If ever there was a doubt that sex trafficking involves both the poor and disenfranchised (often times as victims) as well as the very wealthy, today’s announcement should erase those doubts. It effects all facets of our society.
The fact that Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution will be out of people’s memories at some point. However, those who are being enslaved in every state and closer to home than many of us would like to believe will have memories that come from sex-buyers every day as they continue to be enslaved. Even if they get out of enslavement, those memories will haunt them. We must, as a nation say NO to this atrocity.
Human trafficking is happening to both foreign born nationals and American born citizens on American soil. The truth is, the large majority of victims of sex trafficking are American citizens. Whether foreign born, as is allegedly the case in the sting in which Kraft was charged, or American, we must stop this atrocity.
When the rich and famous like NFL team owners or politicians are arrested surrounding sex trafficking charges, everyone pays attention for a while, and then people go about their business. Victims are wooed in by those they know or are related to more often than not, while the general public often believes people are normally kidnapped into sex trafficking. We must dispel that myth and talk about how it really happens in order to protect our country. Sadly, many don’t want to talk about it.
Traffickers only ask one thing of us, just one thing. All they need from us is that we be quiet. But we will not be quiet. We can’t legislate our way out of this problem; we can’t make enough laws to make it go away. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem — we can’t make enough arrests to make it stop.
More commentary: Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men.
We’ve got to change our culture and we’ve got to make it not OK to buy children, to buy adults, to buy sex online or in person. We’ve got to stop the mentality that this kind of purchase of another human being is OK, ever.
Nothing has ever been done to stop this atrocity without someone first becoming aware that it is happening and how horrific this crime is. We must as a nation take a stand against labor and sex trafficking, in forced prostitution, pornography and other paid sex acts.
I have done anti-trafficking work surrounding Super Bowl for the past 10 Super Bowls and we have seen professional sports players as well as regular citizens purchasing commercial sex. Our mantra has been “Super Bowl doesn’t increase sex trafficking; sex buyers increase sex trafficking.” We also have said for years that Human trafficking can happen in any zip code of the United States 365 days a year.” Today, a very prominent man has given us a strong example, of those two realities.
Sex trafficked individuals are kept in servitude and monies that are paid for commercial sex are taken by the trafficker. We must recognize the real facts surrounding this atrocity and educate people to those actual facts. Sadly, modern slavery is alive and well in the United States and we must do something about it every day because those that are being trafficked desperately need our help!
Take a stand to protect the innocent children, and adults that are trapped in this horrific crime today! Don’t wait for someone else to do it, YOU can make a difference.
Nita Belles, author In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking In America and What We Can Do To Stop It, executive director of nonprofit, IN OUR BACKYARD. At IN OUR BACKYARD we fight to stop this atrocity in many ways, but our Freedom Stickers are an effective tool that anyone can access and use to help bring a pathway to freedom in their own backyard.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When rich men like Robert Kraft get charged with soliciting prostitutes, we forget so fast