The State Department further estimates that close to 16,000 people are trafficked into the USA each year and an additional number are trafficked within the border. The sale of trafficked young women and girls is commercially very lucrative for those perpetrating it. After narcotics and arms sales, trafficking is estimated to be the largest source of revenue for organized crime. Moreover, women forced into prostitution “earn profits for their pimps for a number of years, unlike the profits earned from narcotics, which are sold and used once. The vast majority of revenue generated by trafficked women remains in the hands of pimps while the women retain little or none of the money they earn in the sex industry.” (Hodge, 2008) This further goes to show that trafficking is always associated with poverty and is seldom beneficial for those being trafficked. In the case of sexual trafficking, “few women choose to work in the sex industry when other options exist, and many women suffer physical or mental breakdowns from engaging in unwanted sexual activity multiple times per day with strangers. Brothel owners, pornography producers, and pimps place orders for women and children that, in turn, are filled by traffickers.” (Hodge, 2008)
But despite such dismal realities, there is also room for optimism as statistics pertaining to the last few years have also shown a reduction in the number of homeless and poor people in the United States. For example, close to 1.6 million people were forced to make use of emergency shelters and temporary housing at certain times in the last couple of years. But the good news is that during the same period the number of chronically homeless fell 28 percent (Fagan, 2008). These are positive developments indeed and the Department of Housing and Urban Development has to be commended for bringing about this improvement. But still, seen in absolute terms, the number of temporary and chronically homeless and poor continues to be worrisome. And a majority of the homeless and poor happen to be trafficked into the United States. A concerted effort on part of related government agencies, elected representatives and not-for-profit organizations is essential to bring a lasting solution to the twin issues of human trafficking and poverty in America. (Burt, 2003)
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