I’m not going to lie, writing about human trafficking has not been the easiest task I’ve ever taken on. I’m a fixer. When something is happening that isn’t right, or someone is hurt I want to fix things for them. So for me reading testimonies and hearing horror stories about young girls and boys is hard for me. It’s hard for me to even know what to do after I read or hear about them. What can I do to help them is the question I keep asking myself.
As I was researching yet again to find more information about human trafficking, I ran across an article about a lady Clemmie Greenlee. I had never heard of her so I clicked on the article to see what it was about, and I was surprised at what I found out. Since I’m not much of a reader, I YouTubed her name to see if any videos would pop up. And sure enough there were a couple of them. I proceeded to watch once, and then another, and then another. This women is extraordinary. Let me tell you why.
This women had one of the worst childhoods a kid could ask for. Alcoholic parents, bad neighborhood, didn’t have much money, and she was born a girl in a black community. Around the age of 10 she was abducted and sold into the human trafficking ring. She said that she was taken from hotel to hotel and from state to state. She would entertain 7-10 men a day on average. 7-10 men a day! Some days I don’t even talk to that many men!! She had a baby boy around the age of 13 and has many scars and wounds from being beaten. She has an eight inch scar on her back from being stabbed and another time she had to be taken to the hospital because her eye was bashed in. From there on out Clemmie was in and out of juvie and jail. Her arrest record is over one hundred times.
Clemmie didn’t get help until she was 42 years old. She had a life threatening, prostitutional, sexually abusive, life for over 30 years. That’s enough to make anyone believe that there is no good people in the world. And yes, I’m sure Clemmie thought that many times. But as soon as Clemmie got out of a two year program, guess what she did? She went out and started helping people that were in the same situation as she had been in. She helped the homeless and the prostitutes and women that were still in horrifying situations. That is one courageous women. And after finding out where her son was and them having him shot to death, this women still pushed on. Clemmie is someone who I greatly admire and I hope that I can have just a little of the perseverance and courage that she shows.
In pretty much all my last blogs I’ve talked about the girls, women, and children. But what about the men and boys? Does human trafficking even affect them? Do they get forced into human trafficking? Let’s talk about that.
The answer is yes, human trafficking does affect men and boys. Men and boys are not just trafficked for sexual pleasures but also for hard labor work. Many times the men get tricked into working. Most of the time when a guy goes to work they don’t know what they’re actually getting themselves into.
In one of my earlier blogs I wrote about the little boy Johnny Gosch who had been taken to be trafficked. Many times we tend to think that it’s just the girls who are trafficked but that is definitely not the case. Men and boys tend to hide their feelings more than girls but that doesn’t mean it doesn't effect them. Being abused and trafficked hurts men just as much as it does women.
Another way that men can be trafficked is through manual labor. Just like in the 1800s but it happens into today's society. When a man’s freedom is stripped from him it almost takes away half of himself too.It’s very difficult for a guy to be in slavery.
So the answer to those questions is yes. Men go through a lot, just like women and girls. Many times we don’t hear about the guys because we don’t think it affects them like it affects the girls. But slavery for men still exists.
I’ve read through many articles about human trafficking. I’ve read many personal testimonies, many articles stating facts, and others that contain help and information if someone was in that situation. But as I was looking for another topic under the issue of human trafficking, I ran across an article a girl had written. It was about her experience as a flight attendant. Heather Poole was a flight attendant on an airplane headed to New York from Los Angeles. A group of girls, who were dressed in T-shirts and jeans, boarded and sat down. This seems pretty normal until I state that it was in the middle of the winter. Heather said that she remembered thinking that it all just looked strange. None of the girls could speak English, and none of them talked among themselves. Poole didn’t know what to do, or how to handle the situation. Heather remembered that her mom, a retired flight attendant, had once met a man with a young girl. The man answered all the questions meant for the little girl, and wouldn’t let her speak for herself. But back then no one had really heard of human trafficking, so Pooles mom didn’t think much of it. The airline that Poole works for started training their flight attendants to look for signs of human trafficking. Can the young passengers speak for themselves? Do they make eye contact? Do they appear scared, depressed, or anxious? It’s good to hear that some people are taking initiative, and doing what needs to be done. We may not be able to fix the whole problem of human trafficking, but we can do our part. Try to imagine what it would feel like to be in someone's shoes that is being trafficked. Would you want help? Of course you would! So if we see someone who looks like they need help, we need to try and help them. Maybe we can try to stop slavery a little at a time.
I did not realize how many people are not informed about human trafficking. Since I have started this project, I have talked to many people about the subject. And many of them have no idea what human trafficking even is. In my opinion there are a few reasons for this.
The first being that It’s very easy to get caught up in our lives, everyone does it. We go day in and day out not thinking about anyone else but ourselves and what we have to accomplish on a daily basis. I think that is part of the reason people don’t know what human trafficking is. We get so caught up in ourselves, or our families, or our jobs, that we don’t even realize what is going on around us.
Another reason would be that we don’t want to see it. As humans we don’t want to believe that something like human trafficking is happening, especially in the United States. One of the questions that always gets asked when I talk about human trafficking is, “Does it happen in the United States?” My answer to that question would be, “Yes, it does, it happens everywhere.”
I get it. We all want a perfect world where no one gets hurt and nothing bad ever happens. But that’s not the way life is. Life is hard and a lot of the time it sucks. And most of the time, with all the bad stuff that happens, it gets frustrating. Why would we even try to fix any problems when there will always be more? And honestly I don’t have an answer to that question. But I do know that we all need to open our eyes and take a good look around. See what needs to be done and do it. Slavery still exists, let’s try and stop it.
Meeting the “perfect guy” is on the list for almost all girls. Many girls go through their whole life looking for the guy that they’ll spend the rest of their life with. Couples meet in many different ways: The internet, a party, highschool, college, and many other ways. Stephanie thought she had met your dream dude when she was twelve.
Stephanie was considered to be a “good girl.” She went to church, youth retreats, and was a grade A student. But one night Stephanie found herself at a party that had alcohol. A guy, who was older, came up and started talking to her. Having a older guy talking to her made Stephanie feel important and wanted. Of course she wanted him to like her.
Stephanie though that it was just fate that he would show up where she was. Every time he showed up to talk her, Stephanie pretended that she didn’t know him. She was afraid of what people would say about her if they knew how she met him? Pretty soon she gave in though. They started dating. He was super sweet at first, he took out to eat, took her shopping, bought her clothes. He was her dream guy.
Soon, Stephanie started skipping school for him. Her grades quickly plummeted and she started spending more and more time with him. She soon started dancing at strip clubs for him, but things quickly changed when he decided she wasn’t making enough money for him. One night he threw her outside and said she could come back until she made more money. Soon, the cops [picked Stephanie up and took her back home, and she began her recovery.
Stephanie is proof that it’s not just the messed girls that get into trouble with trafficking.
People I know could be involved in human trafficking and I wouldn't even know it. As a friend I need to make sure that my friends know that they can talk to me about anything and I will listen and try to help. Anyone can get trapped in this slavery, even the people that look like they have it all together.