Human Trafficking Awareness: Changing Legal System’s Approach is Top Priority
Statement from American Bar Association President Laurel G. Bellows
In Seattle, a 22-year-old woman was drugged and kidnapped from a local bar and forced to work as a prostitute in Las Vegas. In New York City, an 18-year-old girl from Mexico was forced to have sex with 40 to 60 men a day – for six years. In Detroit, four children from Togo, West Africa were required to cook and clean for 16-18 hours a day or face severe beatings.
Across America, there are hundreds of thousands more victims – hiding in plain sight.
Suffering from unspeakable atrocities, trafficking victims often fail to seek out help due to fear of abuse, threats to their loved ones or financial obligation. At the same time, our society often fails to recognize these victims and provide them with the help and services they desperately need.
The American Bar Association is marshaling the considerable energy and resources of our nation’s lawyers to change the way our legal system approaches human trafficking. Today, on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we urge every American to learn about this heartbreaking issue that has seeped into small towns, big cities and rural areas across the nation. As part of our effort to raise awareness, we are releasing a brief video about what lawyers can do to help combat human trafficking.
Together, we must become the eyes and ears that give these victims a voice. For a list of potential red flags and indicators of human trafficking, visit http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/recognizing-the-signs. And, to learn more about what the ABA is doing visit ambar.org/trafficking.