Human trafficking crisis in Black communities – The Reporter


Tens of thousands of Black women and Black men are missing, and no one is doing anything about it, said the Jacksonville, Fla., section of the National Council of Negro Women. Organ sales are also on the rise, they added.

Recently, I attended a webinar, “Crisis in Human Trafficking During the Pandemic,” hosted by the organization. The webinar’s purpose was to alert families of the rise in the trafficking of Black youth and collegiates during COVID-19 and provide them with information about human trafficking red flags.

During January, we are observing “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.” It is a time to recommit ourselves to doing everything possible to eradicate human trafficking, help those who have been victimized, and protect children at risk of being trafficked.

In 2019, I wrote that in 2020 we must have a conversation about the disturbingly disproportionate number of Black women and girls across the United States that have gone missing. I also mentioned that some of their bodies had been found with missing organs.

But then COVID-19 hit, devastating the lives of many families and our economy. The global pandemic required us in 2020 to redirect our focus and efforts toward meeting many unprecedented challenges.

However, at the same time, human trafficking increased 40 percent, said Thamecia Bullard, one of the webinar presenters and an expert in the financial crimes industry. As a society, we should care about anyone forced into an inhumane situation like human trafficking. However, data shows the media and law enforcement continue to dismiss the Black community’s cases, leaving their families behind to find answers and their loved ones on their own.

Social distancing and the closures of institutions didn’t decrease the number of human trafficking victims. Bullard stated the human trafficking industry has remained a multi-billion-dollar, large-scaled operation since the pandemic.

Young people are online more because of school closures and other institutions. Many of them are alone most of the time rather than with their friends, adhering to social distancing. Families are facing financial hardship from jobs lost during COVID-19 and may be distracted.

Kruzshander Scott, a seasoned investigator in human trafficking, during her presentation said that many Black boys and Black girls are being forced into either sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or both. They are victims of organ trafficking. In South Africa, a heart or lung sells for $290,000 each.

Scott also pointed out that children have been trafficked by an intimate partner at 30.4 percent during the pandemic, while social media contact is 28.4 percent. Perpetrators lure children through social media and gift card exchange, Paypal, and Cash app. Recent studies also reveal that as many as half of the sex trafficking victims and survivors are male.

Here’s something else. Human traffickers include cancer surgeons, family, church members, and grandmothers. Some business owners conduct human trafficking right out of their legal businesses.
Therefore, our state and local governments, community leaders, and each of us must pay attention to what is going on in our country concerning human trafficking.

During the pandemic, I received an email from an African-American young woman who saw my 2019 article about human trafficking. She agreed the conversation about missing Black women and girls has stopped.

I was also contacted by a reporter from Europe’s Sky News media who also saw my article about missing Black women and girls, requesting information.

We are still facing major challenges in 2021. However, we must address with persistent urgency the thousands of missing young Black Americans in the United States being lured into human trafficking.

— The Vacaville author is a social issues advocate. E-mail: damitchell@earthlink.net



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