1% of human trafficking victims are rescued. 1% of 40-300.000 innocent imprisoned men, women and children are saved from the horrifying situations to which they are subject to worldwide.
Human trafficking is “the process of trapping people through the use of violence, deception or coercion and exploiting them for financial or personal gain”, according to Anti-Slavery. The crime is divided into 25 types, including pornography, domestic work, residential sex trafficking and even carnivals.
The earliest form of transcontinental human trafficking began with the African slave trade in the 15th century. The international trade involved both American and European buyers, who saw the African slave population as a cheaper source of labor. Those kidnaped, convicted of crime, or failing to pay a family debt were forced into harsh and torturous labor conditions.
Nowadays, hundreds of years later, human trafficking still exists and is an unceasingly growing problem, with 30% of human trafficking victims being children. It is thus only natural to truly wonder why a crime so inhumane even exists.
There is no singular cause of trafficking. Notably, in developing countries, crime can be a consequence of job shortages, natural disasters, religious persecution, political conflict, etc. However, the incessant growth of this modern day issue is due to globalization. This process of facilitating the expansion across worldwide borders allows developing countries to enter the global market, thus allowing easier transportation of illegal migrants. These illegal organizations hence continue to grow and expand, worsening the global issue.
In a more newborn context, the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened victims' vulnerabilities to trafficking. With the closing of schools and activities, children have become more susceptible to online trafficking, particularly online sexual abuse. As a result, these children are less likely to escape the situation they are trapped in. The numerous lock-downs have additionally heavily increased the risk of expanding criminal networks due to document less migrants. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused dangerous closures of public services, civil society organizations, and other help resources for victims. Lack of support from these can lead to facilitated human trafficking as well as increased difficulty to escape.
The constantly growing criminal organizations for human trafficking are undoubtedly responsible for the torment and misery of their victims. The main causes of this crime, therefore, include that a victim could be entrapped into trafficking.
Affecting both children and adults, extreme poverty and lack of education and/or job opportunities can fuel such a crime. A weak, corrupt economy can result in a desperation for money, especially when the possibility of finding a real job is low. This urgency for financial stability can not only make victims more vulnerable, but also gives human traffickers a desire to continue exploiting their victims. Moreover, harmful social norms can result in trafficking. A common example of this is child marriage. In this case, the victim likely comes from a disadvantaged family background, and is obligated to marry at a severely young age. These victims will carry unimaginable psychological damage and physical abuse for a lifetime. Regarding these social norms, the One Child Policy in China has resulted in a critical shortage of women; a difference of about 30 to 40 million people. The preference for having a son over a daughter in China stemmed from a man’s higher probability of earning more money, especially in the agrarian economy of the time. This shortage has led to severe bride trafficking, buying and selling women from neighboring countries. The demographic disaster has caused remarkable trafficking rates in Northern Myanmar. The women promised a higher paying job as they cross the Chinese border and find themselves being sold for up to $13 000.
The stems of human trafficking are numerous and arise terrible consequences, leaving tens of millions of suffering victims to live in hopelessness, with no way out.
In honor of this year's Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we must encourage ourselves and others to learn the signs of human trafficking, raise awareness and to make an effort to help make a difference in putting a stop to this global crisis." Using blue" was one of many initiatives, including trainings and community engagement, in which I and others partook to show our determination to fight human trafficking. Wearing a blue outfit, accessory or even wearing blue makeup brought people together from all around the globe symbolizing worldwide solidarity, advocate for the message:"You are not alone."
The following list is produced by NV.gov, giving detailed insight on how to spot common traits of human trafficking systems and report potential trafficking incidents:
Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse.
Avoiding eye contact, social interaction and authority figures/law enforcement.
Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction.
Lacking official identification documents.
Appearing destitute/lacking personal possessions.
Working excessively long hours.
Living in a place of employment.
Checking into hotel positions with older males, and referring to those males as a boyfriend or "daddy", which is often street slang for a pimp.
Poor physical or dental health.
Tattoos/ branding on the neck and/or lower back.
Interested sexually transmitted diseases.
Small children serve in a family restaurant.
Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment - barbed wire inside a fence, bars covering the insides of windows.
Not allowing people to go into public alone, or speak to themselves.
What we all need to do is;To stay vigilant, open-minded and not to be silent about things that matter.
U-Reporter for Western Balkans
Investigative journalism student
Anti-Trafficking & HR Consultant
Msc in IR & Diplomacy of the EU
ATI Student Advisory Council
Youth educator on gender-based violence,sexual and reproductive health
Activist for HR,Trainer, Mentor
Tilia Lamdan is currently a junior in high school studying in Barcelona, after having newly moved from her birthplace, Singapore. She has recently joined the Student Advisory Council in hopes to help make an impact on the ongoing worldwide effort to prevent human trafficking. She has always been passionate about assisting those who lack essential rights and freedoms in acquiring such necessities. Spreading awareness and volunteering to help victims of human trafficking has, therefore, been a longtime interest of hers. She is determined to erase the stigma around such issues, while simultaneously empowering survivors and educating potential victims. In her free time, Tilia can be seen playing basketball, writing poetry, or watching a docuseries.