Sex trafficking a problem near and far away

In The Wall Street Journal, I write today in a letter to the editor that sex trafficking is a problem everywhere:

I commend Sohrab Ahmari for helping to raise awareness of the gruesome enslavement practices by Islamic State in “Helping the Escaped Slaves of ISIS” (op-ed, Nov. 24). However, when your readers learn about the many women and children who are kept in bondage in Iraq and Syria, it is important to remember that deprivation of liberty and property isn’t merely a distant phenomenon halfway around the world. Human trafficking is also a serious problem in our own backyard.

Those who are trafficked in the Western world are, similar to the slaves of Islamic State, often subject to sexual violence. Because of its secretive nature, nobody knows for certain exactly how many people are trafficked for sexual exploitation. But low, conservative estimates suggest that we are talking about at least several thousand individuals every year in the U.S. alone—and the figure in Europe is probably in the same range. Victims of slavery, in countries far away as well as in our local neighborhoods, deserve greater attention and much better support.

Read it here, too.

Simon Hedlin

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