African Americans have been at the hands of past and modern-day slavery for centuries. African American women have also been a commodity since the beginning of slavery. At the beginning of slavery, African American women were used in many of the same ways as modern-day slavery. Many female slaves were used for child sexual exploitation, sexual exploitation, forced work labor, and domestic servitude to their masters. Modern Day slavery is known also as Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business and more and more youth and young adults are at risk every day. However, the statistics become alarming when we turn our focus to our African American female youth.
In 2018 the Department of Children and Families in Florida began accepting referrals for Human Trafficking. They received 153 referrals for African American girls, which accounted for 73% of their referrals. These results are more than alarming, they are actually quite frightening. Our African American youth account for 59% of prostitution arrests for teens under the age of 18. African American girls account for 49% of all trafficking victims. In Washington state alone 84% of their victims are African American females.
When we look at the criteria for those who are most at risk of becoming a potential victim, we have determined that most come from single-parent homes, homes involving child welfare, constant runaways, drug/alcohol abuse homes, domestic violence, and school problems.
All of these issues are major in African American communities due to generational curses and lack of community resources, making African American girls a prime target for traffickers. Victims that have experienced events throughout their lives can be more easily coerced into human trafficking with little to no effort. As a community, we can work to decrease these numbers. Here are some important tips for keeping yourself and your children safe from becoming a potential victim of human trafficking.
- When traveling alone try to remain in well-light areas, leave stores with “the crowd”, and park near other vehicles instead of further away.
- College students should never go out alone, only in pairs or groups.When traveling alone be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
- Watch carefully who you interact with on social media and refrain from giving out too much personal information.
- Anyone that you may take interest in dating, run a background check to ensure they are a potentially safe person.
- Protect yourself with self defense items or enroll in a self defense course in order to be able to protect yourself should a situation arise.
- Monitor the social media and phone interactions of your child.
- Educate your children on human trafficking and how to identify unsafe situations.
- Be a “present” parent in your child's life and ensure you are present in all that is going on in their lives in order to prevent any potential trafficker to be able to intervene . Remember traffickers look for youth who are “going through it” with their parents or who turn to them for “support” and comfort.