Jewish human trafficking Part 2: hidden crime

It is estimated that there are 600,000 to 800,000 people who are victims of human trafficking in the U.S. each year, of which 100,000 to 300,000 are children.
If anyone thinks that this is not a Jewish issue, they are mistaken. Until the current coronavirus spread to our shores, there were a number of scheduled presentations by Jewish organizations around the country on this topic which have since been postponed until further notice.
Lauren Hersh, founder and director of World Without Exploitation, was recently scheduled to speak to the Jewish Woman’s Fund of Atlanta, Georgia, on the topic, “Human Trafficking: A Jewish Issue.”
With Passover around the corner, her message seems most timely. Just as we were slaves in Egypt, this is modern slavery.
Hersh points out that the people who don’t think that Jews are involved in the sex trade probably also think that there is no domestic violence in the Jewish community. Unfortunately, these folks are wrong.
According to the Department of State, the former Soviet Union was the largest new source of trafficking and the sex industry, second only to South Asia.
Israel, at one time, spent the least among nations to fight prostitution and its sex trade, but once it realized how much of a problem it actually had, it eventually spent as much or more than any other country.
In a series of moves, the U.N. has attacked prostitution and sex trafficking and included the range of techniques used to intimidate and exploit its victims, offering greater legal protection under international law.
What can we do as members of our community to deal with the problem of human trafficking?
We must be willing to learn more and discuss this issue with friends and family. Denial of Jewish involvement gets us nowhere. The sex trade of any sort should be no place for Jews.
We can also be alert to behavior changes in our youth, such as being gone for extended periods of time and being highly anxious or irritable. With the internet offering so many opportunities for sexual involvement, our youth are at risk.
In Argentina, a century ago, the Jewish trafficking movement ended when Baron de Hirsch, who planned an agricultural community in Argentina, got involved in defeating prostitution. And, of course, the testimony of one brave victim, and a brave policeman, as well as an honest judge, saved future women from the degradation of brothel life.
Sex trafficking is still continuing all over the world. We must open our eyes to it. Let us hope that no Jewish group like Zwi Migdal ever exists again.

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