One of the largest growing criminal industry in the world today, generating over a 100 billion dollars despite the abolition of slavery is human trafficking, which has become a worldwide concern in the past few years. Human trafficking has become a global problem although more popular in some nations of the world than others. Yearly, millions of people are victims of this wicked act; men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide irrespective of their age, religion, race or nationality especially the females being the main target.
Human trafficking is the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labour or sexual exploitation. The Merriam Webster dictionary, which is one of my favorites, defines human trafficking as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited (as by being forced into prostitution or involuntary labor)”. Force or coercion is commonly used and at other times romantic relationships are used to lure especially the female (teens) victims.
People can be trafficked and exploited in many forms, including being forced into sexual exploitation, begging, crimes (such as growing cannabis or dealing drugs), domestic servitude, marriage, organ removal, forced labor, slavery or similar practices.
People do not have to be transported across borders for trafficking to take place. In fact, transporting or moving the victim does not define trafficking– it can take place within a single country, or even within a single community.
Some of these victims are usually:
- Vulnerable persons
- The poor; those trying to escape poverty
- Those searching for greener pastures abroad- escape means
Most times victims of this inhuman act are sold by family members, friends or acquaintances which are lured by fake promises of a good life, education etc. and they are held in terrible conditions without food, clothing or even shelter despite being abused and denied any access to their families.
Human trafficking is not new, just a more modernized form of slave trade. To say we can completely stop it might not be feasible but together we can fight seriously against it and ensure it is reduced in our communities and globally.
Some of the steps we can take are:
- Support anti- trafficking efforts in your community;
- Be and stay well informed;
- Host awareness programmes on human trafficking;
- Report anyone suspected to be involved in human trafficking to the right authorities;
- Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim;
- Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors; and
- Assist people in need of food, shelter especially the vulnerable ones that you can.
Let’s help make the world a better place for all and reduce this horrible crime called human trafficking. If you stay quiet, you or any of your loved ones might be a victim, imagine the psychological effect it would have on the victim.