With recent news recently breaking about a couple that forced a 14 year-old girl into prostitution, it is becoming more and more visible that human trafficking is present and happening in Orange County.
Human trafficking includes both sex and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking is selling one’s body by force, and if it’s a minor, it is someone sold for sex, no matter the conditions. Labor trafficking, on the other hand, involves workers without fair wages and rights.
Professor Sandra Morgan of the Global Center for Women & Justice has devoted much of her work towards the cause and bringing awareness to the community about human trafficking.
“[My husband and I] went overseas for twenty-some years, and then I came back to Orange County. When we were serving in Greece, I learned about human trafficking happening in the Western World… the birthplace of democracy. I was horrified,” Morgan said.
The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OHTTF), which Morgan has worked with in previous years, has served over 300 victims of human trafficking since 2004.
The man and woman convicted of putting a 14 year-old girl into sex trafficking is the first case of human trafficking since the passing of Proposition 35, the ban on human trafficking and sex slavery. The ban increases sentences for offenders and creates stronger punishments against them.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of State released that 1 million children are exploited and put into the sex trade worldwide every year. Seventy percent of females in human trafficking are in the sex trade, meaning that the other 30 percent are in labor trafficking.
“We, as a community, need to be aware so we can prevent and protect,” Morgan said, “When people want to fight human trafficking, they think that they need to go to India… they can go to their dorm and convince every young person there to abstain from pornography.”
Thirty-two percent of porn searches are by girls, meaning that males are not the only culprits of promoting sex trafficking and pornography.
It is not just females who are involved with pornography and the sex industry. One study showed that the most conservative states had the highest pornography searches.
Despite all the studies regarding females and the church and pornography, Morgan still asks that men get involved with Women’s Studies and have everyone be accountable.
“The reason I want young men to be part of the Women’s Studies Minor, is I can teach girls all day long not to fall victim to be lured into online sex things, but as long as there is demand, they’ll just go find somebody else… this is really important that men stand up and [speak up] for this,” Morgan said.
There are currently two men in Morgan’s Human Trafficking class, but is also offering a class for the first summer session and is hoping for the class to be full.
For more information on human trafficking, subscribe to the podcast “Ending Human Trafficking” on iTunes or show up to the Live2Free club meetings, happening on Mondays at 10am in Heath 101.