The Traffic We Should Really Be Concerned About

Staff Writer: Arie Mitchell

When most people hear the word “traffic” they imagine themselves sitting in their car on the highway. They do not think about the illegal kind of trafficking; the trafficking that takes lives and innocence.

Human trafficking is the illegal transportation of people from one area to another, usually relating to forced labor or sexual exploitation. It has been around for hundreds of years however, the first documentation of it dates to the 1400s when the Europeans went to Africa and began trading with them. This also occurred when the Europeans came to America as well and performed these actions on the Native Americans. It is the second largest enterprise in the world, second to drug trade.

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There is an estimated 24.9 million people trapped in forced human trafficking. Photo Courtesy of: indiegogo.com

Aicha Sabara, a senior that attends Sequoyah High School, says, “I believe that the illegal kidnapping, transportation and rape of a human being is a problem that has been increasing over the years and is having a detrimental impact in our society. I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed, because the lack of knowledge is causing people to be susceptible to the dangers that come with human trafficking.”

Containing the largest international airport in the United States, Atlanta plays a big role in the transportation of these slaves. In 2007, the sex trade industry made 290 million dollars from Atlanta alone, which was increased by 58 million from previous years. A pimp claimed he made 33,000 dollars in just one week! That translates to roughly over a million dollars in a year.

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With increasing numbers, this industry is gaining a lot more money. The average slave costs $90 globally. Photo courtesy of: impactingourfuture.com

“It is scary that Atlanta is such a large hub for sex trafficking, because it is a constant threat to locals. It brings unneeded crime into the city.” Briston Green, a Woodstock High School junior, gives his insight on sex trafficking. “A good way to keep people safe and decrease sex trafficking in Atlanta would be educate people about the situation and give them ways to avoid it.”

Atlanta is ranked among the top fourteen cities in the United States for this industry, largely due to the fact that over 500 children are introduced to it every month, according to Street GRACE, who involves themselves in the elimination of sex trafficking.

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The majority of victims consist of women and girls although boys are desired as well. Photo courtesy of: foreverymom.com

Tiani Johnson, a Woodstock High School senior, has a younger sister who falls in the demographic of targeted victims for the industry. When prompted by the question of, “What would you do if [she] was abducted?” she answered with, “Um, I’d literally die. What else imma (sic) do? I ain’t Batman, I can’t go get her myself.”

Recently, at Towne Center, there was an incident regarding a man trying to capture an 11-year-old girl while she was going to the bathroom. Back in May of 2018, 26-year-old Danzel Mitchell followed a girl into the food court bathroom. He pulled a knife on her, but she screamed, managed to escape and ran to her father. When the man was leaving the bathroom her father and two bystanders tackled him and brought him to the ground.

Another female suspect was involved and accused by eye witnesses to have been giving Mitchell signals to capture the girl. She left before the police arrived. Mitchell was charged with false imprisonment, kidnapping, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the first degree.

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Danzell Mitchell was arrested for attempted kidnapping and threatening and 11-year-old girl at Town Center Mall. Photo courtesy of: wsbradio.com

After having this story explained to her, Tiani’s response was, “So that’s what we [are] doing now? (Seriously?) That’s annoying. She was just minding her business. SICK!”

Now, the intentions of the man and woman are unclear, but this goes to show how something like this could come out of nowhere, and how close to home this can hit.

There have been many steps executed in the fight against this malicious force. At a meeting at the Fulton government complex in downtown Atlanta, the board voted to give the Fulton County police more ways to identify suspects. They also decided to give officials more reasons to suspect and accuse more of these criminals.
“No definitely not by myself, especially if it is a new place that I have never been before.” Alejandra De La Cruz, a Woodstock High School senior and older sister, responded to the question of, “Do you feel comfortable going places on your own?”. “When I do [go out] I always try to let someone know where I am going just in case… If I get a bad feeling about someone, then I try to trust my instincts.”

According to Youthvillage.co.za, 10 easy ways to protect yourself are: to be vigilant of your surroundings, avoid walking alone, act swiftly if suspicious, don’t trust easily, use social media wisely, be ready for anything, use your phone, trust your instincts, meet stranger in public places and seek help from reliable organizations.

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There have been a total of 40,000 reported cases of sex trafficking in the last ten years. Photo Courtesy of: eturbonew.com

Devonté Saddler, a Woodstock High School senior, says he doesn’t really think about his location being available on social media. “I’m too lazy to turn it off.”

Well Devonté, will you be too lazy to put up a fight when you are captured just because a pimp knew you were on your way to Starbucks?
You should always be on your P’s and Q’s, especially in unknown areas. You really do not want to get caught in this traffic jam!

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