Human Rights Day: Human Trafficking

We are all familiar with human rights issues that occur every day worldwide. With so many topics, and current events, that could – and should – be discussed, there is one particular realm for Human Rights Day I wanted to talk about specifically: human trafficking. 

"Human trafficking is certainly not a particularly new practice, but in recent years high profile stories like Epstein's trafficking of girls to elites and Qatar's use of forced labor to build stadiums for the World Cup awareness has skyrocketed," said Rachael Lehman, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies here at Community College of Denver.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion black market industry that affects nearly 25 million people globally, according to the Human Trafficking Institute (HTI). Polaris Project has identified 25 different types of human trafficking, but the three most popular sectors of human trafficking include sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage.

In 2022, the five worst countries for human trafficking are as listed:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. United States
  4. Indonesia
  5. Pakistan

One might say to themselves, “How could somebody possibly get fooled or sucked into human trafficking?” It’s pretty straightforward. These trafficking networks use a variety of different methods. Some of these include tactics like falsifying employment opportunities, promises of a better life, love/marriage, threats of physical harm, blackmail, and psychological manipulation.

There are differences between trafficking networks and factors that play into their “business.” These include, but are not limited to:

  •  Size of the trafficking group
  •  Role of drugs in the recruitment process
  •  Supply chain dynamics (including law enforcement corruption)
  •  Extent of violence used against victims
  •  Extent/destination of profits
  •  Social media/technology to recruit and find customers

We, as Americans, might believe we are not at risk; however, there were about 200,000 human trafficking cases reported this year. World Population Review made a list of the top 10 U.S. states for human trafficking. They are as follows: Mississippi, Nevada, Missouri, Nebraska, Florida, California, Texas, Arkansas, Oregon, and Georgia.

Professor Lehman also commented, "In the US, prisons are responsible for the forced labor of 2 million inmates. Colorado is a hub for human trafficking due to its central location and proximity to an airport, bus, and train depots."

In fact, Colorado has had several human trafficking crimes in the past five or so years. The Denver Post wrote an article about the most recent incident that happened in August of this year in Colorado Springs, where 11 children and 11 adults, all victims of sex trafficking, were rescued by an initiative started by the FBI called Operation Cross Country.

This is not the only reported incident of human trafficking in Colorado, let alone in Arapahoe County. In fact, in 2017, a grand jury convicted Brock Franklin, who was the leader of a sex trafficking ring, with 30 separate charges.  

CCD cares greatly about our student body and the safety of students, first and foremost. If you are a victim or at risk or know a fellow CityHawk, please take comfort in knowing that Community College of Denver has resources at your disposal.

Beyond CCD’s own resources for help, there are many nonprofit organizations in the Denver area that can help you and/or anyone else that may be a victim of human trafficking.