OPINION – Coverage & Awareness of Trafficking is Lacking

Ted Frascella, Reporter

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[The following story is based on a forum/panel discussion attended by the writer on location.  All quotes are from that event in Greenwich, CT.]

GREENWICH, CT – It seems that today our media is capable of sensationalizing anything; from the constant controversies regarding our current national administration, to reporting on “juicy” crimes that involve some element of scandal and intrigue, there seems to be endless coverage of seemingly everything.  H

However, there is one particular issue that does not get the coverage it needs even though it’s sadly very quite underhanded and terrible: the issue of human trafficking.

Many people assume that this issue only takes place in underdeveloped countries with poor policing and sub-par security, however, human trafficking is everywhere, even in places like Stamford and Greenwich.

While there have been a couple documentaries and media campaigns, human trafficking is definitely an issue that is underrepresented in the media.

According to Krishna Patel, Deputy Chief of National Security in Connecticut, in 2016 alone there were 202 human trafficking victims in Connecticut alone, and the highest rate of trafficking took place in the Bridgeport/Norwalk/Stamford region, in which 49 people were trafficked.  Because of a lack of coverage, this issue is often ignored by the general public despite the devastating effects that trafficking has on a community.

However, lack of coverage is not the only hurdle that both law enforcers and legislatures must jump when taking on an issue like human trafficking.  These cases are extremely complex when it comes to dealing with helping the victim and prosecuting the culprit.

Despite all of the challenges that come with prosecuting and investigating these cases, it is all worth it in the end. Head of Homeland Security for Connecticut and former FBI agent, Rod Khattabi, shared the most rewarding part of helping with these cases.

“It is at the end of a case putting a really bad person in prison, a person who mentally and physically brutalized someone, putting away someone who may have brutalized young children and being able to save a human being is very rewarding.”

Even though we have police officers and law enforcement who risk their lives everyday to stop behavior like this, there are some things that the public can start doing to help do its part and create better, safer communities.  You can say something if you see suspicious activity at motels or hotels by calling the national hotline 1(888)373-7888, call your senators or political leaders and let them know this issue is something you care about, and educate yourself as a consumer to make sure you are not buying from labor traffickers.

In today’s culture, the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements are gaining traction and making harassment unacceptable, however, there is no similar movement for empowering human trafficking victims.  We all have a responsibility to spread awareness so that this issue does not get ignored, victims receive the support they need, and the perpetrators get the treatment they deserve.  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We will not remember the words of our enemies, but we will remember the silence of our friends.”

Story by Ted Frascella, Reporter

Edited by Maeve Sebold, Editor in Chief

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