On 11/15/2016, Christopher Horton of the "United Against Human Trafficking" (UAHT) organization spoke to the Magnolia Rotary Club about the immense problem the U.S. and the world has with Human Trafficking. Pictured in the above photo is Christopher Horton.
Mr. Horton explained that the "United Against Human Trafficking" organization is a local non-profit organization that works with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to end human trafficking. The orginization gets some funding from both state and federal agencies but mainly depends on large sponsors to fund their efforts.
Mr. Horton showed both a short film and went through a slide presentation to explain what human trafficking is as well as what an immense problem it is. He also explained the the U.S. Government now has a "Blue Campaign" that is the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security‚Äôs (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice. In addition, he defined human trafficking as forced prostitution, stripping and pornography and labor exploitation including domestic servitude (maids/nannies), sweatshop factories, traveling sales crews or migrant agricultural work.
Mr. Horton told everyone that in the year 2000, the "Trafficking Victims Protection Act" was passed by the U.S. Congress. This Act defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons" as:
  1. SEX TRAFFICKING: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a commercial sex act that is induced by force, fraud or coercion; or when the person forced t0 perform such an act is under the age of 18 years; or
  2. LABOR TRAFFICKING: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Mr. Horton then gave the following statistics about human trafficking:
  1. 450,000 victims trafficked in the U.S.
  2. 83,000 victims trafficked in the state of Texas.
  3. 20,000 victims trafficked in the city of Houston, Texas.
  4. It is estimated that 21 million people in the world are in forced labor situations.
  5. It is estimated that the annual estimated profit for human trafficking is $150 billion.
  6. Of all victims, 45% are male and 55% are female.
  7. Of all victims, 74% are adults and 26% are children under the age of 18.
Mr. Horton then explained how human trafficking happens in real life:
  1. Force - the physical method to manipulate and control victims through starvation, rape, and physical & sexual abuse.
  2. Fraud - the false offers that induce people into human trafficking situations through false romantic relationships, debt bondage, or placement in a job other than what was promised.
  3. Coercion - the threats compelling an individual to remain in a situation through deportation threats, blackmail, I.D. confiscation, or threats against family members.
Mr. Horton then told everyone the "red flags" that help to identify a trafficking victim:
  1. Fearful
  2. Lack of control
  3. Overly submissive
  4. Evidence og physical abuse
  5. Accompanied by a controlling person
  6. Debt owed to employer
  7. Inability to leave job or living situation
Mr. Horton then told everyone if they see anything like the above to never intervene by themselves as traffickers are dangerous! Instead, they should report the situation to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline at: 1-888-3737-888. Also if someone wants to volunteer at the UAHT, they can email the UAHT at "VOLUNTEER@UAHT.ORG". The website for UAHT is "www.uaht.org".
Mr. Horton then took questions from the membership and provided answers.