We had a monstrous past.

When we go through the history of civilizations, ‘slavery’ is the word that has always popped up somewhere in the middle of all ruins. Terms such as ‘Exploitation’ and ‘Coercion’ might have gained popularity in late eighties, but people had been facing bondage, forced labor and coercion since long back. Every culture, religion and nationality has been associated with slavery. In 6000 BC, when the world’s first city-state emerged in Mesopotamia, wars were fought and the enemies were captured and forced to work. In short, slavery. That is the root of slavery written in yellow pages. However different definitions of slavery emerged in different systems varying with time and places depending on the various social, economic, and legal position of slaves.

But..We’re living in our castle of dreams today, isn’t it?

That was all in the past, right? Now we are living in a brand new world where the gap between dreaming approximates creating, where nothing is quiet impossible. “Gross world product in 2016 is projected at $75.21 trillion, its GDP (PPP) is forecasted at $119.1 trillion. Global economy is 1.58 times greater in PPP terms compare to nominal terms. Out of 190 economies, 174 have higher value in PPP basis and 15 have higher in nominal.”source But in our castle of dreams, reality invades and breaks our glass unicorn.

Today, human trafficking is the third most profitable crime. Human traffickers make money by trading people for commercial purposes such as sexual slavery, forced labor or domestic slavery. By people, it means children, women, men and LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender). Gender and age profile of victims detected globally is- 59% Women,14% Men,17% Girls and 10% were Boys. According to UNODC reports, “Almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children worldwide. However, in some parts of Africa and the Mekong region, children are majority (up to 100% in parts of West Africa). The most common form of trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The second most common form of trafficking is forced labor(18%).” source In 2014, the International Labor Organization estimated $150 billion in annual profit is generated from forced labor alone.

What is Human Trafficking?

It is often understood as people being forcefully and deceitfully transported form one place to another. It is not just that. Human trafficking is more about exploitation than the transportation. It does occur on international borders, but it can also occur within a country, within your hometown. It may encompass your neighbor forcing their spouse for forceful marriage, parent selling their child to work for a rich, big belly thug due to unpaid debt or extraction of organs or tissues without consent, forced surrogacy and ova removal, kidnapping teenagers for sex slavery, deceiving people with fake visas etc.

I’d rather die than being exploited”

They won’t let you die either. Bummer. Not only human trafficking includes physical abuse and exploitation, it leaves an unforgettable imprint in the mind of victims. Human traffickers know how to target their victims, they know how to bring them in control. When we hear people turning towards prostitution to earn their living, we often blame them and wonder how people can agree to something like that. We often forget to observe they are victims. Human traffickers firstly target people psychologically. They exploit their victims with violence and heinosity to such an extent that they get broken down into pieces psychologically. Their will power and the strength to resist are crushed and they are broken till they are at the very verge of dying at the trafficker’s mercy. They are then brain washed and sold to their masters. Because of their survival instincts, the victims cling to their masters and agree to be whoever they want them to be. This scenario is very disturbing and very hard to even imagine.

What is the world doing to clean this scum?

United Nations is already dealing with many aspects of human trafficking in international level. These institutions have been working together in the Initiative’s preparatory phase through a steering committee- UNODC, UNICEF, ILO, IOM, OHCHR, OSCE. Many NGOs are also working to combat human traffickers.

Today’s Scenario:

  1. Trafficking happens everywhere.

    It is a popular conception that human trafficking happens in third world countries (the countries that remained neutral or did not align with any party during Cold War). No, It’s happening everywhere.

  1. People are also trafficked for other purposes than sexual exploitation.

    40% victims are trafficked for forced labor, 0.3% for organ removal, 53% for sexual exploitation and 7% for others.

  1. Women are involved in trafficking too.

    Out of persons convicted for trafficking, 28% were women and 72% were men.

  1. Child Trafficking is increasing.

    From 2009-2011, the trafficking percentage of girl (under 18) went from 17% to 21% and the rate of boys trafficked (under 18) went up from 10% to 12%.

  2. The Laws cannot do it all.

    In spite of all the laws that have been made, there are very few convictions for trafficking in person.

What can we do?

First and foremost thing we can do is to be aware. Learn the indicators of trafficker. Aware your friends too. Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Learn what information you are providing online. There are 24X7 hotlines that are helping people to combat human traffickers. Aware yourself with your country’s helpline number.

And yes, each and every effort counts. Your awareness can save your family, your neighbor’s child and many souls. Every individual counts. If there is dirt in your shoes, you do not walk around knowing that, you wipe it clean. Let’s wipe this clean too.