January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, which is a perfect time to reflect on the important role our immigration enforcement officers play in combating this crime against humanity.
Those who call immigration enforcement inhumane are ignoring the far bigger and much more serious problem of human trafficking. In 2004, the U.S. State Department estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, with the majority of these victims being ushered into the sex trade.
It’s not a fringe occurrence; it’s a big business. Pimps and gangsters earn literally billions of dollars per year forcing women and children to serve as many as 10 to 20 customers a day. The number of victims who are kids is even more staggering: about half. The average age at which sex slaves are pushed into the trade is estimated at between 12 and 14 years old.
My sister’s story is typical. Ilonka was 12 years old when she disappeared from our home in South Africa. It wasn’t until six years later, after her rescue, that we as a family learned she had been trafficked the entire time. As horrific as Ilonka’s ordeal was, she was one of the fortunate survivors. The life expectency of a child sex slave is only about seven years. Ilonka’s journey to restoration required a decade of committed rehabilitation and restoration work.
For all the talk about families coming to America for a better life, the fact is that illegal immigration is run in large part by international criminal organizations that know they can earn perhaps $250,000 a year, tax free, for every child they sell into the sex trade. So long as that incentive remains in place, they will continue to bring in thousands of victims every year. Demand drives crime, and we unfortunately have a lot of demand for child sex slaves in the USA.
The men and women who serve on the front line in the fight against this stain on humanity are the very Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and other immigration law enforcement officers that the media demonize at every opportunity.
In 2014, when I was filming 8 Days, a drama about modern sex slavery, I worked with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, a division of the same ICE that liberals consistantly talk about “abolishing.” In the course of filming, these agents were called away to rescue a 16 year-old girl who was being prostituted just a few doors away from our live film set. That’s typical of the work they do every day to save foreign girls who have been trafficked into this country and held against their will.
A large component of the fight against trafficking, however, begins at the border. The harder it is to illegally enter America, the harder it is for the cartels and the pimps to import new victims. The more orderly and regular the system at the border is, the easier it is for the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Immigration Services to identify possible victims. Trafficking victims don’t wear nametags that say they’re destined for the sex trade, which is why it’s so galling when far-left activists oppose common-sense policies such as using DNA testing to determine whether supposed “family units” are actually related — a simple, cost-effective way to crack down on one of the most common tactics traffickers use to get past law enforcement.
I want the people fighting against sex trafficking to have every resource and advantage possible. The misplaced humanitarianism of those intent on “resisting” President Trump’s border security efforts, however, plays right into the hands of the kinds of people who profited off my sister’s slavery, and I consider it my duty to speak out.
This January, as we mark National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, let’s remember who the bad guys are, and stand with the American law enforcement officers who are courageously working to eradicate this evil.
Jaco Booyens, a native of South Africa and an American citizen, actively fights against child sex trafficking in the USA and globally, giving aid and linking with agencies such as the TSA, FBI, Police departments, CIA, ICE and Homeland Security SRT. Jaco also serves as a Fellow of the Falkirk Center at Liberty University and is the Founder and CEO of After Eden Pictures.