Modern slavery is an issue that is rarely talked about or brought up in our area, despite the fact that it occurs under our noses.
Human trafficking is when a person is abducted through kidnapping or coercion and used for the financial or personal gain of others. Forced labor and sexual slavery are the two most common subsets of human trafficking. There are at least 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world by some estimates.
It’s important to take a look at the international slave trade and see what we can do in our own communities to prevent future human trafficking rings from popping up and to fight against current rings. Many businesses in western Massachusetts have banded together to make a difference in this area. The Western Massachusetts Businesses Against Human Trafficking include businesses like hotels, transportation services and other businesses that may be unknowingly helping the human trafficking circle.
So far, the group has hung large posters around railroad and bus stops that have hotline numbers for victims of trafficking. Staff at hotels are working with local police precincts to identify the signs of human trafficking. There are a few bills attempting to combat human trafficking in the works, or being sent to the House. One bill, in particular, was signed by President Trump on Jan. 8, which bans anyone who used a commercial vehicle in a human trafficking ring from operating a car. On a smaller scale, politicians are trying to get legislation passed around illicit massage parlors, due to the high rate of human trafficking rings operating within them. Seek out these bills, support them, and call your local politicians.