Human Trafficking: We Are the Demand by Sarah Huffman

During this past week I had the opportunity to hear from several people, including graphic journalist Dan Archer and professor and activist Anthony Tallbot. And while we discussed many useful facts, statistics, and issues throughout the week, I started to discover something more and more unsettling as the discussion progressed: these perpetrators, ring leaders, and pimps are not manifestations of evil and wickedness. They all don’t share some monstrous face. They are, in other words, normal, every-day looking people. The act, therefore, of human trafficking isn’t due to irrational wantonness and psychopathy, but instead to simple capitalization by these ring leaders off of a profitable industry. And—like any industry—when there is a demand, there will be a supply to meet it. We are that demand.

We are the demand whether we realize it or not. The issue is that we, including many living in Ohio, tend to avoid thinking about where our products come from. Even though we know that the sources of many of our goods are questionable, we usually laugh it off and attribute it to the lazy and over-indulgent nature often associated with the American stereotype. However, by doing this, we lighten and ignore the very serious origin of how our goods are made. Although what I have discussed so far mainly pertains to labor trafficking, it can also apply to sex trafficking. There is a demand for that as well, and the stereotypes and jokes we make about sex trafficking do not help either. Through our actions and inactions we have effectively normalized and routinized human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery.