In 2017, slavery and human trafficking are still not institutions of the past.
Forced work, prostitution, and child labor all contribute to an industry that – although in the shadows – continues to thrive.
It may not be in the open, but it is all around us. Collectively, we need to take action.
What is human trafficking?
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:
- sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
- the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Where is human trafficking prevalent?
- Everywhere. Although the U.S. State Department identifies South and Central Asia as having the most victims of human trafficking (24,867 victims identified in 2015), the issue is also – unfortunately – prevalent in the western hemisphere. In 2015 alone, the U.S. Dept. of Justice opened 1,011 investigations against human trafficking in the United States.
How many people are victims of modern slavery?
- Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labor, according to the International Labor Organization.
Are boys or girls more likely to be victims of trafficking?
- Girls. But, boys are not immune. 11.4 million women and girls are victims, and 9.5 million are men and boys according to the ILO.
What can we do to stop it?
- Educate yourself and others – and speak up on social media! As Plan International USA Compliance Operations Awards Manager Meredith Bambrick points out, “Since the enactment of the United Nations Protocol to Suppress, Prevent, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Against Women and Children in 2003, public awareness has increased and preventative measures have been enacted. However, attitudes are still slow to change.” Often, authorities and the general public in areas where trafficking is prevalent are not aware of the problem. The victims themselves are sometimes just as unaware of their situation.
- Join the Plan. Plan International USA’s protection programming focuses on creating child-safe communities free of violence and exploitative harmful practices that are conducive to overall child development and growth. Plan has numerous projects seeking, among other things, to prevent trafficking or mitigate the effects on victims of trafficking. Projects in Nepal, Senegal, Bangladesh, and Kenya, for example, directly fight human trafficking at the ground level. A great way to join the fight is with a Gift of Hope to the Child Trafficking Prevention Fund. Your gift supports border monitoring and trafficking intervention projects in high-risk areas, educating families and community members on the risks of child trafficking and advocating for government leadership to prevent it.