Human trafficking happens everywhere. Yes, even in the United States and it might just be in your very own backyard. While many individuals believe that the act of human trafficking only occurs in low-income areas with high crime rates, they are wrong. The global epidemic is now moving its way into wealthy suburbs and luring young adults in with the usage of social media platforms.
According to the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, at least 105,000 young adults are exploited yearly by mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram, dating sites, delivery services and lastly craigslist. This underground industry is currently generating 32 billion dollars annually, says the Huffington Post. This modern form of slavery is not stopping anytime soon, with it being the third largest international crime industry behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking. So, while you are casually scrolling through your social media accounts, receiving friend requests, and getting random people sliding into your dm’s, know that this is just one way these predators target their next victim.
While human trafficking is a sensitive topic that most ignore, I believe we must stop disregarding this problematic issue that surrounds us, because it takes a minute, a status update, a food delivery, or possibly a quick trip to the grocery store to get lured into this industry. Although you might say “this will never happen to me,” victim and survivor, Cyntoia Brown thought the same when she was picked up at a fast food joint. With that being said, here is what you need to know about the Cyntoia Brown Clemency and why you should care!
Cyntoia Brown, 30, was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery when she was only 16- years-old in 2006 and was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who entered her into the sex trade. Although she was performing self-defense, Brown was tried as an adult and given a life sentence. However, just as of Jan 7, 2019, she was granted clemency after serving 15 years in prison by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
Brown will be released on Aug. 7 and will be on parole for 10 years. She is required to attend counseling sessions, perform community service, and get a job.
After the grant, Brown released a statement through her lawyers, which said, “With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”
The case throughout the years caught the attention of several A-list celebrities like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West, and LeBron James. They took to social media to show their support by hashtagging things like “#Justice and #FREECYNTOIABROWN.” With the help of public figures and signatures to help set her free, the gap in the corrupt system has been closed (for now).