NC prime destination for human trafficking?

Rachel Braver

November 17, 2009 10:15:25 PM PST
The case of Shaniya Davis is shedding light on the problem of human trafficking in North Carolina.The death of 5-year-old Davis and the serious charges her mother faces is shocking to many, but perhaps even more shocking is the number of children in the country it happens to every year.

There's an estimate that says 200,000 American children are at risk for being trafficked into the sex industry every single year.

Rachel Braver works with the statewide task force called RIPPLE, which addresses human trafficking.

"It's estimated that 600,000 people to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year," Braver said. "North Carolina has several factors that might make it a prime destination for traffickers to prey on victims."

Legal experts say one of the reasons North Carolina is a prime location for human trafficking is because of all the major highways that crisscross the state and the big role agriculture plays in the state.

The agriculture history in North Carolina would be a place for labor exploitation and the tourism industry on the coast. Officials say they might see some labor trafficking in the hotels or restaurants there.

Braver says there's also a high number of cases of trafficking among immigrants working against their will and the high military presence in the state also plays a role.

"That's not to say that the military causes trafficking, but often around military bases there is an increase for commercial sexual activity," Braver said. "So where there is the demand for that the traffickers will provide the supply."

But through tougher legislation, marches, and training of local officials, many say there is hope that supply of human traffic can be cut down so lives can be saved.

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