Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Houghton student engages in struggle against human trafficking

Human trafficking has become a widely recognized term in the last decade. An influx of information on labor and sex slavery, both in America and abroad, has caused government legislation and non-governmental organizations to arise against it, as well as movies and press to be produced to spread awareness. A vast number of people have dedicated their lives to eradicating this injustice.

Houghton College senior Alice Browning studied human trafficking and its various forms of exploitation during a study abroad in Thailand and Washington, D.C. Browning’s connections through Houghton have allowed her to connect with various individuals foundational to the anti-trafficking movement who have catalyzed her efforts against human trafficking.

“The more I understand how human trafficking works, the more I believe any estimate is extremely rough at best,” said Browning. “We do not know how many people are being trafficked. It is incredibly difficult to even define who is a trafficked victim, and this means we do not know if the problem is being diminished.”
Browning spent the 2011 spring semester in Thailand with Go-Ed through Houghton College, and saw firsthand how vulnerable many native people were to being trafficked.

“Trafficking is a rampant problem in Thailand, although they have pristine laws against it. A growing demand for prostitutes has led to trafficking many women and children for sex,” said Browning. “Thailand is also a huge sex tourist destination, where tourists come to specifically to purchase sexual services. It has been incredibly eye-opening and life changing to not only read about these issues in a book, but to meet young girls and boys who have been used and abused.”


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