Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, or forced labor. This form of modern-day slavery was recently reported to bring in an estimated global annual profit of $32 billion a year. According to the United Nations, an estimated 2.5 million people from 127 different countries were being trafficked into 137 countries worldwide in 2008.
Creator, writer, and artist Kurt J. Kolka publishes an online comic strip featuring the adventures of a superhero named The Cardinal every week. He has the power of flight and strength, just like others of his kind. However, he also stands behind his morals and Christian beliefs. Lately, The Cardinal has been trying to expose a sex trafficking ring ran out of his city. You can follow his weekly adventures right here.
“I had begun hearing more and more about human trafficking through the media. As a journalist, I wanted to know more. So I did some research, including checking out statistics on government websites, and found out what a huge problem it was,” Kolka shared.
“In The Cardinal I try to do stories which are pertinent to our world today. Considering what a big issue human trafficking was internationally, and even in the U.S., I felt it needed to be addressed. We usually think of it as a foreign problem, but unfortunately it is going on right under our noses,” he continued.
“Anytime, people are being mistreated it is important to get the story out and make people aware of the problem. Human trafficking (is) … about abusing others. We must always stand up against abuse — whatever form it takes,” Kolka proclaimed.
The Cardinal isn’t the only super hero getting into the war against sex and human trafficking. The first issue of DC Comics’ Before Watchmen: Minutemen featured a member of the team named the Silhouette going up against a thug working for a child trafficking ring. He was smuggling children by rolling them up in carpeting and carrying them around like a delivery person.
In 2011, creator Paul Levitz took his Huntress character to Naples, Italy to break up a human trafficking and gun-smuggling ring. Huntress is the alter ego of Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman on the alternate world of Earth-2. The 6-issue DC miniseries, Huntress, was viewed by enough readers to merit giving the character her own monthly book entitled World’s Finest in 2012.
The Batman Family of characters have dealt with human and sex trafficking on more than one occasion. In the animated Catwoman short film attached to the feature film Batman: Year One, the feline femme fatale (voiced by popular genre actor Eliza Dushku) with a love / hate relationship with the Dark Knight uncovers a trafficking ring she must rescue a friend from.
Dushku did volunteer work in Africa and spoke on the subject in an interview she did with TakePart.com.
“When you go there and really get to know someone, hold their baby and hear them describe the details of being abducted at age nine, you want to help in any way you can,” she began.
“You can never change the things that happened to them in the past, but in the present and the future, you can bring a lot of hope,” Dushku related.
Even Marvel Comics joined the cause recently with the launch of their Spider-Man spin-off, Scarlet Spider. Issue #1 opens with Peter Parker’s clone, Kaine, taking out a gang of human traffickers one-by-one after stalking them in the dark. He might be a little mentally disturbed because he’s a degenerated clone, but he’s smart enough to know how bad these abominable criminals are.
It’s great that actors, filmmakers, writers, and artists in pop culture use their mediums to bring to light the subject of human and sex trafficking. It helps people become aware of the seriousness of this global crime. For more information on these issues you can visit the official website of Traffick911.