The cinematic universe recently shed light on the harrowing world of human trafficking with the movie “Sound of Freedom.” But what if I told you that the real-life portrayal is just the tip of the iceberg? Dive deeper, and you’ll uncover a chilling narrative unfolding right in our backyard, in central California.
Merced County Sheriff’s deputies, while executing a search warrant, stumbled upon a scene that would send shivers down anyone’s spine. Thousands of pounds of illegally sourced and processed marijuana lay sprawled across one of the largest illegal marijuana processing sites they had ever seen. But that wasn’t the most shocking part.
Hidden amidst this vast expanse were 60 souls, allegedly victims of human trafficking. These individuals were lured across the U.S.-Mexico border with the promise of jobs, only to be ensnared in a web of deceit. Forced to live in deplorable conditions, they toiled day in and day out to repay the very cartel that had smuggled them into the U.S. Sheriff Vern Warnke, visibly shaken by the discovery, remarked, “These folks are indentured. They owe money and yet here we are at an illegal processing center, and they are scared to death.“
For those unfamiliar with the term, indenture historically referred to a contract where an employer would pay for an individual’s passage to the colonies. In return, the individual would work without salary to repay the debt. This exploitative practice was outlawed by the 13th Amendment in the United States. Yet, here we are, witnessing its modern-day avatar.
Among these victims was a juvenile, who, upon discovery, was handed over to Child Protective Services. But this incident isn’t an isolated one. It’s a mere drop in the vast ocean of human trafficking cases that have surged, thanks in no small part to the Biden administration’s lax border policies. These policies have not only empowered but also emboldened cartels and criminal groups involved in smuggling and trafficking.
The U.S., shockingly, ranks among the worst countries for human trafficking. Data from DeliverFund, a nonprofit organization, reveals that the U.S. witnesses approximately 199,000 incidents of human trafficking annually. And the situation is deteriorating. In FY2020 alone, nearly 2,200 people were referred to U.S. attorneys for human trafficking offenses, marking a staggering 62% increase from 2011.
The New York Times paints a grim picture of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. What started as a “scattered network” of freelance coyotes has now evolved into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, largely controlled by Mexico’s most notorious drug cartels. This transformation coincided with the surge in illegal immigration during the Obama administration, which has now spiraled into an unprecedented crisis under Biden.
In FY2021, Biden’s tenure saw the highest number of illegal border crossings in U.S. history, with approximately 1.7 million encounters. And FY2022 shattered this record with a staggering 2.76 million illegal border encounters.
Why this sudden influx? Many believe that our southern border is virtually non-existent. A migrant from Venezuela, in a candid conversation with Fox News in 2022, remarked, “The border is open. We come in, free, no problem.“
Despite the Biden administration’s attempts to control this narrative, their actions speak louder than words. From halting Trump’s border wall project to attempting a 100-day moratorium on deportations, their stance on border security has been, at best, questionable.
But here’s the crux of the matter: a secure border isn’t just about curbing illegal immigration.
It’s about safeguarding the most vulnerable—the trafficking victims, especially women and children—who are preyed upon by sex traffickers and criminal cartels.
It’s about preventing heart-wrenching incidents like the one in Merced County or the tragedy in San Antonio, Texas, where 53 souls were left to perish inside a sweltering tractor-trailer.