Solving an Epidemic: Human Trafficking in America
Read the full statement presented by Bill Woolf.
Congressional testimony in front of the House Rules Committee, Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process regarding human trafficking epidemy in America, was given by Bill Woolf, Executive Director for Just Ask Trafficking Prevention Foundation.
In such testimony, Mr. Woolf spoke about his findings derived from training and research, as well as personal and professional experience. Among the problems, he mentioned how any vulnerable child or adult can be a victim of human trafficking, about the lack of information and that most people do not believe that will be ever affected by human trafficking. The unsettling truth is that every community and every home in America is at risk of falling victim to human trafficking.
Mr. Woolf explained that human trafficking is a complex issue that presents itself in various forms. It is no hidden in illegal underground industries but most of the illegal operations are facilitated through legitimate commerce. It manifests itself in four basic forms: brothel networks, pimp-controlled, family-controlled, and gang-controlled. A potential victim is selected by her/his accessibility, suggestibility, and vulnerability.
The opportunity to help to find a solution to the crisis is in prevention, which is a lot of times overshadowed by protection and prosection. There are three levels of prevention: primary prevention is done before it happens. Secondary prevention involves first responses, such as basic services and tertiary prevention deals with developing long-term responses in the aftermath of trafficking.
By providing the necessary resources to allow law enforcement in collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental organizations, a collaborative approach will better educate, prevent, and intervene in trafficking scenarios in an effort to deter traffickers, reduce the number of victims, and restore the lives of those exploited.