Well another 4 years has past and it is time for me to stand in line and renew my drivers license. Before working on the issue of human trafficking I would have considered this a huge burden that I would really not enjoy doing.
When working with victims of trafficking one of the most difficult problems to overcome is establishing identification. This is a hurdle that affects all aspects of a trafficked victim's life. In fact, a lack of identification is often one of the most powerful chains a trafficker has to keep the victim in bondage the victim and isolated within society.
Without identification, a person cannot get a job, rent an apartment, open a bank account, and may be arrested until their identity is proven. A victim without ID is at the mercy and often exploitation of others to exist.
Immigrant victims are subject to arrest and deportation.We have seen many US citizens exploited due to lack of ID as well. One of our cases has a woman who was 26 years old. She had been sold into the sex trade at 13. She had never had an ID or social security number. Her parent was the one that sold her. So when trying to establish her identity she needed a copy of her birth certificate. To get a birth certificate you need an ID, normally a parent with ID could get a copy however in this case that was not possible. So you can see the vicious cycle a victim becomes trapped in. We were able to get her ID but it took a team of very knowledgeable people.
So every four years when it is time to renew my license I smile while waiting in line and giggle at how fun it is to renew my license and all the privileges that go with it.
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