By Skylar Halsted
A wise, anonymous person once said, “People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos, is because things are being loved and people are being used”. I think we can all agree that human trafficking is bad and needs to end. However, how to end it is more so up for debate. Although, the goal is the same the plan seems to differ. Many people believe their part in ending trafficking is in rescuing and intervening with the trafficking happening. This is a great goal that does great things. Nevertheless, it is not what will end any trafficking, specifically, sex trafficking. Olivia Enos from Daily Signal writes, “the number of victims rescued in 2016 is less than .2 percent” (“Number of Victims Rescued...”, 2016). It has been a couple years since 2016, however, to think that this number has raised to even more than .5 percent is very optimistic. The most efficient way to end trafficking is to stop it before it starts; it’s all about prevention. This is done with overall awareness and making people see themselves and the world in a different light than what society has taught us.
Omaha, Nebraska, and surrounding areas are just as vulnerable to sex trafficking as the rest of the world, thanks to the internet. Omaha is notorious for trafficking during the College World Series, but this ‘fame’ is just promoting a myth that sex trafficking happens mostly in the form of kidnapping. According to International Human Trafficking Institute, it is more likely that traffickers build a relationship and groom the victim first. Young adults and children who might be in the comfort of their own home using the internet, are susceptible to become a victim. A relationship can quickly go from being strangers to being controlling and abusive very quickly.
Two of many reasons this is happening is: girls are taught they aren’t good enough and boys are taught that they’ll never be morally ‘good’. Society has given girls high expectations that no one will ever meet. Many girls and boys in the United States and elsewhere feel unworthy of love, because they cannot meet these unmeetable expectations. So, when someone, a trafficker in this case, shows love in a friendship or romantic way it draws the victim in. Society tells men at a young age that it’s okay to sexualize a woman’s body saying, ‘boys will be boys’ when it comes to industries like porn. From this excuse, boys aren’t taught that they can be better and stand up against these things.
The best way to prevent sex trafficking is with words. Just like how words draw people into dangerous relationships with traffickers, we need to fight it with words. Words can be used instead to draw people away from being in a situation of emotional vulnerability or a situation that they didn’t know how to talk about before. Sharing with people that there is good and worthiness in them is much more powerful than rescuing victims after we failed to tell them truths. The internet will always be here. Whether you consider yourself or a friend/family member susceptible or not to getting caught in this situation, it can happen to anyone.
This is the reason why prevention is so important. So, we need to spread awareness telling people the signs of how it looks when you or someone you know is this position. Lastly, by using these words to tell people these things, we make the community aware that we are there, and we are watching.
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. So, let’s prevent sex trafficking by educating people on their worthiness and on the signs of sex trafficking, so we do not have to use less efficient weapons to rescue them.