Letter to Students: Awareness of Human Trafficking

Kimberly Reese, Guest Writer

Dear Student Body:

As you grow up, there are some ways you stay out of harm. By looking behind you and checking your surroundings. But, there are some where looking around was not enough. Where life took a turn for the worse and looking around welcomed them to a predator.They were pulled in by strong hand and kind words. But the kind words are now the ones harming them. The strong hands are now the ones that are trafficking them. In Wisconsin, human trafficking is starkly rising which means more people are undergoing physical and psychological trauma. We can stop Wisconsin from being the “pimp capital.”

While many believe that human trafficking should be known, there are some that believe that human trafficking should be kept in the dark as it would increase the amount of victims and escalate the situation. While many have this thought, bringing light to human trafficking will bring the amount of victims down as it is steeply growing. Human trafficking has increased by 73 percent in Wisconsin alone from 2016 to 2017; in 2017 there were 91 cases reported from 2016 where 66 cases reported. This spike in cases in Wisconsin shows that the increase in cases is partly attributed to not doing anything about this problem. By making the problem known, victims will not be victims anymore. The National Human Trafficking Hotline says that, there has been a gradual increase in years previous to 2016; however, recently, there has been a spike in cases and this will keep happening until we make this problem known. There has been 557 calls in 2017 nationwide and 8,524 calls reported in 2017. By trying to conquer this issue in Wisconsin, we could save countless lives and possibly inspire other states to conquer this battle against modern day slavery. Slavery is illegal in the United States for a reason, don’t let modern day slavery grow unnoticed as it is right now. Don’t let this endless cycle increase as it now.

In a society where we are growing to try and treat mental illnesses, letting human trafficking go on is rectifying the progress that we are making in in mental health as psychological trauma is a major part in human trafficking.. Shandra Woworuntu, a victim of sex trafficking, was forced into a sex trafficking ring and managed to escape. She recounts the psychological effects that still take a toll in her life. Her relationships with men are no longer the same. She sees a therapist every week and every other week, she goes to refill her antidepressants. Smells of whiskey and sounds of ringtones make her stiff with fear. Random faces jump out as she thinks they are an old captor. The psychological trauma that she has sustained is only one of the cases; however, her cases iare subdued in the form of trauma compared to the other girls around her. She was extraordinarily compliant with her traffickers and most others have defied their captors demands and were beat more often than Shandra was. She is lucky to get out of the system, and those who are lucky enough to get out of the system are never truly free due to the trauma that has taken over their lives.  Many experts have done research, such as expert Kaylor, saying, “Victims who have been rescued from sexual slavery, typically present with various psychological symptoms and mental illnesses, including the following: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety, Panic disorder, Suicidal ideation, Stockholm Syndrome, and Substance abuse”. These conditions and need to be helped regardless of if they are a part of a bigger problem or not. The fact that it makes up an enormous part of this problem makes it much more worthwhile. Keep other from having to endure nightmares that other cannot dream of.

In a world where we strive to keep people out of harms way no matter the cost, letting a woman get raped everyday should be stopped. Letting a child make decisions that none should make should be stopped. Those who traffick use physical force as their main tactic to keep their victims in check. Some tactics include starvation, rape, beatings, and gang rape. The harm does not always come from the traffickers themselves, sometimes is comes from those who are purchasing sex acts. The most common injuries include concussions, broken bones, brain trauma, and burns. Victims may experience health problems that come from forced comercial sex acts. Victims can suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, miscarriages, menstrual irregularities and pain, and forced abortions amid other problems . The beating of not performing well is a constant cycle as one cannot perform as well injured which leads to getting beaten more until they can’t take another.The cycle still continues even after they are liberated as they still feel an ache in their bones for someone too young. They still feel their scars when it rains for someone in a completely different war. We can prevent this before it happens by solving the ongoing war of human trafficking. Throughout the world, anonymous people are sharing their human trafficking stories, one stating “The last time I saw him, he was just beating me until he was absolutely tired. I was covered in bruises, my face was completely disfigured and it’s causing me issue with my back to this day because of the way he was beating me and torturing me. That was probably the worst. There was a client in the room and he was having an issue with something I couldn’t do because I was all beat up. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do anything.” There are countless stories of those who were beaten and escaped or were rescued from their traffickers, but there are too many who do no get out from this life and suffer a worse fate. If we take care of this problem, we can save more people from this life and stop the problem before it starts.

All things considered, the victims of human trafficking are rising which means there are more people undergoing psychological and physical trauma. Keep our society from feeling the effect of the harsh conditions and the exploitation of those in human trafficking. We need to make this problem known to keep a multitude people from being harmed and stop the spike in trafficking. Keep children from having to worry. Keep your state safe. Keep your city safe. Keep your neighborhood safe. Keep families safe.


Kimberly Reese, freshman