The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Amnesty International reveals human trafficking

Deneke Metaferia | [email protected]

Anise Shah, education and outreach intern for Opening Doors’ Survivors of Human Trafficking Program, says that a lot of people didn’t recognize human trafficking cases at first because they can be difficult to establish. They’re not always about transportation of a victim.

Shah says human trafficking cases in Sacramento resemble cases in other cities around the world.

“I didn’t even know there was human trafficking in Sacramento,” says City College student Angelica Duran, sociology major.

Duran, an Amnesty International club member, wanted Shah to speak for the people’s sake. She knows it’s important for the public to be aware of this issue.

Shah told the story of a young girl who will remain anonymous and who lives in Alabama. This girl went to a party with her friends and was drugged, says Shah.

Inappropriate photographs were taken while she was under the influence. Some boys at the party made it clear that if she didn’t do exactly what they said, these pictures would be displayed to everybody. Shah says the girl was terrified the community and her family would shun her because of her religious background. The only outcome she had was to live by these commands.

The girl was neither transported or shackled up, in which many think is the case, says Shah. This girl returned home every night while her parents knew nothing of the incident. It wasn’t until some time later that the girl finally took action for help.

Opening Doors is a local non-profit organization that provides assistance for foreign-born victims of human trafficking. In order to determine a trafficking case, says Shah, force, fraud and coercion must be proved unless a victim of commercial sex trafficking is under the age of 18. Force can be used with violence, also within a group victim setting. If a victim knows that this person will get abused if they try to run than they aren’t going to attempt, says Shah.
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“Fraud — the idea of recruiting someone to come here for a legitimate job,” says Shah.
Some victims believe they are coming to the United States to work. As days go on without pay, they may start to question the traffickers, says Shah.

At this point coercion can be utilized, a psychological way of abuse. Traffickers may in fact have knowledge of the victim’s family back home. They could have pictures of them, says Shah. They can use these to let the victims know that if they don’t do what they are supposed to, their family will be in danger.

“Even if [traffickers] never laid a finger on someone…these [are] types of means of coercion to keep someone captive,” Shah says.

The process of developing laws for trafficking has been a legislative issue in recent years. In 2000, the United States passed TVPA, Trafficking Victims Protection Act to focus on the prevention and protection of trafficking.

In 2008, it was amended so a partnership between trafficking programs and law enforcement could be made. Shah says that it’s a difficult task to prosecute a trafficker as the community has a hard time understanding the offense since using charm is a method traffickers use to lure their victims.

Law enforcement now works closely with service providers, the organizations with the most knowledge of trafficking. Human trafficking has received more attention in the media recently, and the public has the chance to be educated about cases, Shah says.

To learn more about Amnesty International please visit:

More information about Opening Doors is available at

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