In our current world of executive orders and immigration bans where do survivors of human trafficking fit in? They seem to be caught up in both of these scenarios. Trying to work to provide for themselves can be risky for them if they are still on the waiting list for a T or U visa. How are they identified when ICE comes in? An immigrant, a criminal, here illegally NOT making America great again. With all of the education and awareness that is being done even with law enforcement, survivors are still not being identified, unless of course an actual trafficking ring is being investigated and even then….. How did we take ten steps back in protecting survivors?
It starts when a government doesn’t think that basic rights for women should be easily attainable. When women and girls begin to feel a deeper oppression, all of the safeguards that have been put in place to give them protection and rights begin to erode. Rolling back time to force a society to conform to a time when inequality and complete oppression of women and girls were the order of the day and men (White Men) were the ultimate superior race. The winds of change are suggesting a storm with catastrophic destruction and irreparable damage. The victims always, women and girls. Our weapons must be powerful, our resistance must be stronger.
One of the purposes of human trafficking is to look at women of any age as a commodity. They have no feelings, they have no humanity, therefore how can they possibly exist? They are something to be bought and sold and it is a scary thought that a government would feel the same way. What’s more unsettling is that they are categorizing them as common criminals using law enforcement to terrify and torture them. Keeping them in detention centers where they are ALWAYS at risk of being raped by a government officer or even tortured until they die-it depends on how the officers feels that day.
These are not things that people want to hear but they are happening. We are in a system that is spinning out of control and if you can’t hold on the blood in on you’re own hands. Survivors need extra protection, if they are waiting for legal status, papers, visas, work authorizations, they must have a pardon from the United States Government that shows they are a victim of human trafficking, however that looks like. This identification will help ICE know that these women and girls are not here illegally but that they are getting help and services and need to work. And even if they don’t have a work authorization they should at least be granted immunity. Arresting them and sending them back just re-traumatizes them making whatever progress that have made seem worthless. It also means that they could be re-trafficked again.
This doesn’t only stand for women and girls but also migrant workers who are labor trafficked into this country and are identified as such. In all labor sectors whether it’s, agricultural, restaurant industry, farms or street work (i.e. selling inexpensive DVDs or begging). There needs to be extra protections and immunity. These ICE raids and immigration bans are casting a blind net capturing a vulnerable population that thought they were being protected when in reality they are still being viewed as an undesirable.
This country has taken a frightening turn but we must still speak, advocate and fight for our basic freedoms and those that cannot fight for themselves. As the US heads towards marshall law and civil unrest, boots on the ground are still working and even if the government shuts us down we still keep working and never stop. Always keep your ID in hand and your basic human rights in your words.