Does Donald Trump know the difference between “human trafficking” and “human smuggling?” He should, because he is the president of these United States, even if the public does not generally understand that distinction. Yet, there is a huge difference between the two, and Trump should not misspeak, like he did in this instance.
Both acts create terrible situations for the humans who are caught in their webs. Human trafficking occurs when someone buys or sells humans into slavery, forced labor or sex work. Human smuggling occurs when someone takes people into the U.S. for a fee. Both of these illegal forms of abuse have plenty of misunderstandings surrounding them.
For example, people assume slavery is dead. It is not. Human traffickers come to the Kentucky Derby every year to market their human wares. It is the human trafficking capital of the U.S. Why? Lots of people from around the world come with lots of money.
When we think of human smuggling, we often think of people from Mexico and Central America trying to slip into this country in hopes of a better life. However, many people have been smuggled into this nation via large ships. The shipyard inspectors are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of cargo.
Of course, the edges of these two horrid crimes overlap, but Trump should not misuse the terms. He needs to provide at least a few good examples.
Trump spoke before another group of law enforcement officials in his home state, Long Island NY. He told the crowd that “human trafficking is worse now:”
‘Human traffickers. This is a term that’s been going on from the beginning of time, and they say it’s worse now than it ever was. You go back 1,000 years, where you think of human trafficking, you go back 500 years, 200 years, 100 years, human trafficking, they say — think of it, what they do — human trafficking is worse now, maybe, than it’s ever been in the history of this world.’
Could it be that the commander-in-chief really meant human trafficking? He got his facts wrong, too. The amount of smuggling into the U.S. dropped considerably during the President Barack Obama seven years in office before it began an uptick
When we think of the slave trade, we think of the sort that occurred from the early stages of the country’s history until the Civil War ended the practice. The African leaders often sold their own people to the slave traders. People were bought and shipped to the U.S., primarily from African countries.
Millions of people endured involuntary servitude. Many millions more died during the horrendous conditions in the ships that carried them. Yet, the practice has endured.
According to The National Human Trafficking Hotline, reported nearly 7,500 cases of human trafficking in 2016. In 2015, there were around 5,500 cases. Trump should get his numbers straight and his words correct.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline’s site indicated:
‘Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish in environments where traffickers can reap substantial monetary gains with relatively low risk of getting caught or losing profits.’
In 2010, human smugglers earned $6.6 million illegally smuggling people into this country. Migrants paid these smugglers between $150 to $100,000 for their journey. The cost varied by the country of origin. According to the United Nations report, the travelers were responsible for:
‘Everything needed for the journey, such as hotel stays, bribes and taxes paid to the drug cartels.’
According to UNDOC:
‘Thousands of people have lost their lives as a result of the indifferent or even deliberate actions of migrant smugglers.’
Featured Images via Washington Post Twitter Page.