My opinion is unpopular but I’d like to share it.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that a large percentage of ‘refugees’ coming across the US/Mexico border are actually victims of human trafficking. I can’t find specific sources that I’ve read in the past but I’ll link sources that support my claims. So, let me explain.
First, there are numerous studies and published papers that bring attention to the issue that people from Mexico (and central/south America) are being baited to the United States with false job advertisements. These job advertisements will often offer free housing, education, and decent pay in order to bait someone to come to the United States, but often the postings are human trafficking bait. Young women, women with children, and teens are the largest demographics to fall victim to this trap.
Secondly, children are widely used as bait in order to cross the United States/ Mexico border. There are reports of missing children being found in detention centers crossing the border with their kidnappers. Why would someone want to cross the border with a child that isn’t there’s? Well, there is a higher chance of getting across the border with a child. The two largest motives for trafficking a child across the border is for exploitation through the forms of sex and child labor. How does a child even become a victim? Some children are just straight-up abducted but more often than not poor families fall victim to giving their child away. This happens through a grooming process in which someone that the family trusts will offer to give their child work or provide them education but these opportunities require that the child moves to a different location with the perpetrator.
Lastly, human smuggling can easily turn into human trafficking. I’d like to start by defining each term.
- Smuggling – “Human smuggling is the illegal importation of people into a country via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws” (www.ice.gov/features/human-smuggling-danger)
- Human Trafficking – “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” (www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking)
The main distinction I’d like to address between ‘smuggling’ and ‘trafficking’ is the role of choice. Someone chooses to smuggle across the border but no one chooses to fall victim to human trafficking. Human Traffickers have been known to pose as smugglers by exploiting people who seek to be smuggled. There are numerous cases of people who paid to be smuggled over the border but instead basically sold themselves into sex slavery.
Many European countries are aware of this problem and thus have strict immigration policies and border restrictions in place in order to keep track of WHO is actually coming across their borders. However, in the United States, the existence of Human Trafficking across the border seems to not be acknowledged as often. Annually, thousands of people attempt to cross the border, so it’s easy for human trafficking to hide in the mix.
My consensus is that although refugee camps and detention centers pose their own human rights issues, they serve a more important purpose; they help identify victims of human trafficking. Major media networks like to manipulate public opinion of border security by showcasing the extreme conditions and challenges refugees go through in order to reach the United States border. There is such a large emphasis on helping people, but not enough emphasis on who those people may be.
Child trafficking across the Mexico/US border:
Baiting VIA job advertisements:
Human trafficking across the Mexico/US border:
Disclaimer: This is a guest post and it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of IWB.