Human Trafficking In Today’s Era: What does it really mean?

How a high school student has used her voice to advocate for an issue that is not talked much about but affects everyone

What is Human trafficking?

Trafficking is known as modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. According to the U.S. Department of State, annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked across national borders which does not count millions trafficked within their own countries. People are lured into trafficking by many and any means such as physical force, false promises that are made regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries to entrap victims. The three most common types of human trafficking in the United States is sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage. 

How is this topic affecting Americans? 

Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat that deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, a global health risk, and it fuels the growth of organized crime. Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, passport theft, and even death. But the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims; it undermines the safety and security of all nations it touches. 

Kyra Dooley Interview 

Kyra Dooley is a Senior at Eaglecrest who is involved with organizations called Covered Colorado and Sarah’s Homes. Covered is a nonprofit organization that helps survivors of sex trafficking of ages 18 years and over in many different ways. “help with therapy, rehabilitation, and often help with their cases,” said Dooley. “If the survivor has kids, they help with them as well”. 

The other organization Kyra is currently working with is Sarah’s homes, which is an organization that works with ages 18 years and under and also does the same things that Covered, such as therapy and rehabilitation to help survivors get back to a normal life. The issue of sex trafficking is a very important topic to Kyra because not only is it one of the most under talked about issues in our country, but she actually had a personal friend who had been trafficked. Kyra then goes on to share that “after hearing her story and realizing that anyone could be a target, it became super important to me to raise awareness about what’s happening around us”.

“The most important thing I want people to know is that it literally can happen to anyone. You could be the richest most educated person on this planet and you still have an equal opportunity to get trafficked. The biggest thing about trafficking is understanding how it happens and how to prevent it, if you can understand what it looks like then you can understand how to avoid it,” Dooley said. Thankfully Ms. Dooley has not seen any type of negative backlash for the work she has been doing. The hardest part for Kyra though has been the traumatic stories people have shared and how upsetting they have been, though she says it is also amazing to hear their stories. 

Kyra in an interview talking about human trafficking; photo screenshotted (Kyra Dooley)

“I now have the ability to educate people on what trafficking looks like and I now have the ability to prevent it as much as possible” Kyra states, describing the positive impact of her work. Ms. Dooley strives to bring more awareness to trafficking, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for someone to talk about. Kyra acknowledges that “parents need to understand that this is a life-saving conversation that they must have with their kids and that it can make such a difference in someone’s life”. Ms. Dooley is a big advocate for kids our age to get involved. One of the ways she explained that people can get involved is posting on social media the different signs of trafficking along with signs of traffickers. 

“By really truly doing your research of the different people who follow you on social media is super important, knowing who is following you and who is watching your feed can make a big difference in trafficking,” she said. Krya works hard to make a change in America and could use all of our help to see a decrease in human trafficking. “I believe the biggest thing WE can do is spread awareness because it can prevent and help so many people who are at the risk or are currently being trafficked.” Words from the brave, powerful, and world-changing…Kyra Dooley.

Photo of Kyra Dooley (in the middle) with FBI agents, working together to stop human trafficking (taken by- Leah A. Hapner)