It is awareness that lights up change......
Slavery existed thousands of years before the 1400's, according to Rutgers Human Trafficking Timeline, European's began trading slaves by recruiting the help of the Portuguese to transport human's from Africa to Portugal. By 1562, Britain became involved in trading, expanding their development into plantation colonies. We are most commonly familiar with the African Slave Trade in the America's but many are unaware that human trading still exists.
Slavery has been carried out in countries and continents all over the world including Japan, Sudan, India, Thailand, England, Africa, and Europe but today it exists in hidden altered forms. Beyond the theories of economic slavery and debt bondage that much of the world encounters due to elements like war, globalization, poverty, and unemployment; human trafficking operates in real life as a Multi-Million dollar business industry. So much so, that President Barack Obama declared January "Human Trafficking Awareness Month". It is also wise to make note that not all cases are within an organized international crime system and as recently seen in the news, crimes that involve sex and kidnapping are many times pure perversion.
Fresh in the news a recent article accounts for a case regarding Human Trafficking in Ohio where the first of four suspects are being held in court on charges of forced labor, constituting their acts as modern day enslavement. This is one of a number of cases popping up in the United States. In May, Three Missing Girls were found after 10 years of being held against their will by a perverse man named Ariel Castro. 11 young adults were recently kidnapped in broad day light at a bar in Mexico City. Across the world, kidnapping, human trafficking, and exploitation subject people into subservient lives of forced labor, forced prostitution, slavery, and yes, they are also trafficked for organs. It predominantly effects women and children but men have are also trafficked too for similar purposes.
Tourist, job seekers, homeless, drug addicts, runaways, victims of warfare, refugees have potential to be targets. According to Wikipedia, children are additionally harbored, exploited, and trafficked for child pornography, illicit international adoption, early marriage, recruitment of child soldiers (Click here Child Soldiers in Congo), begging, cults, and oddly enough athletes known as child camel jockeys.
Two movies which touch on child slavery and prostitution are I Am Slave and Whores Glory. Whores Glory pinpoints prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico. It is the segment in Bangladesh that pin points child prostitution in one brothel located in the Red Light district. Though the movie does not speak about sex trafficking directly, the fact is during the documentary you see a child being sold to a madam in a brothel and quickly recognize that almost all the people in the brothel are children.
In no time, the children begin to speak about how sad it is and that wish for a better way. Some look to be as young as 8 years old. Traffickers may approach family members with the promise of finding their child legit work, for others, families intentionally sell their child to madams because of the immense poverty they are living in. Some children are runaways leaving them vulnerable to predators. Traffickers have been known to intimidate, kidnap, threats, offer marriage to obtain their victims.
I Am Slave follows the true story of former slave from Sudan, Mende Nazer. The movie covers her fight for freedom from modern-day slavery. She was a princess in her country but after an invasion on her village she was sold into slavery. The story tells of her inner battles, abuse, outward experiences, and eventually her escape.
Much if not almost all the time slaves are hidden, integrated into society in a number of ways. The Polaris Project has listed Red Flags to look out for. Noting a resource helpline number 1-888-373-7888. The project was founded by two seniors from Brown's University in February of 2002 after learning about a brothel existing near their college.
You can educate yourself on the topic. As the population of the world grows aside of epidemics of poverty, globalization, and inequalities, the number of victims will rise. It is through knowledge of this topic that we can begin to generate dialogue that can combat an age old demon that has circulated the earth for thousands of years. This particular cause involves both rich and poor, though mostly women and children are target, the occurrence does not discriminate by avoiding anyone.
We must pray, become knowledgeable, supportive, and spread awareness even in subtle ways revealing a world full of secrets that are destroying the lives of many. Imagine if it was your child, family member, neighbor, or close friend's child. Sadly in countries around the world their is little public policy, legislation, and resources to protect people from trafficking or to stop traffickers. The United States has an absorbent amount of "Escort Services, Pimps, and Prostitution."
Stories like the ones mentioned are making U.S. news because there is no wall that stops human trafficking from penetrating the boarders of this country or any others. No one is immune. Travelers, missionaries, and exchange students should be aware that each country operates by it's own rules, they must be cautious and awake as they explore and interact with others. Poverty is also a breeding ground for human exploitation.
It a problem the world faces because the world participates in it together and also has the power to ban against it together. Is it safe to say that the lure of money, freedom from the fear of poverty, and hope of riches all factor in. If it were not for such a dynamic unbalanced distribution of wealth, opportunities for exploitation would seem to decline. Poverty is one of the greatest ties to human trafficking but far from the only influence.