World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Modern slavery can’t be fought without strict immigration enforcement

By CIS on July 31, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This weekend marked the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which was established by the United Nations in 2013 to raise awareness of this widespread problem. Conservative estimates suggest that human trafficking and modern slavery affect more than 27 million people worldwide, with cases reported in all 50 states in the U.S.

Trafficking is the exploitation or enslavement of someone by force, fraud, or coercion, for labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex. Human trafficking is a lucrative industry and is on the rise in the United States.

Current immigration policies are responsible for the loss of control of the southern border and for lax oversight of guestworker programs, both of which are major contributors to the human trafficking industry in the United States.

Forced labor trafficking is the most common form of trafficking that has a direct nexus to the Southern border crisis. The prospect of almost certain release after crossing the U.S. border illegally has enticed many thousands of migrants to sign up with traffickers, and many end up in debt bondage and exploitative labor situations that are difficult to escape.

Often, the victims are minors, who are handed over to smugglers by their parents, who may be told that their children will attend school in the United States. Instead, some of these children end up working in dangerous and abusive conditions, and the unwillingness of the Biden administration to enforce immigration laws in the interior makes these crimes less likely to be discovered.

Failure to enforce our immigration laws — both at the border and in the interior — has created ideal conditions for human trafficking to flourish and expand. Any efforts to address trafficking without also reversing current immigration policies are doomed to fail.

Read more: “Biden’s border policies facilitate shocking modern slavery”, by Jessica Vaughan, and Vaughan’s testimony on trafficking before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, ”Biden and Mayorkas' Open Border: Advancing Cartel Crime in America”.