Human Trafficking

Posted by New Horizons Counseling Center


School Shootings


“He was just beating me until he was absolutely tired. I was covered in bruises and my face was completely disfigured. There was a client in the room and he was having an issue with something I couldn’t do because I was all beat up,” recalled a victim of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is happening now, happening in the United State and happening right here in southwest Louisiana. It’s recognized as modern-day slavery where traffickers use force, fraud or coercion to compel victims to bend to the trafficker’s will and engage in commercial sex, forced labor or both. The victims tend to be the most vulnerable members of society, including the poor, the abused and those without independent means of support.

In early February of this year, five people were arrested in Sulphur in connection with human trafficking. All except one of those arrested reside in southwest Louisiana. The American Press reported that, “Using ‘’, a site for classified advertising, undercover officers identified individuals allegedly seeking pay for sexual favors involving not only adult women but a sixteen-year-old girl.”

Most of those who are trafficked for commercial sex in Louisiana are young girls, according to the annual statistical report on human trafficking compiled by the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services. Act 564 of the 2014 Louisiana Legislature charges the agency with compiling the report on human trafficking in Louisiana. In 2017, of the total 681 confirmed victims of trafficking for commercial sex, 352 of the victims were 17 years old or younger. Seventy-two victims were younger than age 12.

The FBI says that human trafficking is believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world. It is fast becoming a cash cow for organized crime, which makes it even more difficult for victims to break away due to increased fear and better resources for traffickers.

The statistics for the occurrence of human trafficking has shown a sharp increase during the past three to four years. According to the LDCFS annual report, human trafficking cases increased 52 percent in 2017 over the previous year. While the increase can be partly attributed to better reporting, trafficking is on the increase.

The business of human trafficking is lucrative. Traffickers perceive the risk as being low because law enforcement training and community awareness are still catching up. There is a dearth of criminal investigation and resources for victim recovery services. There is also the issue of shame and blame that is attached to victims both by society and the victims themselves.

While criminals perceive the risks to be low, they perceive the profits to be high. As long as people in our communities continue to pay for commercial sex, the profit margin will continue to increase.

Federal lawmakers sought to remedy the tragedy of human trafficking with the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The Act provides for a three-pronged approach to help alleviate and mitigate human trafficking. It outlines several protections for foreign victims of human trafficking that are brought to the United States illegally. The TVPA emphasizes prevention by promoting awareness through public education programs. Finally, the Act provides for prosecution through new criminal laws.

The TVPA also established a law requiring defendants of human trafficking investigations to pay restitution to the victims they exploited.

As the public becomes more aware of the signs of human trafficking and reports it to law enforcement and victims become more aware that there is help available, hopefully the trends will begin to decrease in numbers of frequency.

Later, that same victim mentioned above said, “At the trial, it felt empowering to look at him the entire time. I’m sure it drove him crazy. He can never touch me but he had to look at me and listen and it made me feel good.”