Tonight I went to an event about human trafficking at a local church. I went because even though I have been a human rights activist for many years, I wanted to learn more about how human trafficking is effecting my own state of Iowa. I am also a sucker for any kind of activist-related event, whether it be a lecture or a protest.
The lecture I went to was a very family friendly, informative, non-graphic presentation of what human trafficking is and how it affects everyone. A common misconception among Iowans is that it doesn’t happen here. The lecturer pointed out that not only does it happen here, we are also at the center of major cities with high trafficking rates, like Minneapolis and Omaha. Another misconception is that the victim can escape or that they choose to stay. Due to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse this is not true.
Human trafficking victims can be any race, sex, or age. Most are females. The lecturer spoke about how in the case of sex trafficking many view these people as prostitutes and therefore criminals. He said we need to distinguish between those who choose to be prostitutes, and those who are prostituted. Also, we need to stop thinking human trafficking only involves the exchange of money and people. Sometimes, people are sold for drugs. This is especially true in the case of Iowa Dr. Joshua Wade Payer, who exchanged prescription drug scripts for sex slaves.
The lecture was very informative and I am sharing a link to the webinar here. It is time we stop worrying so much about drug trafficking and start worrying about those who are trafficking in human lives. Unlike drug users, these victims have no choice.