Starting in February 2012, State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans intern Michelle Sham will be reporting on the issue of human trafficking, an issue that has often been associated with foreign populations or countries.
It is our hope that this blog series will help shatter myths about human trafficking, provide an alternative view of the realities of this grave human injustice, and to offer information that can aid in catalyzing social action against human trafficking.
The Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans is making a great effort to create awareness in human trafficking issues in Minnesota especially in our Asian Pacific communities. Human trafficking is a very complicated problem that outrages us all, yet it is not easy to understand or to solve. However, it is not impossible either.
Solutions have to start with awareness of the problem and an understanding of the complexities of human trafficking. For this reason, I will be writing a multi-part blog series on human trafficking.
• Minnesota has become one of the thirteen most heavily sex and slavery trafficked states in the United States.
• Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It involves the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them for labor or commercial sexual purposes.
• Children and women are the most vulnerable to trafficking. 50% of trafficked victims are children.
• Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, and it is very apparent in our state of Minnesota.
Topics that will be covered in this blog series:
• Human Trafficking affecting the Asian community in Minnesota
• How the trafficking business works
• Human trafficking and healthcare
• Legislative issues around human trafficking
• Updates on people and organizations working to stop human trafficking
Awareness, as a starting point, can bring about many important bottom-up changes. First of all, because victims are usually hidden and brought around our neighborhoods quietly, awareness in the community can help people identify victims, and point them to the direction of the help they need.
It also educates people on their rights. The awareness of rights not only encourages members of our Asian community to be more civically and politically active, it also reduces a victim’s vulnerability helping them to act against their perpetrators who will blackmail or coerce them into forced labor or prostitution.
Most importantly, great awareness can lead politicians and legislators to take this issue of human trafficking more seriously and act on it. Awareness can create the public discourse needed to state that human trafficking must not and will not be tolerated in our communities.
To learn more about human trafficking, please read next week’s post of the series which will touch on the issue of human trafficking within the Asian community in Minnesota.
Brian Kao is a Research Analyst at the State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. For information emaik [email protected] or call 651-757-1742.