Human Trafficking Hits Home

Human trafficking is most often thought of as a problem in other areas of the world — the Middle East, for example. This kind of crime has been going on in our own country for decades. However, with the Mexican drug cartels getting involved more frequently, the existence of human cargo is a tragedy, and it’s getting worse.

Smuggling Drugs

Mexican drug cartels are skilled at smuggling cargo across the U.S. border. They’ve perfected their tactics and now use elaborate methods that used to be unimaginable to anyone on the outside. Today, U.S. border patrol agents are not surprised by anything anymore, as they’ve seen tunnels, catapults, tanks and other devices used to smuggle drugs.

Smuggling Humans

However, since the 1990s, cartels have toyed with human immigrants, and officials say that the toll from smuggling humans is much worse. It started when the cartels established control over areas of the border and began taxing coyotes who led bands of illegal immigrants through these areas. Greed and opportunity led the drug cartels to begin smuggling humans across these routes themselves, sometimes with a backpack full of marijuana strapped to their backs. Other times, the humans were transported during the marijuana off season, in order to keep the income flowing in.

Utter Cruelty

Victims of human trafficking are never treated well, and those coming from Mexico are no exception. They are often used by the cartels to help with drug trafficking and more often than not, these humans are beaten, raped, or killed. Those that survive are scarred for life. “Drugs are only sold once,” Sanchez, the chairwoman of the House Homeland Security border subcommittee, said. “But people can be sold over and over. And they use these people over and over until they are too broken to be used anymore.” (1)

Many people criticize the U.S. government for not doing enough about this problem. The border war with drug cartels has always been a point of frustration for our government and military, and we have not been able to get a handle on the problem. Lack of funding and lack of coordination between the two countries have been the biggest downfalls.

The drug cartels have always fought back with violence efforts to halt them, and that has many people scared. The cartels are moving their drug and human cargo further into the U.S. now, and citizens in all border states, as well as areas further north are experiencing the violence. The cartels’ power is not something to take lightly, but our government is not going to back down. We need to be more aware of this kind of human trafficking and do all we can to help these victims.


(1) Drug cartels raise the stakes on human smuggling

Drug And Human Trafficking Violence Making Its Way Into Oklahoma City

UNODC on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

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