Humanity is a Jungle. Broadly looking at America we live in we see peace, prosperity, and happiness. Looking deeper down, however, we come to notice the imperfections: unemployment, racial and gender discrimination, and mistreatment. Moreover, when further diving into our country, we see an issue many of us neglect to realize is still present, slavery. From 2007-2015, there has been nearly 26,000 reported cases of human trafficking in America. The country has had deep, cultural roots in slavery. Throughout the history of the nation, slavery has forever been present, with Anglo-Saxons claiming superiority over their racially different counterparts. These slaves were considered animals, below lower-class, inhumane. Continuing today, many continue the practice in order to create a profit and it is all happening under our noses. As an entity that boasts about its democratic system and equality for all, the question must be asked.
“Why has slavery still been prominent in America?”
2015 to 2007 Statistics on the reported types of human trafficking in America.
Undoubtedly, the treatment of slaves reflects on how controlling and abusive people are. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who learned how to read and write and later became an abolitionist, detailed these horrors in his writings in the book, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In it, Douglass specifically describes how
“…food was coarse corn meal boiled. This was called mush. It was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set down upon the ground. The children were then called, like so many pigs…”
An example of a type of trough these kids would hurriedly gather around in a fight for food.
Thinking of themselves as rulers over the supposed “uncivilized and barbaric,” slave-owners treated them as they saw them, animals. How one could think of such superiority and dominance, is unanswerable. This, however, is the root of the problem that attempts to justify slavery. This idea that just because some are of a different color makes them inferior is a huge problem still seen today, with many people having cultural roots filled with racism and racial superiority. Thus, they treat them like animals (like how the kids Frederick Douglass saw) and give little-to-no respect for the health or well being.
Slavery never left the United States since it was deemed illegal by the Thirteenth Amendment, it has adapted and is living and breathing right under our noses. Robert Evans spoke to a girl who wanted to remain anonymous and discussed things she learned and saw as a sex slave in America. The article was recently written in 2014, proving how really nothing has changed in terms of slavery today. The anonymous girl spoke about how she was forced and controlled by her parents into doing lewd acts and joining prostitution. Not only did she have no other option, it was the money that caused her parents to become so evil. She described how many of the victims were runaways or had terrible parents who were
“…invisible, as far as mainstream society goes. That’s how this stuff hides; I was a chameleon good student and industrious worker with various part-time jobs, with a secret life in forced prostitution.”
This idea could be analogized by a river filled with piranha’s in the Amazon. Most of society judge people by first glance and since this girl appeared smart, productive, and a “good girl,” they thought everything was fine. However, society doesn’t realize what’s hiding below; she was forced into prostitution and is being sexually abused and others couldn’t see that. Likewise, at first glance a river in the Amazon doesn’t seem very harmful when glancing at the surface. However, if one were to dive deeper down, they would then realize the horrors and monstrosities of the piranha that live below. This struggle to distinguish actual victims who are involved in slavery is another reason why it’s still prevalent today.
Society’s inability to distinguish a victim of slavery is like piranha invested waters in the Amazon.
In today’s world, looking into the basics we live under a barter system of money for labor. However, many people would rather obtain free labor and pocket the money that would’ve gone to the worker. The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives calls from a portion of current victims who succeeded in contacting for escape. In their 2015 survey, labor trafficking made up the second highest type of trafficking at 13%.
2015 Statistics for the Types of Human Trafficking in America.
A woman from Indonesia, Ima Matul, is a victim of slave labor and describes how she found herself stuck in it and the terror that came along with it to an article by CNN. She was promised pay in America as a nanny and a second opportunity at life. However, she soon came to realize that she had gone into slave labor when she wasn’t paid for her services. She details that when she tried to leave,
“She [Owner of house] was threatening me, saying that if I ran away, the police would arrest me because I didn’t have my passport, and that I’d be thrown in jail where I’d be raped.”
CNN later talks about the other methods of slave labor in America like having children sell products, immigrants work in hotels, and workers for restaurants. Our greed for acquiring wealth and saving profits led some to take advantage of others at expense of their freedom.
The only solution to ending this issue is by others helping push for the end of human trafficking and slavery in America, pressure the government to make change, and to report whenever something seems wrong. Currently, there is a bill in Congress that calls for the government to lead an effort to end modern day slavery. It proposed to create a nonprofit corporation called the End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation which would:
“…work collaboratively with government, civil society, and private institutions in partner countries and key jurisdictions of other countries with a high prevalence of modern slavery to identify and fund successful strategies to combat modern slavery.”
It has made no amendments and is still very open to discussion. Citizens should push the government into passing the bill in order to have a strong hand in helping end the issue and bring more public knowledge to it. If more people were to voice their opinions on the subject and report anything suspicious, slavery could be extinguished from the country.
Voters at the poll trying to make a difference in the country by voting.
In America’s Jungle, slavery has found it’s place in taking advantage of the weak. Things like thirst for wealth, ideas of one being greater than another, and cultural problems that have been part of the country for generations , have allowed slavery to run free today. However, it is never too late for one to take action and end this issue once and for all. The only way slavery and human trafficking will end in the United States is if you, the reader, call for change and vocalize about the issues.