President Donald Trump signed an executive order to combat human trafficking and online child exploitation last Friday, Jan. 31.
The White House seeks to strengthen and expand supportive services for victims of human trafficking such as medical assistance, housing and shelter services, and education and job training, among others.
The executive order will establish a public website to organize all of these resources needed to fight human trafficking.
The federal government will also be revamping the methodologies of targeting and locating the traffickers, with the goal to eliminate human trafficking in the United States completely.
The executive order designates the White House Domestic Policy Office to be completely devoted to fighting human trafficking, an initiative orchestrated by Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter.
The Domestic Policy Council is in the process of looking for someone to head the new full-time position. The office’s website will also provide public information to help prevent people from becoming victims of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is an illegal and criminal activity that is happening in different countries and internationally,” said Saliba Sarsar, Ph.D., a Professor of Political Science.
“Actions and policies that hold perpetrators accountable and that enable victims or survivors to regain their freedom and human dignity are most needed. The U.S. and the rest of the international community must redouble their efforts to work together so as to eradicate human trafficking in all its forms,” said Sarsar.
The U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Human Persons Report, issued in June 2019, has estimated that 25 million people are victims or enslaved in one way or another around the world.
Sarsar explained that more than 80 percent of trafficked people are women and girls, and that half are minors.
“I think it is a good action being made in combatting this horrible issue. I really think people need to become more educated on this problem because it is so prominent and happening all around us,” said Sarah Cooper, a junior psychology student. “There is action needed to be done in stopping human trafficking.”
Cooper also mentioned she has heard that trafficking is becoming more prevalent in the United States, and that she is worried.
“As a young woman, it is really scary knowing that human trafficking is occurring in the United States, especially hearing stories of it happening around college campuses. I hope this executive deal does its job and annihilates human trafficking completely,” she said.
“Human trafficking is the 21st century slavery. As many as 25 million people worldwide and 23,000 people here in the United States are reported to be victims of this horrendous crime,” said John Comiskey, Ed.D., an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and a retired New York City Police Lieutenant who currently serves as an intelligence specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
Trump has stated that he has put $430 million towards the fight against human trafficking, which will go directly to those who have been impacted and will help to fund all research and resources to be done.
Comiskey explained that Trump’s executive order affirms the Trafficking Protection Act of 2000. “In addition to the cruel victimization of millions of innocent people, human trafficking funds international criminal and terrorist organizations. The Executive Order is a good step forward, but…much more needs to be done now,” said Comiskey.
IMAGE TAKEN from The New York Times