Originally published on Polaris News on Septenber 8, 2016.
Confinement. Economic abuse. Threats. Sexual violence. Around the United States, Latina women are prisoners of the sex trafficking industry in cantinas and bars. These are just a few of the ways traffickers trap young women and girls in an especially horrendous form of sex trafficking in our country.
Today we released a new report, “More Than Drinks for Sale: Sex Trafficking in U.S. Cantinas and Bars,” which exposes the brutal exploitation young women and girls face in these criminal networks. (Para descargar el informe en español haga clic aquí.) We also created an interactive dashboard to learn more about who the victims are, how traffickers operate, and where trafficking occurs.
The dashboard is based on reports to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline and BeFree Textline, through which we’ve identified 1,300 potential victims from Latin America in cantina-related cases in 20 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. Victims are deceived with false promises of a better life, then forced to engage in commercial sex—while their traffickers go largely unnoticed.
While federal law enforcement has prosecuted several of these cases in Houston, much more work is needed to end this kind of trafficking. Use one of our promotional images and share this tool on social media to raise awareness: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkenIn
You can also join us for an online panel discussion with the report’s author and other experts this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST. Click here to register for the webinar.
We have a long way to go in order to stop the victimization of women in these venues. But by shining a light on how it happens and who it affects, we can change the equation.