July 30 is World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Today is the day that we reflect on all of the victims of human trafficking throughout the world, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
Currently, there are more than 21 million trafficked people, worldwide. Most of these are women and children, with the amount of children trafficked estimated to be around one-third of this total number, including both boys and girls.
“Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims,” the UN reports.
People are trafficked for sexual exploitation as well as for labor, with some being forced to work in sweatshops. FreedomFund reports, “Today’s slaves are trapped in fishing fleets and sweatshops, in mines and brothels, and in the fields and plantations of countries across the world. It can be called human trafficking, forced labour, slavery, or it can refer to the slavery-like practices that include debt bondage, forced or servile marriage, and the sale or exploitation of children.”
Many of those that are trafficked are refugees. With 25.4 million worldwide and many of them underage, they are a prime target for traffickers: “…as the UN ODC identifies, cross-border trafficking flows often resemble regular migration flows,” Forbes writes, “Migrants, and especially refugees, are extremely vulnerable to traffickers abusing their dire situation and preying on their desperation to find a safe haven.”
Human trafficking, however, does not just target migrants. Traffickers also target tourists and nationals worldwide. Traffickers may lure victims with the promise of a job opportunity. Other times, friends and family members traffic victims. Victims may also be abducted. Traffickers favor city hubs and interstates for transporting victims and may also use sporting events and large gatherings for trafficking.
It is important on World Day against Trafficking in Persons to acknowledge this worldwide epidemic and to take steps against it in our own backyard.
The A21 Campaign, an organization that helps free modern-day slaves and aims to bring awareness about human trafficking lists signs to educate people on how to spot a victim of human trafficking. Some of these signs include “signs of physical abuse,” if someone is “controlled by another person,” signs of malnutrition or poor health, and “lack of official identification.” For the full list, click here.
It is important to report suspicion of human trafficking to the authorities. You can call your local police or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. In the UK, you can call the helpline or file a report here. If you are worldwide, you can also call to report suspicion of Human Trafficking on A21’s website here.
Publication Date: July 30, 2018
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash