In fighting the human trafficking scourge in the U.S, there is hope of triumph as government and non-profit organisations both at the state and federal levels are collaborating to initiate prevention porgrammes through orientation of likely victims as well as resettlement for victims and prosecutors of pimps and individuals involved in modern day slavery. In the state of Texas, the prosecution of a Nigerian couple in Katty sentenced to 14 months in prison in addition to paying $120,000 compensation to an enslaved nanny stands as a case in point.
The hotline, which has expanded to texts and chat services, has identified 36,270 human trafficking cases, and it is also using data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they are.
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Realizing the impact of education on preventive measures, public schools in California plays are required to offer training on human trafficking education and protection to young people. The education programme is being implemented by 3strands global foundation, a non-profit body founded by Ms Ashlie Bryant, which has developed a curriculum for teachers and students called PROTECT. The PROTECT acronym represents ‘Prevention Organized to Educate Children on Trafficking’; it has reached more than 32, 000 students in 17 California counties. The imitative which uses a three -pronged approach to fighting human trafficking through the training of teachers, students and welfare and enforcement officers was founded in partnership with other non-profit organisations in California. It should also be noted that the 3Strands foundation was created as a community response initiative after a 17-year-old teenaged was trafficked from a store in Sacramento.
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Also, another indication of the US commitment in combating human trafficking is the inauguration of an advisory council on human trafficking during the dispensation of former President Barack Obama. Ms Bukola Oriola, a Nigerian American, who is one of the 11 members of the council, told The Nation that the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking provided a platform to influence federal government policies in a survivor-informed manner. The council published two reports and made recommendations, some of which are already being implemented.
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Human trafficking is an estimated $150 billion global industry annually (ILO: International Labour Organization). In the US alone, it is an estimated $9.8 billion industry, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
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While most people think that human trafficking focuses primarily on women and girls being forced into the sex industry, this represents only about 25 percent of the total cases. The remaining 75 percent fall under the heading “forced labour.” Many of these victims are working in manufacturing supply chains, which begin at a grower or producer and end at a manufacturer or assembly plant, producing products purchased by consumers in the global retail market.
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In leading the fight against human trafficking, the US government is also putting in place policies, which make survivors of trafficking to be reintegrated back into the society without being deported. Steve Wagner, the Acting Secretary, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), US Department of Health and Human Services, in an encounter with journalists in Washington DC said undocumented immigrants who are victims of human trafficking can stay legally in the United States.