Thank you for coming to the Silent Voices Project website.
For those of you just joining us for the first time, we here at Silent Voices Project are a non-profit looking to help anyone in need- to help give voices to victims that can’t or feel like they can’t talk.
If you would like to listen to our podcast, please see below this blog posting. If you would like to continue to read about this particular podcast, we have produced the podcast in written word:
We wanted to just dive in and start with several stories.
Please read these stories carefully. If any of them sound familiar to you- let us know by sending us a message or commenting!
Maria applied for a job to be a model in the United States from her home country, Uzbekistan. The agency bought her a ticket and she was soon leaving her family.
To never be heard from again.
What happened with Maria? Once she landed in the United States, representatives from this supposed agency picked her up and then brought her to a warehouse away from any passing persons where they abused her in many ways- through food, through psychology, through drugs, etc. To the point that she eventually submitted to what they wanted her to do- prostitute herself to make money for them.
Juan met a company in Mexico that told him they could bring him to the States for good paying work to support his family in Mexico and eventually bring them to America as well. He goes with them. Once he gets to the other side of the border, he is instantly dropped off at a farm.
Again, never to be heard from again.
What happened with Juan? The owner of the farm hands the company’s agent a load of cash and makes Juan work with no pay under inhumane conditions.
Jessica was walking home from the gym one evening. There wasn’t that much going on- little to no cars, very few other walkers. She made this walk many times. It was her neighborhood. She felt safe and didn’t think anything of it. Before she could figure out what happened, she was knocked out on the back of her head and is shoved into a car.
She is taken to a hidden location, drugged, and laid out on a table where they proceed to cut her open to remove organs to sell later on the black market.
Isha has been told she needed to marry by the time she was 18. She refused and tried to avoid it as much as possible. Her parents abused her through her food consumption, starving her or only feeding her bread and water and physically by hitting her. She was further told that if she didn’t comply that they would kill her.
Isha proceeded to marry the man they picked out for fear of her safety.
These four stories might not sound the same, but they are the same. It is not our pleasure to bring the topic of the month to you, but it is unfortunately necessary and is important to discuss.
The topic is human trafficking.
How are these 4 stories related? How can they all be human trafficking?
Let’s break down the definition of human trafficking:
According to Oxford dictionary:
Human trafficking is “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation.”
Let’s break it down even further.
Maria and Juan were transported to a different country with lies while Jessica was moved to a different area of the same country by force. The three are then forced to work- physically or sexually- against their will. Isha is similar to Maria in that she is forced into a marriage she does not want and will be sexually exploited thereafter.
This affects many countries. Trafficking occurs all over the world. North America or “Western World” included.
It applies to everyone: white, black, latino, young, old, man, woman. There is no discrimination.
Simply put: it is another way of having slavery still alive and well in the 21st century.
It is slavery to be placed in forced prostitution. It is slavery to be placed in forced labor. It is slavery to have your organs force-ably removed. It is slavery to be forced into marriage.
It is believed to be one of the fastest growing activities of trans-national criminal organizations. In 2014, the International Labor Organization estimated $150 billion in annual profit is generated from forced labor alone.
The average cost of a human trafficking victim today is US$90 whereas the average slave in 1800 America, which is over 200 years ago, cost the equivalent of US$40,000.
Humans are getting cheaper and cheaper when our societies have been giving more human rights and more value on human lives. It just doesn’t make sense and frankly, it is wrong.
Let’s work together to end human trafficking. Stay tune for next week’s podcast and blog post on how to spot someone who needs help.
If any of these stories resonant with you meaning you know someone of a similar story or feel like this applies to someone you know, please send us a message- we will look into the case and help spread the word.
How do these 4 seemingly unrelated people with very different backgrounds have the same story? Tune into our podcast and read our blog- link in bio to find out!
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