The Pioneer, Vol. 52, Issue 3

thepioneer

The January 7, 2019 issue of The Pioneer — Pierce College Fort Steilacoom's student news publication in Lakewood, Washington.

Features

JANUARY IS NOT THE ONLY TIME TO

FOCUS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Understanding the crime will help keep your community safe

By DAVID AGUILAR

Staff Writer

JANUARY IS NATIONAL HUMAN

TRAFFICKING and Slavery Prevention

Month. However, the crime happens

every day for victims in the United States.

Human trafficking is the second-fastest

growing crime in the nation, according to

the Pierce County website.

The county is no stranger to this harsh

reality. Local street gangs have moved

towards human trafficking as a more

lucrative income that they think is “safer”

than selling drugs.

Pierce County’s Gang Unit has

been working closely with the Human

Trafficking Unit to pursue the criminals

who exploit women, and in some cases

children, for their own financial gain. In

March, there were sting operations across

multiple truck stops in Pierce County.

10 women were rescued in the first few

hours of the operation, according to King

5 News.

10 / piercepioneernews.com

The director of the National Human

Trafficking Hotline, Caroline Diemar,

said that victims can be of any race,

gender, legal status, age and more.

“Human trafficking does not

discriminate … The thread that connects

most victims together is vulnerability.

There isn’t a typical victim with the

crime of human trafficking. It sounds

cliché, but it can really affect almost

anyone,” she said.

Some signs shown by victims of

human trafficking include poor mental

and physical health, lack of personal

possessions, an inability to identify

or locate where they are or feeling

disempowered to speak for themselves,

according to the Administration for

Children & Families.

Human trafficking is not just a

problem in the United States. It is a

problem that has plagued the world

for as long as imperial and colonial

expansion, whether it is in North

America, Europe, Africa and other

countries around the world.

Cindy Bassage, the program

coordinator for the Pierce College

Homeland Security Emergency

Management degree, said, “We

should educate our citizens so they

are aware of human trafficking.”

Kamala Kempadoo, an associate

professor of social science at York

University, said in one of her books

that during the colonial invasion of

the Caribbean, women in slavery were

hired by white and free, colored

families for various jobs.

However, “the general

expectation of individuals who

hired female labor under

whatever pretense was that

Nick Nelson/Staff Illustration

Psychological and

Behavioral Signs of a Possible

Human Trafficking Victim

• Develop general feelings of

helplessness, shame, guilt,

self-blame and humiliation

• Suffer from shock and denial,

or display symptoms of posttraumatic

stress disorder,

phobias, panic attacks, anxiety

and depression

• Suffer from sleep or eating

disorders, become addicted to

drugs and/ or

alcohol as a way to cope or

“escape” their situation, or as

a method of control used by

traffickers

• Experience “trauma bonding”

with the trafficker, positively

identifying with the trafficker and

believing that despite repeated

abuse, the trafficker is a loving

boyfriend, spouse or parent

Source: Administration for Children and

Families, a division of the U.S. Department

of Health and Human Services.

sexual benefits were included,” the book

states.

Everyone can do their part to help

make this community safer and to help

those who feel as if there is no one else

there for them. If you have concerns that

there is a victim of human trafficking in

your community or you have noticed

suspicious activities, call the local

authorities or the National Human

Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888 or

text “HELP” at 233-733 (BEFREE).

Other ways to help end

human trafficking is to volunteer at local

organizations that work tirelessly to help

victims affected by the crime.

January 7, 2019 / Vol. 52, Issue 3

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