Thursday marks Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a moment where we raise awareness for the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. One Republican representative from Illinois is using the day to reveal the strides he is taking to combat the sinister crime.
Adam Kinzinger, a U.S. representative for Illinois’ 16th congressional district, published a blog on Tuesday detailing his plans to combat human trafficking, a rampant problem in the state.
“The real life horrors of forced human labor can be hard to wrap our heads around, and it’s something many people might wish to ignore or avoid because it is so heinous,” Kinzinger wrote. “But human trafficking is happening and it contributes to other crimes in our community, making it a public safety concern as well.”
In his piece, Kinzinger references the Reducing the Demand for Human Trafficking Act, legislation he introduced along with Illinois Rep. Kelly Robin designed to specifically attack the “demand” side of human trafficking by allowing local and state law enforcement to track down and arrest buyers.
Kinzinger noted that he also joined Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee in introducing the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond to Health and Wellness Act.
The SOAR Act is designed to support training of healthcare workers to better identify victims of the crime and provide them with the best care possible, according to the Illinois representative.
“I believe these pieces of legislation can have a significant impact towards identifying cases of human trafficking and helping the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals from this evil crime,” Kinzinger added. “Having resources is imperative, but these measures will also help bring the victims much needed and deserved justice by further holding the perpetrators accountable.”
The Illinois representative also called on the local community to help raise awareness for the signs of human trafficking.
“Education is critical in combating a crime like this, and our awareness could save a life,” he stated. “By addressing this issue together, we can put an end to trafficking here at home and around the world.”
Kinzinger is one of many high-profile individuals to do their part in stopping the crime that generates over $150 billion yearly.
As noted by The Western Journal, famed actor Ashton Kutcher spoke in front of Congress in February 2017 to talk about his anti-trafficking efforts.
“My day job is as the chairman and co-founder of Thorn,” Kutcher told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Thorn is a non-profit organization that produces “software to fight human trafficking in the sexual exploitation of children,” according to Kutcher.
The International Labour Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims globally, according to the Polaris Project.
“There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated,” the website states.
The Polaris Project adds that over 31,600 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
However, as noted by The A21 Campaign, only 1% of human trafficking victims worldwide are ever rescued.
To report suspected instances of human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-(888)-373-7888, or submit an anonymous tip online at the National Human Trafficking Hotline website.
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