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A Silent Epidemic

With movies, books, and television shows all highlighting the rapid spread of human trafficking, it’s important to note one university’s response. Sound of Freedom, dubbed by Vanity Fair as 2023’s most controversial film, opened many eyes to this devastating yet ever growing market. The dialogue behind the issue has been present for decades, but it seems this century is turning up the heat behind conversations – making more people aware of the issue.


Blue Campaign, a site dedicated to educating people on and ending human trafficking, breaks down the issue, 


“Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use the following methods to lure victims into trafficking situations: Violence; Manipulation; False promises of well-paying jobs; Romantic relationships”


In the United States, as well as all over the world, big cities populations are the people most at risk of human trafficking. Furthermore, port cities also raise many flags, and they can also serve as huge checkpoints to stop the event from taking place. The Maritime Executive provides information on how to help stop the phenomenon, writing,   


“Although it is quietly hidden, human trafficking thrives during times of chaos and vulnerability. The maritime community can benefit from an improved understanding of human trafficking and learning how employees at seaports can play a key role in helping vulnerable people. It is easier for traffickers to operate at sea. Especially in the COVID-19 era… Seaports are a critical checkpoint for stopping human trafficking. Employees working at ports can be turned into advocates for human trafficking victims when they are properly trained to know how to spot a potential trafficking situation. As more ports increasingly recognize their interdependence with the local community, it will serve ports well to recognize that they have a valuable asset in the fight against human trafficking—their workers. When port employees receive human trafficking awareness training, they can learn how to spot a potential trafficking situation happening at maritime facilities and know how to report it quickly and safely. This can allow more exploited people the chance to escape their traffickers and rebuild their lives.”


Many universities are taking action, but the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, UNCW, has taken another leap to help its students. Wilmington, NC is a port city, and with human trafficking on the rise, UNCW has put in measures to promote more safety. During an orientation seminar, freshmen were told to stray from being alone as well as to be aware of what is happening around them at all times. 


Many universities need to take a page from UNCW’s book. Sex trafficking is on the rise, and being cautious and safe should be extremely important to all students.

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Tags: #safety #epidemic #sextrafficking #UNCW


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