By Katelyn Brazer
The Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, BSCC, is comprised of over 60 organizations, both governmental and non-profit, that work together to combat human trafficking and slavery along the U.S.-Mexico border region. Their website states that, “BSCC’s purpose is to bilaterally prevent and intervene in the commercial and sexual exploitation of men, women, and children while advocating for all exploited persons.” When our group met with the Executive Director, Marisa Ugarte, we were impressed and simultaneously shocked, as she had so much to share with us. When asked what a typical day in this line of work is like she responded, “Horrible, non-stop, it can be anytime, day or night that you get new cases.” At this moment, as if to exemplify the horrific reality of her statements, Ugarte received a phone call from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) informing her of a new case in the area. We learned that the huge ring of forced prostitution in San Diego is largely due to the U.S. military presence in the area. Women from south of the border are being forced, coerced, and defrauded into coming to the U.S. where they will service many men a day and suffer many more human rights abuses.
Ugarte explained to the group that the organization helps a wide range of cases including both domestic as well as international cases and both labor and sexual exploitation cases. Human trafficking is the second largest illegal market and countless people fall prey to traffickers and consumers. Currently the organization has thirty-eight open cases. Ugarte warns that organ trafficking is a pertinent issue that must also be addressed, yet sadly is often over looked. She says that the problem with our society has become that, “We don’t consider humans human anymore. We consider them recyclable profits.”