Human Trafficking, also known as modern slavery, is a global problem and one of world’s fastest growing and most profitable crimes, affecting 40.3 million humans worldwide with an estimated profit of $150 billion annually according to International Labor Organization (ILO).
Human Trafficking happens everywhere, and no country is immune from it and it goes beyond individual victims undermining the safety and security of all countries. Trafficking is a criminal activity that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex through force, coercion, and deception. Traffickers prey on vulnerable population of women, men, and children exploiting them for their own profit often luring them by false promises of better lives. The vulnerable population includes people living in poverty, a history of substance abuse, emotional distress, and people with disabilities. Also, sexual orientation, economically disadvantaged, foreign nationals, lack of social support and isolation, runaway/homelessness, and lower level of education are factors that attract traffickers in using their recruitment tactics to gain physical, and psychological control over their victims.
Most common types of human trafficking are sex trafficking, labor trafficking, and organ trafficking with 76% of sex trafficking victims are women and 27% are children. There is no specific type of victims or traffickers. They can be family members or strangers from different backgrounds and nationalities.
Human trafficking should not be confused with smuggling. Smuggling is a crime against a state requiring border crossing and transportation based with an individual consent; however, trafficking is a crime against a person, no border crossing required, exploitation based without an individual consent.
Traffickers don’t need to abduct or physically restrain their victims to exploit them. They usually use fear and manipulation strategy to gain control over their victims and they do that by threatening them with physical and legal consequences, confiscate and hold their identification or legal documents, deceive, and isolate them.
Combating human trafficking and ending human trade requires everyone’s effort. Few ways can help end human trafficking.
- Since Human Trafficking is a global issue, international cooperation is very important.
- Strengthen legal system nationally and internationally.
- Raise awareness among vulnerable population.
- Educate public and develop and implement effective outreach programs.
- Teach about recognizing the signs and red flags of Human trafficking.
- Provide support and assistance to victims
- Empower victims to speak out.
- Train healthcare professionals and frontline workers to identify victims.
- Spread the word about the issue and how to report it.