There are many unresolved issues to which we give our attention but, of all those issues, how many of us stop to think about the trafficking of humans for either sexual purposes or free labour? While we would like to think this heinous business ended a long time ago, unfortunately, that is simply not true — not around the world, and not even within the United States.
Sex trafficking is defined as “a type of human trafficking involving the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbour or receipt of persons, by coercive or abusive means for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is not the only form of human trafficking and estimates vary as to the percentage of human trafficking which is for the purpose of transporting someone into sexual slavery.”
According to the Women’s Funding Network, “pimps prey on young women and girls by finding their weakness and then exploiting it. It is easier to manipulate children, and by the time children become adults, they are broken down and dependent on a pimp.” Though this statement is about young girls or women, The Good Men Project reports that boys are preyed upon too; the impact on young males should not be overlooked as we seek solutions to this large and growing international problem.
The United Nations currently estimates that 27 million people around the world are living in slavery, and this number grows by 2.5 million annually. Half of all newly exploited slaves are children. Here are some sobering statistics from Stop Child Trafficking Now:
As with any other who suffers human rights abuses, the victims of trafficking are often seen as easy prey to aggressors. Abusers are often wealthy, powerful and politically well-connected but, with more focus on the issue and international governmental support to curb the degradation and violence the increasing number of kidnappings, exports and abuses can be reduced. Poverty, neglect and violence are central themes in this issue; understanding the underlying factors that keep this lucrative business in operation is key to its resolution.
Organisations such as Grace Haven House in Ohio have lists of things you can do to fight human trafficking; it’s important to be aware of and acknowledge that there is a problem before fighting it. If you want to get more information or help, please contact any of the numerous governmental agencies or non-governmental organisations such as the PolarisProject.
“The best weapon against this blight is awareness.”
~ David Jacobson, Ambassador of the United States of America