By Joanne Marszal
People may believe that slavery ended, but it continues today with human trafficking. This is the practice of using force, fraud or coercion for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. There are facts that people might not know about human trafficking. Crs.org and globalcitizen.org lists them:
- People living in poverty are more at risk – Human trafficking victims are more likely to come from some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. Trafficking often forces disadvantaged groups into labor or sexual exploitation. Eighty percent of human trafficking victims are women and half of them are children.
- Exploitation covers more than you think – Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the most commonly identified forms of human trafficking. More than half of the victims are female. Many other forms of exploitation are often thought to be under-reported. These include domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade and warfare.
- Human trafficking is virtually everywhere – If you’re a child of the eighties or nineties you might remember shows like “To Catch a Predator” and your parents fear over how to control chatrooms. True–the internet provides the world with amazing abilities to connect, share and communicate with one another every day, but, unfortunately, criminals exploit this tool to take advantage of people seeking better lives. This leads to cases of human trafficking virtually all over the world. To learn more about victims of human trafficking in countries across the world click here to read their stories.
- Causes of trafficking: It’s complicated – The causes of human trafficking are complex and interlinked, and include economic, social and political factors. Poverty alone does necessarily create vulnerability to trafficking, but when combined with other factors, these can lead to a higher risk for being trafficked. Some of those other factors include: corruption, civil unrest, a weak government, lack of access to education or jobs, family disruption or dysfunction, foster care, childhood trauma and prior sexual abuse, lack of human rights, or economic disruptions.
- Wealthy countries profit from human trafficking – Therefore the world needs to be aware of the realities of human trafficking. While the estimated market value from modern slavery is $32 billion, guess where nearly HALF of that money ends up? An estimated $15.5 billion USD made from modern slavery (which includes human trafficking, debt bondage, and forced labor) ends up in developed countries with high GDPs.
- Smugglers profit from trafficking refugees – To find another disadvantaged group being abused by traffickers, look no farther than the refugee crisis. Refugees fleeing horrific conditions of war are sometimes forced to pay upward of $3,000 a person to reach Europe. There are currently more than 9 million Syrians displaced from their homes and more than 60 million displaced people worldwide. The abuse of smugglers should never be added to their journey.
- Fighting Trafficking: The three P’s plus a little more – The U.S. government is at the forefront of efforts to address human trafficking. Its policy surrounds the three P’s: prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers. The number of convictions for human trafficking is increasing, but unfortunately not proportionately to the growing awareness and extent of the problem. There are several reasons for that. There is an absence of anti-trafficking legislation in some countries. Sometimes the legislation exists, but law enforcement officials and prosecutors may not know how to use it. In some instances, victims may not cooperate with the criminal justice system because they have been threatened by a trafficker.
- Countries are catching on – Ending human trafficking is complicated. It takes international laws and involves governments, supporting organizations for victims and awareness from global citizens like you. More and more governments are catching on and taking action on this global issue. In the past few years, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and the Seychelles all enacted new laws to combat human trafficking. Haiti also created a fund to provide support for over 1,000 children who are trafficking victims.
- There are a bunch of organizations to help – There’s a lot of organizations working to end human trafficking. The UN has a coalition of organizations from people with expertise in drug and crime, labor, migration, human and children’s rights and advocacy all working together on something called the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking. And US foreign aid supports over 340 projects from larger NGOs to grassroots organizations to combat trafficking around the world as well.
- The world could use more resources – Yes, there are many organizations working to end human trafficking, but the world could still use more resources. About $97 million USD from the US went toward fighting human trafficking between 2009 and 2013. Seeing that the market for modern slavery is $32 billion, and the US spends over $500 billion on military spending, it’s clear that the world could definitely use more resources in this fight, and the US can contribute more.
Abuse may seem difficult to stop, but it’s not impossible. Huffingtonpost.com lists 5 ways to stop child sex trafficking:
- Education – The more knowledge one has about what child sex trafficking is, the better prepared and equipped one is to stop it. Educate yourself about child sex trafficking. Read books and articles, watch videos, listen to experts.
- Recognize Signs – When you are able to recognize what a victim looks like, you can better help them.
- Report any suspicions – When you see any suspicious activity you believe may be related to child sex trafficking, make that phone call to 911, or call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center line at 1-888-373-7888.
- Raise Awareness – Raise awareness with those you know, whether it is within your circle of friends and family, local churches and faith based groups, your work environment, and even with your local politicians and legislators. Ensure that schools in your area are also aware of child sex trafficking, and how children within their own schools may be potential victims.
- Take Action – Become an advocate about child sex trafficking. Speak out about the issue to others within the circles you are associated with. Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, and to politicians. Encourage your state legislatures to continue to address this issue. Become involved in anti-trafficking efforts where you live, and in your own city and community.
No one should experience human trafficking, or any type of abuse. Abuse may be a challenge to fight but saving lives is completely worth it! If people would stand up for each other, the world would be a safer than it is now.
I live in West Palm Beach Florida and I have a Multimedia Journalism degree from Florida Atlantic University. Writing is my passion. I love helping people with information they need to know.
Authors express their own opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Stop Abuse Campaign.
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