The Price of Modern Day Slavery: Part I
With January as National Human Trafficking Month and Super Bowl Sunday just around the corner, I think it is important to talk about modern day slavery and the traumatic impacts on the survivors. It is all too easy to ignore this conversation as something that happens in faraway parts of the world, when in reality it is happening in our own backyards. With Anaheim, California being one of the largest human trafficking capitals, it is something we cannot as a society ignore for any longer. On top of that, America’s most popular sporting event, also known as The Super Bowl, has been called out as one of the largest venues for human trafficking in the world. There are survivors all around us, and those still waiting for their overdue freedom.
It is not unusual for sex trafficking survivors to have faced some of the most incomprehensible evils imagined. Daily life typically involves physical abuse such as beatings, confining and unsanitary living conditions, malnutrition, and sleep deprivation; sexual abuse such as rape and forced prostitution; psychological abuse such as deception, constant threats, and the instillation of the false belief that a woman’s value lies in the price of her body; along with consistent verbal, emotional, and even spiritual abuse through compromising one’s compass of morality, inner beliefs and values. On top of this daily abuse, they can be forced to service absurd amounts of customers in a single day, sometimes even reaching into the triple digits. This lifestyle results in severe lingering effects consisting of psychological trauma including depression, stress-related disorders such as PTSD, phobias, anxiety and panic attacks, as well as physical traumas such as unplanned pregnancies, forced abortions, and the contraction of STDs including HIV/AIDS and other infectious and terminal diseases. All of these traumas can go undetected or untreated for great lengths of time and therefore are typically not treated in their early stages. Mental health is crucial for those who have survived the evils of this terrible industry, and should be first and foremost on our agendas as a society to help these survivors to thrive as they integrate back into their life of freedom and value they have always deserved.