by FP Intern- Bethany McArthur
One area of distress in modern international relations is human trafficking. All throughout the world, human trafficking has been a large contributor to violent crimes including: murder, brutal beatings, continuous rape, and kidnapping. The illegal trade of humans affects nearly every nation of the world and can devastate societies. While human trafficking is an enormous issue streaming universally, the intent of this blog is to focus on the human trafficking problem surrounding the Southeastern segment of the United States of America. While some of the content may seem shocking, it is important to note the reality of this issue in our country. This could affect your family, friends, neighbors, or even your children.
Most Americans consider human trafficking to be a horrid crime that doesn’t and can’t occur in the United States. Even though the United States has been labeled as a Tier 1 on the Trafficking in Persons Report, this does not mean that human trafficking is not present. In contrast, the class Tier 1 simply indicates that the country has acknowledged the problem is present and is compliant with the minimum standards placed by the TVPA (Trafficking and Violence Protection Act). The Department of State has been monitoring U.S. human trafficking since 1994, but the issue has attracted vast attention in recent years. According to the 2008 Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress, the focus originally surrounded on trafficking of women and girls for sexual purposes. However, since then reporting has expanded to routine monitoring and coverage on cases of trafficking of not only women and children for sex but also men and children for forced labor.
Although there are several southern cities that should be noted in the South like Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Miami, human trafficking is huge a problem in the city of Atlanta. For instance, a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution online article titled “Groups Battle Sex Trafficking in Atlanta” stated that the FBI has identified Atlanta as one of the cities with the largest number of child prostitutes. Additionally the article featured some very shocking numbers to illustrate the cities problem. It stated, “On average, 100 adolescent girls are sexually exploited for money in Georgia on a typical night. Recent data revealed that 7,200 men pay for sex with adolescent females in Georgia each month and the largest concentration of men — 42 percent — seeking to pay for sex with adolescent females in Georgia is in the north metro area, outside the Perimeter.” The Perimeter is often used by Atlanta residents as a boundary between the metro areas. Also the Perimeter is also used to describe Interstate 285, which connects to the Atlanta Airport and downtown. This makes it easy for traffickers to find runaways headed to the airport.
While Atlanta’s problem in trafficking is affecting the state internally, the states struggle has a direct link to the problem here in Nashville. For instance, a large portion of victims come from Atlanta then make their way to Nashville. It is very common for a trafficker to repeatedly move victims on a tour between the two cities. This is made possible again by the interstate. For example, Nashville and Atlanta are connected through Interstate 75. This circuit system decreases detection for the victims and allows their trafficker an opportunity to make a larger profit. It is incredibly sad to think that these women, children, and adolescent boys and girls are being treated as a profit here in our neighborhood. I hope that this has helped you realize that we must fight to end human trafficking in our country and locally before we can even begin to be an example to other countries.