‘Slavery Still Exists:’ Eliza Bleu Talks Human Trafficking With Hotep Jesus

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 photo, a billboard displays a phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Las Vegas. Many Americans know little about the hotline beyond the billboards and other public service ads providing its phone number. Yet people in the anti-trafficking field say it performs well at two vital roles _ as a conduit for people to report suspected trafficking and as an immediate resource for trafficking victims in need of help. (AP Photo/John Locher)

 

Human trafficking has become an increasingly devastating problem worldwide. But in the United States, it doesn’t seem to garner as much attention as other issues despite the fact that the Trump administration has worked overtime to address the issue and to assist victims who survived trafficking. 

Eliza Bleu, an advocate for human trafficking survivors, participated in an interview on Friday with entrepreneur and podcaster Bryan Sharpe, also known as Hotep Jesus, in which she explained the human trafficking industry and how it has grown to such a troubling size. 

Currently, human trafficking has grown into a $150 billion industry and it does not seem to be slowing down. During the conversation, Bleu, who was a victim of sex trafficking, told Sharpe that combating the practice, which is essentially a form of modern-day slavery, is a bipartisan issue. However, she explained that there are people on both sides who cynically exploit the issue for political purposes. 

“When I see any side use survivors of human trafficking or victims of human trafficking, victims of sex, victims of labor trafficking and modern-day slavery for political gains, that to me is re-exploiting those folks that are already at their most vulnerable,” she explained. “I think it’s disgusting. I’ve seen both sides do it.”

In response to a question regarding concerns about trafficking occurring at the southern border, she said, “It’s like everybody likes to give lip service when it’s politically convenient and nobody’s there when it counts.” She added, “If it’s something that bothers you that much, then come around. They don’t come around. No dollars are donated.”

The advocate also pointed out how the sex trafficking industry’s profits have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained that at the beginning of the year, it was estimated that the industry will generate $150 billion in revenue worldwide before the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. This would have surpassed the global drug trade. 

“We’re talking a big massive problem,” she said. “And then of course, once the COVID-19 lockdown happened, everything spiked. It is a nightmare.” 

The rest of the conversation was rather enlightening, especially for those who are not familiar with the human trafficking problem in the United States. But many fail to understand one of the issues that Bleu brought up: Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and it is being practiced in the U.S. 

After 1865, America abolished slavery to ensure that nobody would be allowed to own another human being. Unfortunately, the practice still persists illegally and has become so prevalent that the average American citizen could live next door to a slave without even knowing it. 

It is fortunate that people like Eliza Bleu are willing to step up to push back against this modern-day manifestation of the “peculiar institution.” But it is essential that more people support the cause with their time or money. The U.S. government is working to free those trapped in bondage, but there are plenty of private organizations doing the same. 

 

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