Human Trafficking in Alaska

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The number of human trafficking cases reported in Alaska is very small compared to other states with the highest occurrence such as California and New York, however it is important to note that the crime DOES occur in Alaska. According to the statistics provided by the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), which recorded the signals that referenced Alaska each year, a total of approximately 277 calls and 63 cases has been reported since 2007 to June 2018; in 2018, 29 calls and 12 cases has been reported in which 80 victims had high indicators of human trafficking, while 47 were moderate (Alaska). The data were then divided into respective categories that reveal the age, gender, type of trafficking, and citizenship of the victims. In their 2015 state report, NHTH ranked Anchorage 78th in the total number of calls (113), 77th for the number of calls per capita (38), 83rd in total number of cases (19), and 85th for cases per capita (Ranking of the 100 Most Populous U.S. Cities). Alaska’s ranking in NHTH’s report indicate that although it’s not on top of the list, the state definitely does not have the lowest rate of human trafficking. A recently published study by Loyola University New Orleans revealed further information regarding human trafficking in Anchorage. Researchers from the study conducted a survey in ten cities across the country and found that of the homeless youngsters that were receiving assistance from the Anchorage shelter, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys reported being victims of sex trafficking (Boots). With Anchorage having the largest population in the state of Alaska, this statistic indicates large numbers of trafficking cases. Of the ten cities studied, Anchorage ranked the highest in terms of trafficking prevalence. In her interview of 65 teens that utilize the Covenant House in Anchorage in 2016, the author of the Loyola study”Laura Murphy”discovered that of the 65 individuals, 27% of women and 17% of men were victims of sex trafficking, while 43% of LGBT youths faced hiring discrimination for jobs that had pushed them into the sex market (Boots). Criminals force or exploit their targets, but circumstances also play a role in occurrence of the crime”situations forced by our society’s lack of empathy. A wide range of factors including homelessness, mental health disorders, trauma, and time in foster care all contribute to the vulnerability of Alaska’s youths and children to human trafficking.

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