The Variety of Human Trafficking by Mackenzie Kellar

As I listened to Anthony Talbott talk on Monday evening, I was surprised to learn of some of his main points. I think people have different definitions of human trafficking, but Talbott’s definition was chilling and straightforward: “the buying and selling of human beings.” Many have heard of this, but they are unaware of how often and how close to home these horrible atrocities actually occur. Many, too, are unaware of the many types of things that are classified as human trafficking. Forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking are the universal types of human trafficking. He also brought to our attention that a human need not be physically transported for it to be considered human trafficking; trafficking can happen in a victim’s own backyard. I think this is something many people don’t consider.

Talbott stated that, although mostly women and children fall victim to trafficking, males do as well. Many people are forced, tricked, or even threatened into situations. They are often lured in with the promise of work opportunities, false romantic involvement, offers in exchange for sex, or even by being kidnapped. This, to me, is sickening; human beings taking advantage of fellow human beings. This goes to show how many see others as lesser than them, and that “slavery” is still an issue in today’s society. Many tend to think that these things don’t occur anymore, or that they only occur in other countries, but Talbott went on to show us that trafficking is even happening here in Ohio. As horrible as it is, there are not many ways to completely abolish these atrocities, at least not right away. Activists are raising awareness and calling people to action, but it will take more than just that. We learned that trafficking brings in about $32 billion annually, and I was dumbfounded. I had no idea that this was still such a huge issue and part of today’s society. I think Talbott did a great job of informing all of us on such a huge topic, and he got his point across very well.

I also really enjoyed hearing from Sara McKinnon on Thursday as she shared a chapter from her book, “Standing in Her Shoes: Transnational Politics in U.S. Asylum Policy for Chines Opposing Population Control.” It was very interesting to hear her view on this topic. She covered things I wasn’t even aware of and raised many questions. It was also really neat that we were some of the first people who had the privilege of hearing an excerpt from her book. I think all of the speakers did a very nice job of getting their messages across and getting all of our minds thinking of ways we can help with these huge issues. I really enjoyed learning, more in depth, about human trafficking and beyond.