DETROIT – Nov.17, 2013 – Home for us is Michigan. The interest in this subject is overwhelming. Because so many have read the articles here, we decided to take a harder look at where Michigan stands regarding this hidden cancer on our society. Lawmakers in Michigan estimate that every month up to 150 girls under the age of 18 are sold into the world of sex trafficking. That’s a staggering 1,800 girls per year in just the State of Michigan alone.
This past summer, in a four day sweep, across the country around 150 people were arrested, 59 of them in the Detroit Metro area. Shocking yes. Surprising, not so much. We have to remember that Detroit is an entrance and exit to and from Canada. For Michigan, the Detroit Metro area is considered the hotbed for human trafficking. Because this subject has been kicked under the carpet for so long, law enforcement is just now trying to catch up with new training on what signs to look for. Help is coming from the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.
What is the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force? The Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force is made up of over 90 member agencies committed to a collaborative effort to identify and rescue victims, prosecute offenders, restore victims, and educate those in Michigan of human trafficking, in both sexual and labor exploitation. Their mission is ‘To facilitate a collaborative effort to prevent trafficking of persons within the State of Michigan, to pursue prosecution of perpetrators, and to protect and rehabilitate trafficking victims.’ The ‘Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force’ spends most of it’s time outside of the big cities and in the suburbs because that’s where traffickers are getting their victims from.
What is Human Trafficking really about? Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery, that occurs on an international, national, and local scale. As defined by the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force website, it is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. This occurs in situations of forced labor such as domestic servitude, factory or agricultural work; or sex trafficking, meaning the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”
The video below is shared from WZZM that was posted on May 14th, 2013
World wide, Human Trafficking is a $32 Billion dollar a year industry. Given the fact that the problem is absolutely on the rise in Michigan, the first of its kind in the nation database is now at the University of Michigan. The Human Trafficking Law Project (HTLP) database was launched in February 2011 by the Human Trafficking Clinic at Michigan Law School, the HTLP is the first publicly available database of human trafficking cases within the United States. Around the country, and right here in Michigan, men, women and children are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude and other labor for little or no pay. Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and it is the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. 40% of human trafficking cases involve the sexual exploitation of a child. A state human trafficking commission says Michigan should pass laws to ensure teens ensnared in the sex trade are presumed as victims, not prostitutes as they have been so commonly been viewed as. Attorney General Bill Schuette, lawmakers, advocates and experts say Michigan must do more to raise awareness of and stop trafficking for sex and labor. The commission has identified more than 300 confirmed victims but believes trafficking is under-reported.
Theresa Flores is a survivor of this growing epidemic. She and a state senator are now fighting to make Michigan law one of the toughest against human trafficking to keep other children safe.
The video below was posted on Oct 25, 2013 and is shared from MyFoxDetroit.com:
Fox 2 News Headlines
Identifying and Reporting Human Trafficking
If you suspect something is wrong, ask yourself these questions:
- Are there bruises or other signs of physical abuse?
- Are there signs of psychological abuse?
- Is the person submissive or fearful?
- Is the person being controlled?
- Is the person being deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities?
- Is the person allowed to be in public alone?
- Can the person freely contact friends or family?
- Is the person a minor engaged in commercial sex?
- Does a minor appear to be in a relationship with a much older person?
- Does the person fear his or her employer?
- Can the person leave their job situation if they want?
- Has someone threatened the person’s family?
- Does the person have identification?
- Does the person know his or her own address?
The following potential human trafficking “Red Flags” may be helpful to people working in these areas:
Reporting Human Trafficking
If you are a victim of human trafficking or have identified someone you think may need help, please contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at:
This is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, every day of the year. ALL CALLS ARE CONFIDENTIAL. Please call to:
- Report a tip.
- Connect with anti-trafficking services in your area.
- Request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources.