Should the United States government, given the current, depressed economic state, increase efforts to investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes and increase funding to victims through protection services?

Trafficking in Persons Report 2009:

Hilary Clinton’s Trafficking in Persons Report of 2009, is an institutional government source that attacks and grasps the issue of modern-day slavery. In her speech, Clinton addresses the growing issue at not only the national level, but at the global level. Clinton calls for partnership with other nations to form strong government systems, effective resources, and deeper investigative processes to continue toward the elimination of this problem. Trafficking is a global problem that Clinton believes should be brought immediately to the public’s attention.  In her speech, Clinton honors the 10th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the United Nations Protocol which acknowledges the issue of trafficking as a worldwide concern in need of immediate attention. Clinton’s speech, delivered on June 16, 2009, addresses Obama’s current plan to promote prevention and awareness. It also addresses the Trafficking in Persons Report set up by the Obama Administration to accurately detail information about trafficking and prevention around the world.

This video is an appropriate representation of human trafficking because Clinton not only addresses how the issue is demanding attention today and Obama’s intention to fight it, but she also reflects on her own experience with trafficked survivors from all over the world. Her emotional connection to this subject makes this video both compassionate and convincing. The photos that are included in the short video coincide with Clinton’s speech and unite an emotional attachment between the viewer and the issue.

This video is posted on the U.S. Department of State Diplomacy in Action website. It was posted by the government with the intent to raise awareness of human trafficking to the general public and state the government’s actions for prevention.

Very Young Girls Video:

GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) is an institutional source and a non-profit organization that provides empowerment and encouragement to young, female trafficked victims and survivors. This short video was created and directed by Rachel Lloyd, the founder of GEMS. The intent of the full length documentary, Very Young Girls, which was aired on Showtime in 2009, is to follows the lives, struggles and progression of several teen trafficking victims. Throughout the entire documentary you walk alongside the teen girls as they search for hope, help and success. Lloyd follows and encourages the girls to rise above and empower themselves with the worth and love they deserve. Sometimes the girls succeed, and other times they do not.  

Filmed in the streets of New York, this video is real, raw and a heart wrenching glimpse of the reality of sex trafficking in America. The purpose of this video is to create awareness and instill a truth about the sex slave industry to the many undaunted American citizens. In an article written by Marcia G. Yerman about Rachel Lloyd and her non-profit organization, Lloyd shares the story of a teenage girl who was saved after seeing the film Very Young Girls. Lloyd told Yerman about Stacy, a girl who had been forcefully trafficked and beaten for six years and who was living in constant fear. She had always thought there was no way out, nowhere to go, but after watching Very Young Girls on Showtime, she learned that there was a way out. That same night she ran away to GEMS and was saved.

This documentary video and other videos like it are a necessity for bringing change to this growing issue. The girls are real victims and survivors, their faces are shown and their words are genuine. When the public sees something real, the faces of the pimps and the devastation of the young girls, a force of compassion and anger will likely overwhelm most viewers. When the public sees this crime playing out in familiar parts of their own country that is when the true realization is made. Human trafficking is occurring today in the security this democracy, the streets that we walk upon and in the comfort of our own backyards.