Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

We walked to end Human Trafficking in DC. Photo: Tonya Fitzpatrick

“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”

– Moorish proverb

Human trafficking is a global epidemic and one of the fastest growing crimes around the world.  It is the darker side of travel that exploits people of all genders, ethnicities, ages and socio-economic classes for sex and/or indenture servitude.

Sex tourism, a result of human trafficking, is evident in places where prostitution is legal and it is common during major sporting events where adults and children are transported into communities for illegal sexual pleasure.

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The crime of human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 billion/year industry and it is not solely a third-world issue.  It is a modern slavery crime that touches every country in the world.  People are moved illegally from country to country, including developed countries like the United States, under the guise of traveling with a relative on holiday.

Understanding the many dimensions of human trafficking and hearing stories from survivors can make travelers more aware of things to look for and questions to ask when they believe people are being exploited. That is why we are sharing these stories.

  • Imagine a seven-year-old girl, spending her days not in school, but cooking and cleaning for a family in a wealthy suburb. Or a young mother struggling to make ends meet, lured away from her children by an employment agency and forced into sex work abroad. For millions of people, this is a reality.

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  • It is easy to think that with over 60,000 mobility restrictions imposed over the world during the pandemic, it would be more difficult for smugglers to continue operating. Believing that such restrictions and the existence of the pandemic would deter smuggling activities is a far-reaching notion. Migrants continue to seek different routes to get to their dreamland while smugglers continue to take on interested migrants to try and smuggle them across borders. Smuggling hasn’t changed but the cost solicited by smugglers to migrants has. The smuggling fee has increased amid stricter cross border movement installed by countries to reduce and curb the spread of the pandemic. The situation has made countries focus more on smuggling routes as a strategy to completely lockdown the pandemic spread from illegal migration. The Cost of “Freedom” Migrants are paying more to smugglers for bypassing the stricter restriction to get them into the new lands. [...]

  • When The Slave Trade Act passed in Parliament on March 25, 1807, the United Kingdom effectively abolished the slave trade throughout the British Empire, but slavery continued. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 had made it illegal for British subjects to buy or sell slaves, or otherwise be involved in the trade. Many, however, simply evaded its restrictions. Slave ships were regularly fitted out in British ports like Liverpool or Bristol.  The institution of slavery fell 26 years later with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.  It was the Protestant evangelicals led by the Quakers who were at the forefront of leading the fight to end slavery and the trade. The United Kingdom, at an economic disadvantage, began to press its trading partners to end slavery as well. In 1820, the United States outlawed the trade, but again, not the institution. Outlawed today in nearly all countries, [...]

  • Today we will share the legacies of two individuals who have put themselves on the frontlines in the fight against the crimes of drug and human trafficking. Robert Mazur served 27 years as a Federal Special Agent for the IRS, Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.  Five of those years were spent under-cover as Bob Musella, a high-rolling mob-connected big shot who infiltrated the criminal hierarchy of Colombia’s drug cartels.  Bob’s aka Robert Mazur 's under-cover stings proved critical in the conviction of General Manuel Noriega and helped cripple an international multi-billion money laundering outfit that served drug lords like Pablo Escobar.  His book, The Infiltrator, provides vivid and nail-biting details about his life in the criminal under-world, including events that led to a $500,000 contract being placed on his head. The book tells the story of how Mazur helped bring down the unscrupulous bankers who manipulated complex international finance [...]

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  • World Footprints will present two powerful stories of survival from unlikely human trafficking victims and how they’re using their ordeals to support other victims and raise awareness about this elusive crime.  We will also share the story of a former Peace Corp volunteer whose experience inspired the development of a new community-based adventure travel resource. Holly Smith is not what many think a human trafficking survivor would look like.  She’s a blond American and was raised in a middle-class two parent home.  But when Holly was only 14 years old she was taken from her home planted immediately into the sex trade.  The trafficking incident was traumatic enough but Holly was also traumatized by the lack of support she received from law enforcement and social services after she escaped. Stacy Jewel Lewis was a 19 year old student and aspiring actress when she was abducted by an elderly man who [...]

  • Imagine being on the path of qualifying for the 1996 US Olympic Track and Field Team as a hurdler after becoming a 3-time All-American at the University of Arkansas to suffering a devastating injury that would lead to the loss of your leg.  Through faith and family, John Register overcame that devastating loss-- first to compete as a Paralympic swimmer in the 1996 Atlanta games and to win a Silver Medal as a long jumper in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney Australia.  John’s story of “Hurdling Adversity” is an inspirational one he will share with World Footprints today.    Then, there are travel guide books that advise you on the places to see, eat and stay but very few guide you through the history of a destination or inspire an appreciation of a place.  However, a new book co-written by History Professor Victor Silverman called California: On the Road [...]

  • World Footprints will take listeners on a journey that follows the North Star today through Polaris Project.  Many Americans are familiar with the slave revolts led by John Brown and Nat Turner, but the story of the greatest act of slave resistance in American history took place in 1811 and has remained largely untold, until now.  Daniel Rasmussen, acclaimed author of American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt has pulled back the curtain on a long-neglected period in New Orleans and he joins World Footprints to discuss his research and provide a glimpse into the history of slavery in the South and our nation’s path to Civil War. Then, Bradley Myles, Executive Director and CEO of Polaris Project joins World Footprints.  Named after the North Star that guided slaves towards freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project has been providing a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking [...]