"It was people saying that I see you and I care-that was the thing, I think, that turned the things around for me most"
–Jeri Williams, Co-founder , Survivor 2 Survivor.
(Voice of a human trafficking survivor, Jeri Williams was a victim herself)
Our history lessons took us through various historical movements on how abolitionism (a movement to end slavery) paid off to end the African and Indian slave trade and set the people free from slavery. However, even after centuries of anti-slavery war it still exists in our modern day. Today we call it as the most contemporary slavery or modern day slavery. It is estimated that there are about 21 million to 70 million people who are forced into slavery depending on the method of enslavement.
Human trafficking is a mammoth gateway to exploit human rights through human trade. It is considered as the world’s third largest crime after drug trafficking and illegal arms trading. Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the most common types of human trafficking besides slavery and organ harvesting. This lucrative industry is estimated about $32 billion throughout the world contributing 80% of the cases involving sex industry and other 20% of the cases to the labor industry. Believe it or not, Human Trafficking is everywhere.
The cause of human trafficking is quite complicated and interlinked that includes economic, social and political factors. Poverty is not the only factor that creates vulnerability in human trafficking; there are many other combined factors that can lead to greater risks like corruption, weak government, lack of education or jobs, or family dysfunction. However the root cause of human trafficking is the traffickers and their willful decision of being profited by compelling people to work or enter flesh trade.
Human smuggling leaves a huge negative impact not only to the victims but also to the world. This impingement is sensed by both the countries equally, from which the people are trafficked and to which they are trafficked. The effects can be seen in society, which includes the impact in the families and communities they left behind. And in some countries where there is a great gender bias women victims are often traded into sexual slavery. When people migrate to other countries seeking employment and end up being trafficked result in remittance loss impacts the economy. Women and children smuggled for the purpose of sexual exploitation are prone to great risk of HIV/AID or other STIs. There’s a fear of spreading the illness in the society that affects the health of the community as a whole. Moreover people are being trafficked in the most horrible conditions beaten, violated and told they are worthless. Even after reaching their destination, these circumstances can leave detrimental effects on their wellbeing both physically and mentally. Finally, this illicit activity of human trafficking will have serious implication on national security in both the countries.
Recognizing the potential red flag and knowing the indicators is the key step to prevent human trafficking. Anyone can fight human trafficking. All we need is to be aware on human trafficking so that we can learn the indicators of human trafficking and identify a potential victim. Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in the community which we live in. Organize a fund raiser and donate the proceeds to the NGOs working for anti-trafficking. As a parent, educator, or a school administrator we have to learn to be aware how traffickers target school children and help bringing awareness to the children as well. Let’s join hands to spread a word to the public on human trafficking.