SAN DIEGO: Today is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and was established as an annual day of awareness by the United Nations General Assembly. Human trafficking affects peoples of every nation with this unthinkable form of modern-day slavery. Driven primarily by the demand for affordable labor and sexual exploitation, there are approximately 21 million trafficked human beings around the world with approximately 5.5 million children, according to a story by Forbes contributor, Ewelina U. Ochab .
The epidemic of human trafficking
Moreover, in a UN report by the Office on Drugs and Crime’s cited by Ochab, approximately 51% of persons trafficked are women, 21% are men, 20% are girls and 8% are boys.
Beginning to increase in numbers since World War II, creating mass displacement of peoples worldwide, the unintended consequences of war and its homelessness, loss of family ties, massive poverty, and wide-spread deprivation provided human trafficking with the opportunity to be self-serving as it manipulated and abused those who were barely able to survive.
According to the international definition for human trafficking published, published in glowbalact.com, it is “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or purchase of persons for the sole purpose of exploitation.”
Preying on the vulnerable
Desperate people might be lured into manipulative situations when poverty and lack of options, kidnappings, false advertisement, questionable relationships, pimping and family financial arrangements with those who are unscrupulous and promise to satisfy basic human survival needs while offering deceitful future opportunities.
“I was on the street in winter and there was no soles on my shoes. A pimp saw me and said he would help me out. He said he would buy me three pairs of shoes. I couldn’t believe he was going to buy me shoes. I was freezing; I didn’t know what else to do.” -Anonymous Victim
Homeless persons and children without adult oversight are prime victims of human trafficking, representing the invisible and forgotten souls living on the streets who easily slip away unnoticed.
For his July, 2019 statement about human trafficking, Executive Director for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, expressed his concerns for this proliferating human tragedy:
“Human trafficking happens in every country. It thrives in situations where the rule of law is weak and people lack opportunities. Humanitarian crises and conflicts create an environment in which traffickers easily prey upon the vulnerable.”
Arm yourself with facts
The following are some commonly known facts surrounding human trafficking among children and teens, published by Fight Human Trafficking with Covenant House:
- Many victims become coerced by psychological and emotional coercion, forming strong bonds with them believing that they are actually loved by their captor
- Stockholm syndrome is not unusual.
- Control might be held by creating drug dependency and isolation.
- Homelessness creates vulnerability to pimps who offer food and shelter.
- Sexual exploitation is common which could become an inescapable cycle of abuse.
- LGBTQ homeless youth are at particularly high risk for victimization.
- Victims are denied basic independence, outside human contact and the ability to become trained or educated for meaningful work, furthering the vicious cycle of dependency.
- It is recommended by Covenant House that policymakers continue funding services and supports for homeless children as a critical method of preventing human trafficking and exploitation.
For further information or providing support to help prevent human trafficking, contact the following:
As we go about our busy lives which are filled with promise and opportunity, it is difficult to imagine that millions of people fall victim to human trafficking each year; and, members of our own communities are at-risk for victimization because of homeless and poverty.
On July 30th this year, and every year to follow, provides the opportunity to be reminded how very fortunate most Americans truly are.
By supporting our communities and the gallant efforts made by leadership, organizations and individuals and others, endeavoring to aide vulnerable at-risk populations, it might do well to offer support through
volunteerism or other forms of contributions with the goal of helping to prevent victimization and exploitation of so many at home.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!