Louisiana is home to many different events including Tiger Stadium on a Saturday Night, the celebration of Mardi Gras, and although many are not aware of it, hundreds of young women being forced into sexual slavery.
The official term for this atrocity is human trafficking and is defined by Homeland Security as “a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain”. While exploitation can occur in the form of forced labor or servitude, 60 percent of trafficking victims are sexually abused and oppressed.
This past spring, Louisiana State Police stated that they are investigating ten different reported cases of human trafficking and expect this number to continually increase. However, these numbers are potentially much higher since the data was from only one specific crisis center and does not include the many unreported cases that occur throughout the state.
Louisiana has passed many laws in order to aid victims of human trafficking, resulting in “earing an A in the 2014 Shared Hope International Protected Innocence Challenge” (Trafficking Hope).
Students interested in contributing to this cause are invited to join Southeastern University’s Lions Against Trafficking. This group is a student led organization led which, according to President Jonathan Jee, is “dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking and aiding in the rehabilitation of trafficking victims”. This group volunteers regularly at the Hope House, a housing facility for victims of human trafficking and has recently started a clothes drive for the girls currently living there.
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Personal: Online Interview with Jonathan Jee, President of Lions Against Trafficking through Facebook, Aug 31-Sept 9.
Online Research: Whitworth, Camille. “Fight against Human Trafficking Continues in Louisiana, Nation’s Capital.” WDSU. WDSU News, 13 May 2015.
“What Is Human Trafficking?” Trafficking Hope. Kingdom Builders U.S, Inc, 2007.
“Global Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet.” Global Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet. Equality Now, 2013.