“Fighting the scourge of human trafficking” by Ilene Fleischmann

Human trafficking is an issue that is only becoming increasingly prevalent. Ilene Fleischmann speaks with a prosecutor who notes that the exploitation thrives “everywhere.” This is an excerpt from a recent article published by the UB Reporter. The source of this excerpt is http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/campus/campus-host-page.host.html/content/shared/university/news/ub-reporter-articles/stories/2014/April/human_trafficking.detail.html

A veteran sheriff’s deputy recently took UB law students and faculty on a tour of human trafficking — the equivalent of modern-day slavery — during a troubling presentation that set forth some legal and practical tools for bringing traffickers to justice.

[…]

The crime, Fildes said, is largely one of the sexual exploitation of girls, women and boys. “Where does the sex-trafficking business thrive? Everywhere,” she said. “There is not one place that’s free from it. It’s in suburban neighborhoods, large cities, hamlets and villages, rural farmland. And many times law enforcement as well as attorneys don’t know what to look for. It is the second-largest moneymaking crime in the world. Drug trafficking is No. 1, human trafficking is No. 2, weapons are No. 3.”

image courtesy of the UB Reporter

image courtesy of the UB Reporter

[…]

The stories are heartbreaking, and Fildes said it’s important for police and attorneys to know the power dynamics involved: Fearful victims don’t always tell the truth. She told of one incident on Grand Island in which officers observed a traffic violation and stopped a car with two men and, in the back seat, a “frightened-looking girl” whose winter coat didn’t quite conceal the lingerie she wore underneath. The officer radioed for backup and, Fildes said, did the right thing — removed the young woman from the situation before questioning her. “If you ask a question in front of the traffickers, she’ll say nothing happened,” the deputy said. “Don’t ask one question in the vehicle. Many of these girls have already witnessed beatings, if they haven’t been beaten themselves.”

[…]

“The worst of the worst kind of crime is the kind where you take a person’s voice away from them, their freedom, and the simple choices that we take for granted. We want to give them a voice and we want to assist them through the process. But this takes a lot of work and this work is not easy. It’s very time-consuming, difficult work, and it’s very emotional.”

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the UB Reporter website http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/campus/campus-host-page.host.html/content/shared/university/news/ub-reporter-articles/stories/2014/April/human_trafficking.detail.html

Ilene Fleischmann writes for the UB Reporter.