by Brian Nelson
On average, every twenty minutes someone is being trafficked around the world. This means for every seventy-minute class period at Gilman, four people are trafficked somewhere on the planet. Human trafficking is a growing epidemic that few people are aware of. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, President Obama has called the fight against human trafficking one of the great human-rights causes of our time. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, human trafficking is defined as, ¨organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (as by being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor).¨
At Gilman, we often become caught up in our busy lives and forget to take a step back to look at the bigger picture of the world outside of the Gilman community. It is far too easy to simply tune-out the world around us. We must make a conscious effort to avoid this attitude of indifference because it is not only detrimental to ourselves, but also to the greater good around us.
While it may seem that we are not directly affected by human trafficking, we are. As stated by a Baltimore Sun article on human trafficking, Maryland is a hotbed for human trafficking because of its central location in relation to the highway network of the United States. Maryland is also close to multiple airports and U.S. embassies, and is popular with tourists. As specified by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force website, there have been 217 identified victims over the past two years in the state of Maryland. While this may seem like a relatively small number, it is important to remember that there are many more cases that go unreported.
Advocates against human trafficking believe that if more people knew what to look for, even more perpetrators could be convicted. This is why it is critically important to know what human trafficking actually looks like. One sign that a person is being trafficked is that person might seem to be afraid of a boss or a relative they are living with. Another sign that a person is being trafficked is that he or she never has any money or identification. An additional sign is that a boss or relative might seem to be controlling when another person comes and goes. If anything is suspected, please call the human trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.
When taking a step back, it may appear that this issue has little or no relevance to the Gilman community. This could be argued, but when each of us goes beyond the walls of Gilman we are not only Gilman men but also advocates for the weak and less fortunate. As Gilman students we must seize on every ounce of our being to do the right thing in the face of so much evil and hatred in the world even if it means just punching small holes in the darkness with light.