MD Joins Top 20 States for Human Trafficking

Over the past few months, the news and social media has been covering hundreds of trafficking cases around the country. Human trafficking is described as a form of modernized slavery that is very common in the United States. 

According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, as of Dec. 31, 2018, there have been over 1,077 cases of trafficking in Maryland, making it fall in the Top 20 most trafficked states in the United States. 

Trafficking has been becoming more of a prevalent topic discussed on the news and throughout social media. There have been hundreds of stories shared of missing children, teenagers, and young adults around the world, but no solutions have been presented. 

  According to CNN, after holding four women at a motel in Elkridge, Ronald Willis Cheek was arrested with multiple counts of human trafficking, prostitution, and drug charges. 

In May, a man from Fort Meade was arrested for multiple counts of assault and trafficking. The man allegedly trafficked women to and from California prior to his arrest.

Two months later, in Baltimore, Ryan Russell Parks was taken into custody for counts of sexual trafficking of a minor and one count for his use of the internet to promote a prostitution business. 

During the trafficking cases, ads are typically placed online, appointments are arranged, and payments are collected. Some women are also given drugs or locked up in order to force them into submission, making the process less difficult. After the victim is under control, many are forced to commit sexual acts with strangers, while others are given drugs to sell, giving 100% of the profit to their trafficker.

That being said, victims of trafficking are often arrested for the crimes they are forced to commit. Studies from the Center for Combatting Human Trafficking explain that many states still allow “commercially sexually exploited minors to be charged and prosecuted for prostitution and human trafficking offenses.” 

These people are being charged for the same crimes that they fall victim to and despite the protection programs put into place, more trauma is brought to the sufferers.

On Dec. 11, a victim of sex trafficking decided to sue five major hotel chains in Oregon and Washington for, allegedly “allowing” or permitting the crime, without intervention. The woman claims that the hotels were aware of the occurrence, but continued “enjoying the profit from rooms rented” for the purpose of sex trafficking. 

Extended Stay America assured CNN about their hiring processes stating, “We require all our associates to be trained on identifying the signs of human trafficking and on how to report them.” Several other businesses have commented on the lawsuits, defending their companies morals and guidelines. 

The Howard County Human Trafficking Task Force was soon created and put into place to educate about trafficking, support it’s victims, and to spread awareness of the prevalant issues. 

Many other organizations, including police in the Howard County Police department are actively, consistently targeting sex traffickers in means of putting a stop to this dehumanizing crime.

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