Arguing Cause TJ

Dark Side of the Oil Boom: Trouble in the Bakken Oil Region

Sex trafficking is an important issue in society, and we typically think of it as something that happens in other countries, but it happens in the US more often than we are aware of. In the United States alone, an estimated 300,000 children may become victims of sexual exploitation each year (Estes & Weiner 140). The oil boom in North Dakota has brought in a significant amount of wealth in a very short period of time, causing different types of people to flood into North Dakota. Not all the people that are flooding into North Dakota are looking to make honest money but are trying to make money anyway they can. There are many ways people are trying to make money in North Dakota, ranging from growing, to dealing drugs, petty crimes, and even human trafficking, which happens to be one of the biggest problems going on in the oil fields of North Dakota.

Combine wealth, and male workers away from their families with a rural area whose local police department isn’t prepared to handle “big city” crimes and this is an ideal situation for sex traffickers. The problem is continuing to expand, the ages of victims getting younger and younger, and traffickers are getting better at targeting populations who are already considered high-risk so it is important to stay one step ahead of them. Due to the underground nature of sex trafficking, it is difficult to estimate an accurate number of current victims. Therefore the number of children at risk of becoming victims is based on several identifiable risk factors that increase vulnerability to traffickers. These factors include runaway and homeless youth, youth who perform sexual services for their peers, sexual minorities, female members of youth gangs, juveniles living in or near U.S. border cities, and the numbers are obtained from previously published studies. Studies are also finding that teenagers are the most vulnerable to sex trafficking (Estes & Weiner). The average age a child first becomes a victim is between 13 and 14 years old, however that age is starting to decrease due to the exploiters fears of the victims having HIV or AIDS (Barnitz; Friedman; Spangenberg).

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
    • Yes
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
    • I am talking about how sex trafficking is a big problem right now in North Dakota and the people that could be in risk
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)

Sex trafficking is a risk for some people in North Dakota

Much of the emphasis has been on the importance of identifying individual risk factors, but there are environmental factors that put entire communities at risk as well. North Dakota is currently experiencing an oil boom that has brought wealth, fame, and significant trauma. One environmental factor that significantly impacts communities is when a town experiences an “oil boom”. These towns are widely known as “boomtowns”. Based on previous studies, there is an established pattern of inadequate community services, housing, and goods when a population grows at “boom rates”, and funding gets used for reactive programming rather than proactive programming (Jacquet; Archbold).

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
    • Yes
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
    • Towns experiencing an "oil boom" are having a lot of problems with sex trafficking and other crime.
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)

The oil in Williston isn’t newly discovered, in fact, it was discovered in the early 1950’s. However, it has been inaccessible due to being trapped between two layers of shale rock, two miles below the surface until the more recent development of hydraulic fracturing technology (American Oil and Gas Historical Society). In 2008, it was decided that hydraulic fracturing, although dangerous, was worth the risk and Williston transformed into a “big city” almost overnight. Before the oil boom, Williston, North Dakota was a small town most people had never even heard of but today, people travel from all over the country looking for work. There are currently an estimated 3,000 job openings across all industries that people are traveling from all over the country to fill. This has caused rapid population growth, significant increases in violent crimes, prostitution, gangs, drug use, drug trafficking, and sex trafficking. The cost of living has increased, forcing many people into homelessness, “man camps” have been set up to accommodate the people coming in to work in the oil industry, and the town’s infrastructure can’t keep up with the demands of the growing population. (CTMN; Schultz; Jacquet).

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    • Yes
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
    • Williston is where a lot of the crime is happening, and this paragraph is a little bit of history about Williston.
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)

Aside from sex trafficking, there is an increase in gangs and drug trafficking. One of the gangs in Williston, known as "The Family", was caught with an arsenal of 22 weapons. This is something that was unheard of in Williston before the boom. With all the fortune that has come with the boom, this is what is known as the “dark side”; the growing trade in meth, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and cartels. Law enforcement in these small towns is struggling to keep up with the crime (Cohen, 2014). In fact, they were struggling so much to keep up with the crimes that they opened an FBI office in the Bakken region ( ICTMN; Associated Press).

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
    • Yes
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
    • There are many different crime problems in North Dakota, this is affecting the efficiency of the law enforcement.
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)

One common misconception of sex trafficking is that it always involves being smuggled across international borders, however, sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud or coercion is defined as “causing a person to engage in a commercial sex act under certain statutorily enumerated conditions” (Title 18, Chapter 77, Section 1591 United States Code). This means that giving a human being under the age of 18 to someone for the purposes of performing sex acts and receiving anything of value in return (monetary or otherwise) is considered sex trafficking of a child. It is important to note that trafficking crimes do not always involve smuggling or any movement of the victim, although undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable due to fear of authority figures. Children are also especially vulnerable to sex trafficking because they are easier to overpower than adults (United States Department of Justice).

  • Is it clear what I mean exactly?
    • Yes
  • Where might the reader be confused? What could be misleading or muddled?
  • How does the claim(s) in this paragraph relate to my main claim?
    • This paragraph talks about what sex trafficking really is and how it can be misunderstood.
  • What support have I used to argue this claim? What links this support to my claim? (for these last two, you can underline the support and make bold the linkage if it is explicitly stated. If the linkage is unstated, write it out in this quote box.)

Connecting boomtowns and sex trafficking, the oil boom in Williston has directly caused the rapid population growth that has had a direct impact on policing and crime in the Bakken region (Archbold). Local law enforcement is too overwhelmed by the rapid population growth and they need preventative plans in place instead of having to react to one crisis after another because they simply don’t have the resources. They are not just over whelmed with the number of people growing in the town but the number of calls to 9-1-1. The lack of housing has been a huge driver for the increase in violence. Prior to the boom, reports of rape were rare. Now they occur, on average, once a week in Williston (Ellis). Aside from the obvious human rights issue, there are also economic and environmental issues at stake. If we want to maintain order, safety, and sustainability in the Bakken region, there needs to be a considerable amount of attention drawn to this issue. There needs to be a plan in place to combat sex trafficking and assist law enforcement in their efforts to police the overall crime. Western North Dakota, especially Williston, cannot continue to function in a state of crisis or they will soon be facing a bust rather than scrambling to accommodate the boom.

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Arguing Cause Peer Review TJ

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