The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNDOC) cites trafficking in persons as a serious crime as well as a “grave violation of human rights.” It reports that thousands of men, women and children every year end-up in the hands of human traffickers, both in their own countries and abroad. Furthermore, UNDOC reveals that every country on earth is affected by human trafficking– whether it originates there, is a location of transit, or a destination.
Some Harsh Facts
Human trafficking is a very dark and ugly side of life, and many remain unaware of its existence and the suffering it engenders. While a senior guiding principle of how to conduct oneself and treat other human beings is found in the age-old wisdom expressed in the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—individuals who violate the human rights of those who fall prey to human trafficking have abandoned any sense of humanity or responsibility for the welfare of their fellow human beings.
UNDOC cites three basic elements of human trafficking which include the act of doing, how it is done, and why it is done.
- What is done includes the recruitment, transfer, transportation, harboring or receipt of persons.
- How human trafficking is done includes the use or threat of force, fraud, deceptions, coercion, abduction, vulnerability or abuse of power, or the giving of benefits or payments to an individual who is control of the victims.
- Why it is done is for the purpose of exploitation, including prostituting others, forced labor, sexual exploitation, slavery, and the removal of body organs.
Despite human trafficking being a criminal offense punishable by law, it continues.
Unfortunately, it is happening here in the United States, and there is a direct connection between drugs and the sex trade which is identified in the eyes of the law as human trafficking
Drugs and the Sex Trade
The drug-related sex trade in the state of Ohio was recently featured in an online Telegraph-Forum article. It highlighted some of the main facts of the issues, citing the fact that the drug trade and sex trade across the state “go hand-in-hand.”
Furthermore, the use of drugs and alcohol by pimps and sex traffickers was cited as a means to control the victims and increase profits.
Also cited was the fact that many victims of sex trafficking lived in environments where substance abuse or alcohol abuse were common.
According to President of the Ohio Task Force Commanders Association, Jeff Orr, criminals take advantage of the fact that women will sell their bodies to get the money they need for their next drug fix.
The link between the sex trade and drugs is a dangerous one, and for some it is deadly. In Ohio, a former doctor who used a heroin injection to kill a pregnant woman forced into prostitution was recently sentenced to 36 years in prison. It came to light that he used Craigslist as a means to meet sexual partners, frequently exchanging drugs for sex.
According to Keturah Schroeder of the Freedom a la Cart organization, pimps and sex traffickers use drugs and alcohol as a means to control people and increase their profits. Freedom a la Cart is a non-profit organization teaching catering skills to survivors of human trafficking.
Furthermore, Shroeder says that pimps and sex traffickers will initially treat young women—many who have troubled pasts– like their girlfriends; grooming them and providing them with drugs. A few months down the road, the women will be told they now owe the pimp or the trafficker, and have to work their debt off.
Shroeder notes that some drug dealers try to “move-up the ranks” by offering “ party packages”, the practice of sending women to deliver drugs and offer sex; one that helps them move-up in the gang echelon.
Human trafficking organizations have also found that if drugs are not being used to control sexual assault victims, they will be used to cope with the horrors of it. Because of the link between the two, women who have been forced into prostitution routinely must receive substance abuse treatment in addition to the counseling for other trauma they have experienced.
For help with a substance abuse problem stemming from a human trafficking situation, please contact us today.