ACLJ Files New Written Submission to the UN Human Rights Council Detailing the Scourge of Human Trafficking
In January 2021, over 100 federal, state, and local law enforcement agents in California conducted a weeklong statewide operation to combat human trafficking. The annual operation titled “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” resulted in the arrests of 450 people and the successful rescue of 39 victims, 13 of whom were children. According L.A. City Councilman John Lee, “California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in our country, with Los Angeles still a hotbed of activity.” In 2020, Operation Reclaim and Rebuild resulted in 518 arrests and 87 victims rescued. This goes to show just how pervasive the problem of human trafficking is in our world today.
Recently we told you that “[h]uman trafficking in all its forms, is an issue that plagues every country to some degree.” In order to shed light on this global problem, we detailed the scourge of human trafficking in seven different countries in the most recent round of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reports to the U.N. Now, we have just submitted another report to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) detailing this grave injustice and urging immediate action to stop it.
Within the United States, it is estimated that 90% of sex trafficking victims were victims of abuse long before they were being trafficked. As we stated in our most recent report to the HRC, “traffickers know this and use this to their advantage to lure in their victims. When the victims agree to go with the traffickers, the traffickers then continue a pattern of abuse and exert control over every aspect of the victim’s life.”
We also detailed numerous instances of human trafficking in countries all around the world, showing that this is truly a global issue. For example, children in Thailand are targeted by human traffickers for prostitution, and the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in online sexual abuse of children:
Children are targeted by human traffickers in Thailand for use in prostitution, as well as for online pornography. According to estimates, there are approximately 30,000 to 40,000 children working as prostitutes in Thailand. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further contributed to the exploitation of children and has led to a massive increase in online sexual abuse of children in 2020. In 2020 the Internet Crimes Against Children (TICAC) taskforce was able to rescue more than 100 children from sexual abuse, recover over 150,000 files of child sexual material, and opened 53 cases.
Effectively combating human trafficking is an enormous task that requires a multi-faceted approach especially due to the fact that human trafficking crosses international borders. During the last round of the UPR, we detailed how the international nature of human trafficking has made it especially difficult for some countries like Antigua and Barbuda to prosecute human trafficking. As we stated in our recent UPR report on Antigua and Barbuda:
Many of the victims who have been rescued return to their home country, making it difficult for authorities to prosecute perpetrators. As explained by McKinnon, “[w]e have never had a victim who has elected to remain in Antigua and Barbuda. So, when the case is called, we have to track down that victim, and getting them to come back to testify has proven difficult in the past”.
It is imperative that countries work together to stop human trafficking as well as enact comprehensive legislation to prosecute traffickers and provide aid and rehabilitation services to the victims. As we further stated:
Additionally, properly combatting human trafficking requires comprehensive legislation containing sufficient penalties for human traffickers as well as providing rehabilitation services and aid for the victims. However, these laws are useless if proper resources and training are not afforded to the appropriate authorities. Therefore, in order to combat trafficking, countries must also commit resources and proper training to authorities so that they can identify cases of human trafficking and put an end to this atrocity.
At the ACLJ, we will continue to shed light on the scourge of human trafficking and fight to put an end to it.
You can read more about the seven recent UPR submissions on human trafficking here.