"I am a Commodity" by Zoscha Lucyna. Acrylic on Canvas.
Yorba Linda High School

OCTA’s progressive initiative against human trafficking

Orange County has taken a detour away from “Easy Street,” and has floored its way down a road of blacklisted anguish.

Living in the town of Yorba Linda, individuals have ready availability to public transport. Recently, the Orange County Transport Authority has started straying away from just displaying advertisements for local businesses, to promoting a campaign called “Be The One,” an organization that specializes in informing the public and aiding those affected by human trafficking. They offer a variety of services such as stories and interviews from victims of these malignant acts, possible indications of human trafficking, and the contact numbers to several different emergency services tailored to this illegality.

But in the prevalence of OCTA’s efforts, human trafficking still seems to be an issue that remains covert to the public. According to the U.S. Justice Department, nearly 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the country annually, and there are currently 57,700 individuals that are forced into the several sanctions of this injustice. Given these irregularly high statistics, one cannot help but question: “If this is such an oppressive and severe problem in the United States, why isn’t it actively publicized to prevent further exploitation?”

This form of negligence could be the result of several different factors. For one, it could be our nauseating acceptance of sexual assault and other forms of physical violence that continue to perpetrate and corrupt U.S. society; or it could be the fact that sex and labor trafficking has so many facets that it seems merely impossible to relay all the information tied to this objectification of basic human rights.

But taking into account our past suppression of justice whether it being through suffrage or civil rights, history serves as an example of national transgression that must never be reciprocated. Although that as a country the U.S. has generally avoided this topic, it needs to be actively bolstered in order for substantive change to occur.

Yorba Linda High School’s Mrs. St. Amant believes that “legitimate change must happen at a policy level to prevent human trafficking, and governments need to hold organizations accountable if they utilize exploited laborers. It feels good to decry trafficking, but politicians need to act on those words and actually do something about the issue at hand.”

Simply put, reverting to “cheerleading” for social demoralization doesn’t allow for the public to grow as a community of peers willing to pursue the abolition of sex and labor trafficking.

Whatever our previous reasoning for the suppression of human trafficking may be, programs like “Be the One,” “The Prevention Project,” “Tapestri,” and many others need to be inducted into the focal points of our communities in order to educate, prevent, and eradicate the exploitation of individuals chained to this malefaction.