Human Trafficking: the Modern-day Slavery

Kate Santoyo, Reporter


Efforts to stop human trafficking throughout Idaho and beyond hope to put an end to the heinous practice.


The USA is known for the land of the free. Yet, 300,000 people in the US have their freedom taken away from them every day. This isn’t just a number; each person has a life just like you and me. This life is taken away from them by Human trafficking, the modern-day slavery, and it’s happening in the back of your neighborhood. 

The Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition recently held a meeting in Idaho Falls on Nov. 19 to increase awareness and to help prevent some abuse. At the meeting, they discussed how to identify human trafficking. They discussed how massage parlors are often a place where human trafficking occurs. Bars on the windows and areas where only men are allowed is a cause for concern and suspicion. Also, ads on websites like Craigslist that talk about jobs that seem too good to be true are most likely bait for trafficking. They tend to target people who are vulnerable, often college students and teens at parties. They do a lot of “grooming,” where they try to build a relationship and slowly increase physical contact to manipulate a person and gain their trust. Also they, try to cut victims off from friends and family and isolate them from society. 

Human trafficking has became a worldwide problem that has taken 3.1 million victims. It’s rare to find most of the victims of this crime. However, the ones that are found are said to only make it 7 years afterwards. The trauma, torture, abuse, and rape they’re forced to face–no one should ever be faced with. No one should be forced to do things, groomed by people they trust, hurt by strangers. Most of these people are kids that get taken advantage of in every way shape and form.

The OURS (Operation Underground Railroad) is an organization in Idaho that helps the survivors recover from the things that they have experienced while in the trafficking industry. The first question that came to mind when they were just making the organization was where would they put the survivors. They had their answer sitting right in front of them, and it was a safe house. That safe house happens  to be the main place where most of the survivors are at. They also provide therapy to the survivors that want to have therapy.

The victims aren’t just victims. They are heroes. We’re all heroes who have problems, hardships, and issues in our lives. Pain is still pain. We all have pain. We all feel pain. That doesn’t mean it defines us as people; it’s just a chapter of our lives. Some people take their experiences to help others who are going through a similar chapter of their lives and to be the person who they wished helped them in those chapters. Others become the person who caused the pain to them. Awareness and education are key to fighting modern slavery so the cycle can be stopped