Human trafficking is growing fast due to the general lack of awareness of the issue. While there are many individuals, organizations and politicians all over the world who are taking the issue of human trafficking extremely seriously, we still are a long ways away from abolishing it. As trafficking becomes one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, it is also one of the most under-reported crimes because of the victims’ fear of speaking out and seeking help. If Americans continue with the mindset of, “it can’t happen here,” then our eyes may never be exposed to the ugly reality of human trafficking in America.
As I continue my research on sex trafficking, specifically in the United States and Greater Seattle area, I came across an article that raised many questions. The article was regarding an accused kidnapper and pimp recently released from jail in King County. The man, Randy Stevens and Tarriq Shabazz, terrorized a woman and planned to pimp her as a prostitute in Las Vegas. The lady was drugged in a nightclub in South Lake Union and woke up in an unknown home and was then forced into a car by Shabazz. The passengers in the car headed to Queen Anne to pick up Stevens. At that point, Stevens allegedly told her he was going to have her work as a prostitute in Las Vegas and at one point, pulled a knife on her. The woman did indeed escape, by jumping out of the vehicle, but was sent to Harborview and was in critical condition for weeks. This past week, Stevens was released from jail with no bond. Although there were just allegations and no definitive proof that Stevens was involved, it seems unethical that he would be released without bail and only told to participate in the World Education Release Program.
The program allows those participating to live at home and report to school or work and although they are to check in with a case worker, Stevens supposedly is not required to do so until January 16, leaving him time to leave the state or target another woman. Even if Stevens only attempted and did not succeed in trafficking the woman, he still participated by kidnapping and robbing the woman.
This makes me question the judicial process even more. Not only is our whole community at risk, but it also instills fear in the victim’s life. Why did the judge, Theresa Doyle, turn down the state’s request for bail?
If someone goes to jail for human trafficking, they can be out in a day or a week due to the highly populated jail cells. That is not okay. This gives victims even more reason to not speak out. Therefore, we need to be their voice and do something about this.
Alli Mellon, a Clinton, Mississippi native, who has recently been working in Cambodia as a director for an organization called The Hard Places Community. The organization helps victims of human trafficking. This quote is in regards to the huge trafficking problem in Cambodia, with children as young as 5 being trafficked. She says, “My sincere hope is that the public will not turn a blind eye to the plight of our children,” she said. “These are real kids with real feelings. They are just like yours and mine. They laugh, play, dream and hope in the midst of their pain. My biggest dream is that we won’t leave them there.” Though she is talking about the children in Cambodia, I think we can relate it to the problem of human trafficking that is happening both globally and locally. The children being trafficked are human beings with real emotions and souls. They have dreams and hopes just as we do and we need to do everything we can to help abolish this evil trade.
Help stop human trafficking by doing the following:
- Educate Yourself.
- Spread the Word.
- Take a Look at Your Own Community.
- Talk to Children and Teens.
- Subscribe to Human Rights Blogs and Websites.
- Donate to Local Organizations.
By Brooke B