Dear 45th President,
My name is Maggie Millar and I am a high school student in Los Angeles. I am writing this letter today, not only to exercise my American right of free speech, but also to raise awareness about an important issue in the United States. We, as a country, pride ourselves on having eradicated slavery in the United States many years ago. However, what many people do not know is that slavery is still a prominent part of our modern day society, especially in the form of human trafficking. People are still being abducted from their homes and trafficked into horrendous situations. Many are forced to have sex without consent, and are beaten and abused by their imprisoner. How can we label our country the “land of the free” if so many people still suffer a life of servitude and bondage?
I was shocked and disheartened to see how many stories appeared when I searched for instances of human trafficking in the United States. Just viewing the number of cases of human trafficking that occur in the United States is bewildering.
One specific case of this was Shandra Woworuntu’s story of trafficking, which she shared with BBC News in an article titled “Shandra Woworuntu: my life as a sex-trafficking victim”. She was kidnapped at an airport and forced to become a prostitute. She was forced to have sex with random men for 45 minutes at a time, many of which were abusive. She was only fed rice soup with pickles, whiskey, and drugs, so she was often physically weak. One of the most appalling realizations that she recounts having is learning that the only way to survive would be to comply with her captor’s demands, even if it meant giving up freedom of her body and mind.
The examples of devastating stories sadly goes on and on, but the main message generally remains the same; the victims are forced to live a life in which they are never free and always uncertain of the future. No human being should ever feel as though their life is in peril every day, which is exactly what human trafficking does. We need to find a way to eradicate human trafficking and slavery, for the sake of our people’s wellbeing and safety.
One way in which we can begin to target human traffickers is by providing police officers with better training on how to identify a trafficker. Often times, police officers do not recognize that some prostitutes are sex slaves, so they release them and inadvertently return them to their captors. Instead of talking to victims as criminals, we need to provide them with therapy and support programs that will help them rebuild their life. In addition, we need to invest more effort into finding and destroying brothels and trafficking houses because if we do not, this inhuman and immoral trade will continue to harm innocent American citizens.
I hope you take my suggestions and opinions into consideration. Good luck with your presidency!