Home for a Victim

Andrew Orozco, Arizona State University – Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Sex trafficking. Few crimes match its level of depravity and violation of human dignity. So many people fall victim to it. Women, children, and even men are all potential targets. Young people from troubled backgrounds in particular, are vulnerable[1]. Predators come into their lives; lure them in with incentives such as wealth, romance, and others[2]. Once they have their victims where they want them, they utilize various methods to keep hold of them. It is not just through physical abuse. Methods such as psychological pressure, bondage debt, and fraud to name a few are utilized as well[3]. The victims that are lucky enough to survive this ordeal still have another challenge ahead. The victims have to begin the long process of recovering from the trauma experienced from it. For some, the ordeal goes on to last the rest of their lives. Roughly 100,000 to 300,000 American youth alone are at risk of sexual exploitation every year[4].
No one would deny that not a single person should go through such an experience. The lives involved, the moral imperative, and America’s social identity to be against it demand justice. Because of this, it is important society support these victims just as much as it is willing to put the monsters responsible behind bars. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. About 82% of sex trafficking victims on probation in Maricopa County alone are addicted to drugs or alcohol[5]. We see instances where victims who are rescued, end up going back to the same lifestyle out of necessity or other reasons[6]. Food, shelter, opportunity, and intangible support needed to get through this experience are all needed.

Helpful ways to ensure that these resources are going to their needed destination include sufficient supply to meet the particular population as well as to institute the procedures to lead these victims to these resources. As the VERA institute helps show, identifying these victims is not easy and requires certain approaches[7].

While resource scarcity will always be an issue society faces, it must not forget to stand by those that we in good conscience cannot abandon.

[1] http://www.endsextrafficking.az.gov/about-human-trafficking.html

[2] http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/sex-trafficking-in-the-us

[3] http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/sex-trafficking-in-the-us

[4] http://www.endsextrafficking.az.gov/about-human-trafficking.html

[5] http://www.endsextrafficking.az.gov/about-human-trafficking.html

[6] See Sherri L. Zack & Ruben Perez, Challenges in Federal Sex Trafficking Prosecution, Hous. Law., September/October 2012, at 18, 19.

[7] Vera Institute of Justice. Guidelines for Administering Trafficking Victim Identification Tool. Page 3. http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/resources/downloads/human-trafficking-identification-tool-and-user-guidelines.pdf

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