Attention: Human Trafficking

Updated: Jan 11

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sexual act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide. It can happen in any community and victims to this heinous crime can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

What trafficking really means is girls groomed and forced into sexual exploitation; men tricked into accepting risky job offers and trapped in forced labor in building sites, farms or factories; and women recruited to work in private homes only to be trapped, exploited and abused behind closed doors with no way out.

People don’t have to be transported across borders for trafficking to take place. In fact, transporting or moving the victim doesn’t define trafficking – it can take place within a single country, or even within a single community.

People can be trafficked and exploited in many forms, including being forced into sexual exploitation, labor, begging, crime (such as growing cannabis or dealing drugs), domestic servitude, marriage or organ removal.

Human Trafficking in Number:

  • 51% of identified victims of trafficking are women, 28% children and 21% men

  • 72% people exploited in the sex industry are women

  • 63% of identified traffickers were men and 37% women

  • 43% of victims are trafficked domestically within national borders

(Estimates by The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

People trapped by traffickers are mostly trying to escape poverty or discrimination, improve their lives and support their families. Vulnerable people are often forced to take unimaginable risks to try and escape poverty or persecution, accepting precarious job offers and making hazardous migration decisions, often borrowing money from their traffickers in advance.

When they arrive they find that the work does not exist, or conditions are completely different. They become trapped, reliant on their traffickers and extremely vulnerable. Their documents are often taken away and they are forced to work until their debt is paid off.

What is the cause of Human Trafficking?

Poverty, lack of education, immigration policy, environmental conditions, fractured families, and a lack of good job opportunities are sometimes said to be the real causes of human trafficking. There is no doubt that these conditions create a toxic cocktail of vulnerability that makes it easier for traffickers to exploit their victims. Thoughtful efforts to reduce these vulnerabilities and address the challenges that generate them are worthy of our attention and resources, but they are not the core difficulty in combating human trafficking. Towering above all these significant challenges in human trafficking is the trafficker’s willful decision to profit by compelling people to work or prostitute. Estimates suggest that, internationally, only about .04% survivors of human trafficking cases are identified, meaning that the vast majority of cases of human trafficking go undetected.

Consider this: when we seek to aid people dealing with prolonged drought, we are working against the natural elements. Water does not willfully refuse to fall from the sky or try to prevent people of good will from helping by concealing the effects of thirst or crop failure. People can affect or exacerbate environmental problems, but the drought itself was not caused by human decision. When we seek to help the sick, we are working against disease. Viruses and bacteria do not plot and scheme about people they might target. They do not engage in fraud or set traps to render certain people sick. The illness is not choosing to harm people for its own financial benefit or willfully obstruct medical professionals from providing care.

But when we seek justice in human trafficking cases, we work against a human adversary. There is a trafficker scheming to exploit the vulnerable and conceal the crime. Perpetrators deliberately work against the justice we seek because they profit from the unjust status quo. This fundamental truth about the intentionality of human trafficking generates hope. Stopping poverty may appear overwhelming and ending a drought may be beyond human control, but stopping an individual trafficker is doable.

Effective criminal justice systems know how to stop traffickers. They have done it before and they can do it again. But police, prosecutors, and judges of good will cannot send traffickers to jail if they are never equipped with the skills to do so. Ineffective justice systems must be transformed through proven strategies so that they can join the fight.

In this sense, we are not forced merely to endure the consequences of human trafficking. Human trafficking is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is a choice. After an earthquake, people of good will race in to mitigate the effects of the disaster, but they cannot stop the earthquake itself. But we are not limited to merely bearing the dehumanizing and tragic effects of trafficking. We can stop trafficking by stopping traffickers.

To be clear, stopping the trafficker does not resolve all the conditions that render individuals vulnerable. However, it frees victims and provides them with a fighting chance to improve their situation or benefit from important development programs.

It’s estimated that internationally there are between 20 million and 40 million people in modern slavery today. Assessing the full scope of human trafficking is difficult because so cases so often go undetected, something the United Nations refers to as “the hidden figure of crime.” Any serious effort to combat human trafficking must include striking at its root cause: the traffickers.

We can combat Human Trafficking as communities by spreading awareness by hosting events. And tomorrow, we are hosting a "National Human Trafficking Day" webinar which will cover:

  • What is human trafficking

  • Debunk myths

  • Signs that you can be more aware of

  • How to support someone who is a survivor of trafficking

  • Best practice training for front line practitioners

This webinar will be facilitated by the founder of Empower Beyond Boundaries, Reina Pathan.

Date : 11th of January, 2021 / 12th January 2021 (For Southern Hemisphere)

Time : 7pm GMT / 2pm EST / 10am PST / 7am Fiji Time


Written by :

Sophie Leota

Editor and Communications Coordinator

Empower Beyond Boundaries


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