Human trafficking is a serious problem in America today — so serious, in fact, that the National Human Traffiking Hotline (NHTH) reports over 45,000 cases between 2007 and 2018. That’s nearly 4,500 cases per year.
Now, one group of retired US Navy Seals and detectives are on the beat, working hard to put a stop to human trafficking rings. With help from a long list of organizations around the country, they’re making it harder for these criminals to operate while also reuniting trafficked teens with their families.
This should be celebrated.
- First, let’s talk numbers to give you an idea of the scope of this problem. According to the NHTH, California had the highest incidence of cases in the country, with Texas and Florida coming in at a close second and third.
- Concerningly, the vast majority of cases involved females trafficked for the purposes of sex. Trafficking for the purposes of labor was also exceptionally common, especially in border states.
- The NHTH’s statistics don’t clarify the ages of the people involved in trafficking cases, but it’s pretty clear from other past cases that teens and young adults are disproportionately affected by sex traffiking. According to The Polaris Project, 25 percent of US cases involve children or teens.
- It’s impossible to feel lackadaisical about these disturbing statistics, but they really just scratch the surface of a deep and endless issue. The reality of our world is that to some people, humans are simple commodities to be used, abused, and disposed of when they stop being useful.
- That’s where the Saved in America (SIAM) team comes in. Comprised of retired US Navy Seals, detectives, and other law enforcement experts, SIAM works independently and in tandem with national organizations to rescue teens and children affected by sex and labor trafficking and bring them home.
- SIAM has been in action since 2014, but their efforts have really ramped up over the last two years. To date, they’ve assisted with 197 child recoveries since just December of 2014. That’s an incredible success rate!
- But SIAM doesn’t only help with recoveries; they also provide their services totally free of charge to any family in need. And after the initial recovery, they also provide access to rehabilitation, safe housing, and legal representation.
- Law enforcement agencies certainly don’t mind the help; they’re chronically under-funded to the point of often being unable to take action themselves. Many of the agencies SIAM works with leave glowing reviews and testimonials on the organization’s website, a testament to the good work they do.
- Duval County Sheriff, Mike Williams writes, “It is partnerships such as this that play a significant role in law enforcement today, not only from a public safety standpoint but also as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who have been victimized.”
Isn’t that really what it’s all about — making a difference?
You can make a difference in the lives of children and teens affected by trafficking, too. If you have information about a case, or if you suspect a child in your area is at risk for being trafficked, call SIAM’s tip line at (760) 348-8808.