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Sex Trafficking is a Reality

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Sex Trafficking is a Reality

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was recently charged with soliciting prostitution at a spa in Florida. Shocking yes, but even more surprising was the fact that this local “spa” was a front for human trafficking. Women, many from China, were held against their will with no chance to escape until local police in Jupiter, Florida, held a sting operation and arrested two dozen people.

One sex trafficking business was stopped but across the globe, 20.9 million people have fallen victim to the emotional and physical trauma of human trafficking.

80% of all human trafficking is sexual exploitation and those who are targeted are the most vulnerable. They range in age of 1 to 18-years old. Most enter the trade between the ages of 12-14 years.

So how are people targeted? Most of the time, people targeted lack personal safety, are isolated, in emotional distress, live in poverty or are runaways. Those targeted the most are women. It usually doesn’t matter what age but if you’re a teen, you are more likely to be targeted by these predators.

Many teens don’t ever think they’ll fall victim to these atrocities but it’s happening in Orange County.  Recently on Twitter, there was a tweet going around warning people of sex trafficking at Mainplace Mall. Three people go missing every week.

“It’s false,” said Vice and Narcotics Sergeant Dan Park from the Santa Ana Police Department they haven’t gotten a call on any sex trafficking happening at Mainplace.

Sex trafficking is real and although it isn’t specifically targeting Mainplace Mall, it is happening in theme parks, tourist destinations, even spas. Orange County is now being targeted more often with all the attraction that has been occurring. In 2015, there were a total of 225 who were helped getting rescued.  

Mirna Perez, an English teacher at Godinez Fundamental High School, worked in an organization that helped look for women being sex trafficked. She explained how during her time there, her group only managed to convince one woman to speak out. She was possibly between the ages of 18 to 21.

The rest of the women refused to speak up mostly due to the fear, intimidation and threats they received. “Sometimes they would threaten their family, if they had children, they have their children, so they couldn’t leave. Even if you want to leave, you can’t,” Perez said.

Even if the women don’t have a family, they still want to stick around. They feel unworthy of anything else. “It’s the life they know. They’ve been broken.”

Perez hasn’t gone to the organization in over three years due to the man in charge, Pastor Kevin, moving to Iran to help women that are being trafficked over there.

On Harbor Boulevard, known for street-level prostitution, there have been nine arrests for human trafficking, pimping and pandering since October 2018.

“Most victims of human trafficking, realistically, nowadays, are targeted via social media,” Sergeant Park said.

Here are ways to be safe from Sergeant Park and Perez:

  • When you are emotionally distressed, avoid going anywhere at night. You are more likely to be attacked if you show any vulnerability, especially women.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t go to a dark alley. We’ve seen it on so many films. They’re not usually the safest.
  • If it does come down to you being attacked, scream and run as fast as you can. The more attention you draw to yourself the better. People generally fight or flight during the spur of the moment.
  • And use your phone for good. Let loved ones know where you are going and who are you going with just to be safe. And yes, take your phone with you.
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Sex Trafficking is a Reality