The human trafficking of young girls has been a worldwide concern for a very long time. Many Americans have supported the cause to end human trafficking in countries overseas, likely without realizing that the enslavement of innocent children is becoming an increasing problem right here in the United States.
In the last month alone, headlines have been full of human trafficking charges. The San Jose Mercury News reported this week of human trafficking charges brought against a man from San Francisco, who is convicted of rape and human trafficking of one 14-year-old girl, as well as a 16-year-old girl in 2014.
In a truly despicable act, Jamar Geeter lured his younger victim from a bus stop with the offer of a burrito, got her drunk, raped her, and sent her into prostitution, with the help of a fellow prostitute. She was able to escape after a few days, only to be caught by another pimp and returned to prostitution.
The 16-year-old human trafficking victim was lured to San Francisco, where she also was raped and forced to work as a prostitute. Though both victims were held captive for a short amount of time, and were able to return home to their desperately searching parents, the horrors of their human trafficking experience have surely scarred them. The girls have gone on to finish high school and return to a healthy lifestyle.
District Attorney George Gascon spoke out against this incident, and human trafficking in general.
“This defendant preyed upon two children and attempted to profit off them as though they were property. Our humanity is not for sale, human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that will be met with firm consequences.”
Human trafficking bills pass Iowa Senate. Read more: https://t.co/4jwTP83F64
— A21 (@A21) March 4, 2016
According to NBC Washington, two Montgomery County, Maryland, men face human trafficking and sexual abuse charges of a 16-year-old girl. Saivon Sharpe and Raleigh McClam are accused of offering the girl $750 dollars a night to sleep with men. She was provided with a phone and instructions on how to receive money. According to her, Sharpe was in possession of a gun that he brandished on several occasions.
After being threatened at knife point, she called the police, who responded to find her locked in a room. However, she would not admit to calling police at all. After some investigation, the police were able to free the human trafficking victim and charge the suspects.
In a chilling admission, Sharpe claims to work as a school bus driver for Prince George’s County Schools.
— A21 (@A21) March 1, 2016
Last year, Spokane, Washington created a human trafficking unit, which has made several arrests since its debut. So much so, in fact, the SPD will put one of their Major Crime Unit’s detectives on the case full time. Lt. Steve Wohl says that while human trafficking may not be readily seen, it is a growing concern, reports KREM2.
“You may not recognize it, you may not see it and understand what you’re looking for but it is occurring here. Realizing that they can make money as well through human trafficking they’ve got a resource that they can use repeatedly and abuse unfortunately and sell to different people.”
The Spokane Police Department notes that human traffickers are not always the type of people one would see as a “bad” person. Arrests of a notable man who worked in non profit organizations, as well as others who appear to be upstanding citizens, while secretly indulging in the dark world of human trafficking, have shocked the community.
Erin Williams, of Lutheran Community Services, says those involved in human trafficking are experts at manipulation.
“Traffickers are very good at manipulating young people into doing what it is they need to do to make money. The more survivors know that there are people who care and want them to be safe all of that helps.”
[Image via Shutterstock]