I won’t comment on my viewpoints on Ohio’s governor. This blog isn’t a place to be remotely political. The political arena is not a place to debate human rights. There is no debate. Human trafficking is wrong. It is a violation of the very principles of human existence. With that being said I am proud of Kasich, Ohio’s Governor and his new fight against human trafficking.
I will say that I am concerned about his approach. His viewpoint is to lock up the offenders and throw away the key. Nowhere in any of his speeches does he talk about trafficking survivors services, safe houses, medical treatment or trafficking prevention programs. His rhetoric is one of reacting to human trafficking. I hope that we are proactive towards human trafficking.
We often compare things to cause & effect. Americans (myself included) are focused on effect. What actually happens. We look at the little girl who has been sold and our heart just breaks. We want to imprison the monster who did this to her. We want him to be jailed forever and to never see the light of day again.
Unfortunately that viewpoint does nothing to bring down the system of human trafficking. We have one of the largest prison populations in the world. We spend more on incarcerating each individual than on educating that same individual. If there is one thing we learned over the past twenty years, prison is not a deterrent. Locking up someone and throwing away the key does nothing to stop the crime. It is a punitive system rather than a preventative one.
So about this time I’m accused of being soft on crime. No, I’m realistic about crime. If we really want to stop human trafficking we shouldn’t just look at the effects of this heinous act; we need to look at the causes.
Trafficking exists because of economic and educational disparities.
Traffickers get into this business because there is quick money to be made, and a lot of it. But they also get into illegal enterprise as many of them have no other option ( more on this in a future blog). People need to be able to support themselves if they can’t they will turn to crime. Traffickers also get into this as schools have failed them. They were never taught about effective ways to legally earn a living. They were never taught about human rights, self respect or self efficacy. They were never taught.
Trafficking victims were never taught about the possibilities of human trafficking in school. This is the third largest crime worldwide, students are taught about guns and drugs but mums the word on slavery. Most believe that it ended with the final shot of the civil war.
So as we talk about locking up the perps and throwing away the key., we also need to include long term education, socialization and rehabilitation for both victim and trafficker. We also need to put in place large scale educational programs giving students the skills they need to avoid such situations; both in terms of trafficker and victim.
The key to ending human trafficking long term isn’t a dramatic speech on a podium surrounded by law enforcement; threating traffickers. The key to ending human trafficking is to view the entire system as one of cause and effect.
To end the effect, counteract the causes. Never fixate on the problem, focus on the solution.