Reframing Immigration: This election, consider victims of human trafficking
Joseph Hughes, Class of 2015
April 26, 2012
Filed under Quill
America is known as the land of the free and the home of the brave, founded upon the ideas that all people are born free and deserving of “the pursuit of happiness.” Recently in the upcoming 2012 elections the issue of immigration has been brought to the forefront. This is a normal dialogue that we are used to as Americans. Each election cycle it is guaranteed that the issue of immigration will be raised.
Yet, what if the problem were to be reframed? What if we were to call attention away from immigration as an economic problem, to a humanitarian problem?
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that there are approximately 27 million slaves world-wide, with an estimated 10,000 slaves within the United States at any given time. UNODC has stated that there are 127 host countries, 98 transit countries (such as Mexico), and 137 destination countries for human trafficking. With the average cost of a human being around $90 dollars and the overall profit of human trafficking generating over $32 Billion dollars (second only to weapon and drug trafficking), it is an extremely profitable business.
These slaves are crossing the U.S.-Mexican border with their masters in order to find a market. But even once these slaves escape the torture that they are experiencing they don’t find the freedom they are looking for.
On April 11th, CUA had the opportunity to listen to the stories of three Ethiopian women who were victims of human trafficking. Each of these women had the same end to their story: they are not free. California’s Immigration Officers imprisoned one of the women for 55 days. None of these women have documentation stating that they are U.S. citizens, nor do they have worker’s permits. These are not isolated incidents; these are a few of many stories that span the entire United States.
It is obvious that immigration reform is needed. Perhaps, the focus should be turned away from illegal immigration to responding to the influx of human trafficking victims and how to best respond and combat it. With the 2012 elections approaching quickly I would ask that you keep in mind the immigration policies of each of the candidates and its unintended consequences.