Information best way to combat slavery

Julie Knapp

Throughout this week the Sociology and Anthropology Club and the Social Justice League will be sponsoring a host of events to bring attention to one problem – human trafficking.

This is something some people believe doesn’t happen anymore, and they are especially in denial about it happening in the United States. In almost all instances, people in the poorest of countries are the ones being trafficked. They are promised good jobs, and that they would be able to send their money back to their families.

However, when they get to the place of work, it’s not what they were promised. It’s prostitution, unpaid or abusive work. People are held against their will and not able to have a life of their own. They aren’t allowed to speak to their family or friends and are only released when their “owners” decide they’re done.

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2006 Human Trafficking Report, over 800,000 are enslaved – whether it be in sweatshops, peoples’ homes or as prostitutes.

This isn’t something people in America are immune to – it’s happened in large cities on the east coast, and there was even a recent human trafficking ring bust outside of Wichita.

The state department and researchers cite increasing costs to keep law enforcement working on these trafficking rings and also the misinformed people who buy into the promises of traffickers. This isn’t a problem to throw money at and hope it works, it’s a problem that’s been around forever, and the way to stop it is to continue getting information to vulnerable people about these scams. Of course, we can elect people and urge our government to change the economy and the reason people give in to these scams in the first place – they need more money and support – but that has proven to work very little in the past.

Supporting grants and writing our government is fine – but informing the most vulnerable people is something very logical for us to try and help people today.

On another note, it’s great to see these two organizations are working so hard to put this on. They’ve been in this office at least once a week to give us materials about this event and others. There is going to be someone at Washburn who finds out about modern-day slavery and feels compelled to act because of their hard work.