Stewart Rabinowitz, of the Dallas-based law firm Rabinowitz and Rabinowitz, weighs in on the recent ICE decision to educate the public about modern day victims of human trafficking.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has issued a media initiative to inform the public about the horrors and prevalence of human trafficking, which is modern-day slavery.
A public service announcement campaign, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” is intended to draw the American public’s attention to the plight of human-trafficking victims in the United States. Victims of human trafficking are often sexually exploited and forced to work against their will.
“Hidden in Plain Sight” was rolled out last month on posters, billboards and transit shelter signs in major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Newark, New Orleans, New York, St. Paul, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Tampa. Asserts Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas-based law firm Rabinowitz and Rabinowitz, “The goal is to raise public awareness about the existence of human trafficking in communities nationwide and ask members of the public to take action if they encounter possible victims. ICE is hoping that by going directly to the American public they can root out the criminals associated with human trafficking. “
“It would shock the majority of Americans,” states Rabinowitz, “that slavery still exists today in communities throughout our country. This heinous crime is well hidden, which means that the public has to be educated about human trafficking and encouraged to stay alert for possible victims.”
Current estimates are that 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked around the world every year. These victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade and into forced-labor situations. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor, or other types of forced labor.
The greatest challenge in combating human trafficking is victim identification. These victims end up in a foreign country, often unable to speak the language and without anyone to advocate for them.
“Traffickers often take the victims’ travel and identity documents. They tell their victims that if they attempt to escape, their families back home will be either physically or financially harmed,” concludes Rabinowitz.