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ARTICLE REVIEW As a teen mom, her boyfriend lured her into human trafficking. Today she’s determined to stop other girls from doing the same

Human trafficking is a global problem and one of the most shameful crimes that rob people and specifically teenagers their dignity. In the article “How teens are lured into human trafficking: What initially seemed to be a good, loving relationship masked the hard reality, says one woman who escaped”, Hanes explains how a young girl by the name Banducci fell a victim of human trafficking without her knowledge. The author explains the events that caused Banducci to become a sex worker at the custody of her close person, the boyfriend. Banducci was pushed to her limits by the loneliness and isolation she experienced after being raped and impregnated by multiple young men. She later met a boyfriend who identified her vulnerability and lured her into a relationship that later turned violent and made her willing to do anything for the dreams they had together. The article highlights several factors that exposed Banducci to this ordeal that can be used to identify the vulnerable in society and possible ways of reducing instances of human trafficking. Even with the explicitly stated means sex traffickers use to lure teenagers, it remains a question as to whether there are unidentified risk factors not mentioned by the author, that might significantly be causing the rise in human trafficking cases.
The author begins by narrating the kind of environment that Banducci was subjected to before she decided to elope with the boyfriend. It was her behavior of sneaking out to party with friends that resulted in the rape and impregnation. This was the starting of her feelings of being rejected. Ashamed and isolated, she was ‘fortunate’ to meet a friend who seemed empathetic and caring. She felt okay to confine herself with this friend who was ready and willing to offer love and care she so much yearned for. Later, a series of events followed that culminated in her eventual role as a sex worker. As the author narrates,
“When he suggested she earn money by becoming a sex worker, she felt pressured and reluctantly agreed”.
This implies that though she might have realized some red flags, it would have been so hard for her to say ‘no’ to someone who showed her love during her most tormenting period. The author continues to narrate how Banducci eventually moved out of the relationship after realizing that the condition was worsening day after day. As the author narrates, Banducci knew that most of such relationships did not end well. She hoped that her new role in police service job could help her aspirations of assisting those trapped in this menace, and unable to find their way out. To be successful in solving such an issue in her society, Banducci identified several risk factors that could expose a teenager to human trafficking incidences and how to identify when it occurs. Even with these identifiable factors, the author indicates that the available data is not conclusive of the necessary information that might be helpful in advances to fight human trafficking.
One prominent factor triggering vulnerability among teenagers is a poor social background. There is sufficient information to imply that Banducci’s parents were not close enough to her, which limited her possibilities of speaking out. The author adequately narrates the circumstances surrounding Banducci’s parents. The parents were pre-occupied with other issues reducing their intimacy. In the article, “Undertow of exploitation: How teens get trapped in human trafficking”, Keiper and Chiaramonte narrate how traffickers take an opportunity of poor social backgrounds among teenagers to offer short-term love and caring that leads to this ordeal. The authors say,
“Traffickers prey on vulnerabilities of the target teenagers who face troubles at home”.
This was a similar scenario to Banducci’s, whereby the boyfriend offered what she thought was missing to make her trust and believe in his intentions. Even though the author fails to highlight the possible adventurous behavior of Banducci that might not have been caused by her parents’ behaviors, this is a clear indication that social background was a significant factor. Later in the story, the authors highlight the role played by Banducci’s parents and friends after she escaped from the traffickers. At this stage, however, the reader is already made to believe that the parents were partly responsible for the isolation experienced by Banducci. Perhaps, several other factors cause teenagers like Banducci to willingly indulge in immoral behaviors that expose their vulnerabilities to potential traffickers.
There is much to willingness than to the social background that is considered as the trigger to these events. The author adequately highlights how Banducci occasionally sneaked out of her home to be with her friends before the rape happened. Could her hidden ambitions and urges have led her into the trap? Or perhaps there she felt the need for more independence and exploration that even her parents could not have foreseen? The author narrates that Banducci came from a loving family, but would still sneak out. This is sufficient to imply that there was less for the parents to do to prevent this instance from eventually happening. The author goes ahead to show that the parents were preoccupied with other serious issues. At the same time, the author says that at this time when Banducci’s parents were occupied with serious issues, she was not living with her parents. This flashback puts a doubt on whether it was reasonable for the author to focus on parents as a trigger of these events. Banducci’s situation is similar to what is narrated by Kanji in the article, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sex Trafficking in Canada” where the author says
“When she ran out of money, she started living in youth shelters and was later on introduced to a man who would become her trafficker.”
This is an implication that the victim was pushed to vulnerabilities by her urges and aspirations. In such instances, even with parent’s recognition of these clear risk factors, there is less the parents can do.
The author outlines the successive events leading to human trafficking, and possible ways a victim can evade such traps when they do occur. The significance of each stage in the scenario is clearly outlined in each paragraph. The author concludes the article by expounding further on the issue of human trafficking using data availability. This hugely helps the reader determine how significant each piece of information is in the story. The issue is however more complex than highlighted by the author. For instance, the author fails to acknowledge that there could be more factors leading to such incidents such as adolescence among teenagers, and the failure of systems intended to protect and rescue human trafficking victims. Additionally, in the article “Hidden in Plain Sight: Sex Trafficking in Canada”, Kanji indicates that preventive measures and reinforcing services can help the vulnerable communities.
The problem of human trafficking is a significant topic of discussion in society today. As Hanes puts it, human trafficking occurs in so many ways and from unsuspecting individuals. There are several factors not highlighted by the author that if included, could have significantly changed the plot of the article. Even without these factors, the article is much clear in detailing the human trafficking ordeal. More information can only be provided with the availability of more data on human trafficking. It is plausible that there are several factors in the story beyond those highlighted by the author that could potentially be considered risk factors for human trafficking.

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