Survivor, Author, Advocate Lynz Piper-Loomis Calls for New U.S. and Global Tools, Increased Engagement to End Human Trafficking
Marks Progress in War on Human Trafficking, Sounds Alarm About Growing Threat During "National Human Trafficking Prevention Month" (Jan. 2023)
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Lynz Piper-Loomis, a survivor of sexual trafficking and a national and international advocate for anti-human trafficking measures, today hailed the progress achieved in the war on modern human slavery but warned the threat is growing. She called on governments for increased assistance to train citizens, businesses, and nonprofits to combat this evil and help survivors.
"As we observe National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I'm grateful for the significant progress that has been made in the war on human trafficking here and abroad. Every day, an army of dedicated men and women in government, law enforcement, and communities wages this war. Their heroic efforts help prevent, combat, and end the evil and scourge of modern human slavery," said Piper-Loomis. "They are engaged," she continued, "in the vital work of protecting the targeted and saving the victimized—and bringing the perpetrators to justice. We owe them a debt of profound gratitude."
Human trafficking is the crime of exploiting another person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts, typically through force, fraud, and coercion. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations, nearly 25 million adults and children of all ages are victims of human trafficking worldwide at any given time. The ILO estimates that traffickers and criminal enterprises reap an estimated $150 billion in global profits from their commercial exploitation of people.
Lynz Piper-Loomis was sexually trafficked as a young girl until she escaped that life of horrific abuse, violence, and exploitation. She recounts her journey from trafficked person to triumphant survivor in her recently released book entitled I Am Silent No More. Piper-Loomis has taken the lessons from her horrible experience and, together with her faith, turned them into positive, purpose-focused action and advocacy to combat human trafficking.
"Despite all the progress we've achieved in combating human trafficking, this evil persists, and the enemies that perpetrate it are relentless and undeterred. The threat is growing every day. We cannot let our guard down or slack in any way," she pointed out.
For example, she recently witnessed young girls at the southern U.S. border being forcibly smuggled into the country to be trafficked in American cities and communities. For all its excellent work, Piper-Loomis explained, U.S. law enforcement lacks the training, resources, and personnel to locate and rescue all these victims and prosecute the perpetrators.
"With much-needed government assistance," Piper-Loomis said, "we could train and empower citizens, businesses, and non-profit organizations to identify and report suspected trafficked victims and abusers. After all, victims often live in plain sight in cities and communities. Our approach will increase the number of 'eyes and ears' in locales and support and enhance the efforts and effectiveness of law enforcement." She also emphasized the need to ensure access to medical care, food, housing, and other assistance for rescued victims delivered through qualified community-based providers and organizations.
Piper-Loomis noted the "growing threat" of human trafficking also includes abduction from and sexual exploitation of women and girls in conflict and war zones, human organ harvesting, and forced child marriage, among other examples.
"That's why we urgently need an all-of-society strategy and effective solutions to combat this growing threat that affects everyone. We must intensify our efforts and increase the engagement of more citizens and communities in the fight. And we must secure new tools and resources to prosecute a sustained war until we end human trafficking and defeat and punish its perpetrators," concluded Piper-Loomis.