Under U.S. law, human trafficking is defined as a child or adult induced by force, fraud or coercion into performing a commercial sex act or being used for physical labour. Trafficking is a sadistic business in which exploiters, disguised as a kind neighbour or businessman, force young women, children or men to sell themselves for labour and sex. Trafficking is a form of modern slavery, victims may die in the business, or if they’re a lucky survivor they leave with such terrible physical and emotional damage it may well lead to suicide. Human trafficking must be recognised, and put to an end.
Human trafficking is not widely recognised because it is not visible in everyday life, however as hidden and secretive as it may be; it still exists and is the bane of many people’s exist. Trafficking second largest criminal enterprise in the world, 24.9 million people world wide are forced to give labour services, one in four of these victims are children younger than 15. These children are stuck under the shadow of domestic slavery, unable to leave until they are rescued, or die. Exploiters, or predators, are often hidden in places you would least expect. Disguised as a saviour, a generous aid coming to help or a man of business- they prey on less fortunate adults who may be struggling financially or young children who feel out of place or are abused at home. First these exploiters act as a friend, they generously offer love and help, with promises for an amazing future of travelling, employment or safety. Using these tactics, victims stumble straight into the inescapable clutch of slavery, unaware of the years of abuse and rape they are now to face.
Anyone can be cast under dark shadow of modern day slavery: Karla Jacinto, only 23 years old, is a survivor of 4 years of human trafficking. Karla, 12 years old at the time, was forced with threats against her family, into a business of prostitution. Having not even hit puberty yet, she was forced to sell herself for sex to 30 men a day 7 days a week- this went on for 4 entire years. The demons of fear and violation that chased Karla were inescapable, at barely 15 years old she gave birth to a baby girl that was immediately taken from her and sold to another trafficking business. At age 16, Karla finally fell into the hands of of a Mexican Anti-Human Trafficking organisation, were she was rescued along with 3 other girls, however the 4 years, 1460 days, 35040 hours of abuse and torment that she endured have stuck with her ever since.
Trafficking victims are at a great vulnerability, even after they are rescued. Just think about if for a second, being sold into a business of trafficking, you could be as young as 10 years old- while other kids your age are going to school, playing sports and then coming back home to a loving family, you are being abused and beaten into giving labour services to anyone who might want. The physical and emotional scarring would be inevitably horrific, years later you might still be in pain; this is of course if you made it out of the trafficking business and back to your family alive. Children can loose their childhoods to trafficking, their lives as well.
People think there isn’t much they can do to prevent human trafficking, they don’t realise that everyone could very well be profiting the trafficking businesses just by going grocery shopping. Think, where do most your clothes come from? China is ranked second on the list of countries with the highest human trafficking rate, by buying clothes produced through cheap labour, you are paying the trafficking exploiters, encouraging them to capture more victims. Everyone has the capability to help prevent or minimise trafficking worldwide, including students like you. Next time you go shopping, I encourage you to look at the tag, where was this product really made? Is the brand ethical or could it be linked back to abused factory workers on the other side of the world? There is always something that can be done, whether this is donating to anti-human trafficking charities or watching what you buy; there is always a way.