Human trafficking has become more and more common to hear about in the last few years than in any previous. Within the Latino community, unfortunately it is a huge issue. As family members desperately attempt to bring other family members from their home countries illegally, coyotes are taking advantage of this vulnerability. They charge an amount to bring over a family member into the United States and once here they demand more money and if not paid use these people to do labor for them or for women or young girls to prostitute.
Human trafficking is defined as modern day slavery because these people are being forced into different forms of labor services. While it is hard for the United States to have an accurate number of the human trafficking, it is estimated that about 14,000 people are being trafficked in the United States alone. Let’s understand there is a difference between human smuggling, which is also an issue, and human trafficking, which is when innocent victims are being forced to work for little or no pay. Woman and younger girls are sadly being traded for sex or being forced into the world of prostitution against their wills.
Just last week, a family in Houston, Texas called the cops to report how a coyote refused to turn over a young woman and her two young children unless more money was not paid. The coyote informed this family that they would make this young woman work for them in order to cover the fees of bringing her into the United States. While the police department searched for this woman and her kids, they came across a stash house with 100 immigrants being kept in a horrendous environment. All of these victims have been reported to be from Central America and confirmed that all were being kept against their wills. Cases like these that have been reported in the past have eventually lead to these coyotes using these people for cheap labor. They threaten them with their lives if they attempt to escape or report them to authorities.
Latinos need to be more vigilant when attempting to take the risk of paying and trusting complete strangers to bring their family members into the United States without documentation. This sometimes turns out to be a case of human trafficking because these coyotes feel the need to charge more money once they smuggle their loved ones into the country. And when you do not have the means to pay this fee, they will use your loved ones for cheap labor or for sex trade.
More cases are now being reported to the various hot-lines for human trafficking, but not enough is being done to eliminate this horrible issue within the country and our Latino community. It is very hard for the government to attempt to take control of this issue if more cases are not reported. Look at your local FBI offices for help if you know of someone being held against their will for the purpose of cheap labor.
Martha Trujillo is a Staff Writer for Latino Giant. Born in 1979 in Laredo, Texas, Martha was born to a mother who was an immigrant from Mexico and a father who is a U.S. citizen. She was raised in a typical Mexican household and carries her roots with her every day. Martha holds an Associate’s Degree in Business and has worked in the medical field for about 17 years in the business office. Currently, she resides in Arizona and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts to purse her dream of opening a restaurant.