People with power feed us fiction. We are led to believe that we can trust our governments to do the right thing most of the time and stand up for human decency, just like Andrei tricks Lilya into trusting that he and the fake passport will be her salvation.
Contrary to popular belief, slavery is not dead. It is the third largest global crime, close behind drugs and arms trafficking. Inadequate laws and political apathy means human trafficking (slavery) will grow and grow...
- Summary put simply
- Introduction to Human Trafficking
- Why is there human trafficking?
- Is human trafficking a big problem?
- How do victims become slaves?
- How are they kept enslaved?
- The Lasting Solution
- Learn More (Useful Articles)
- Actions Being Taken
- Sample Letter
- Links to Political Representatives
(Summary put simply) - Vulnerable people, usually poor, are deceived or forced into working abroad with promises of a better life. When they get there their passports are taken off them, they are forced to work behind locked doors and beaten or starved if they refuse. Sometimes they are killed and the threat of murder is always there. Their "masters" or "owners" make money by forcing them to work in sweatshops, dangerous jobs or as prostitutes. If the victim manages to get to the police, she is often not helped because she has no documents or the crime is not taken seriously. Because she is likely to be deported to her own country where she will probably be murdered, she doesn't usually try to contact the authorities and so human trafficking continues to grow.
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is slave trading. Through force or by deception, people are taken from their communities so they can be exploited. Without passports in a foreign country they find they have nowhere to turn. Their "owners" use violence, starvation and murder to maintain their power over them. Victims are trafficked into a range of hazardous working conditions.
Eventually I arrived in a bar in Kosovo, [and was] locked inside and forced into prostitution. In the bar I was never paid, I could not go out by myself, the owner became more and more violent as the weeks went by; he was beating me and raping me and the other girls. We were his "property", he said. By buying us, he had bought the right to beat us, rape us, starve us, force us to have sex with clients." - 21 year old Moldovan woman
Why is there human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a highly profitable route to wealth and power, now ranking alongside drug and weapons trafficking as the largest criminal activities.
Is human trafficking a big problem?
Trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon. According to the US State Department about 900,000 persons, mainly women and children, are being trafficked annually across borders worldwide. The UN believes the real figure is between 5 and 10 million, with 2 million being children used, for example, in domestic service, sweatshops, quarries and factory work. It is estimated to be a $19 billion industry.
How do the victims become slaves?
- Respond to an attractive 'employment opportunity' ad
- Trust the promises of a boyfriend or friend
- Accept a promise of marriage
- Agree to a deal arranged by poverty-stricken parents
- Or they are abducted
How do the traffickers keep them enslaved?
- Take away their documents
- Blackmail them
- Threaten violence to children and family
- Beat, rape and humiliate
- Lock them in and starve them
- Sell and resell them around international networks
Many countries have no specific laws against trafficking, so victims are reluctant to report their experiences for fear of being killed, prosecuted or deported as illegal immigrants. Even in countries with laws, there is little real protection for victims. The one shelter in the UK will only assist if the victim agrees to prosecute their captors. With their horrific history of abuse, the threat of being killed is too real for most to take that risk. So some seek asylum but do not tell the whole truth. This backfires on them as their evidence is found not to be credible in court.
The Lasting Solution
The solution is very simple. "That which we are looking for was, is and always will be within inside of us". Even human traffickers crave peace, but they are so out of touch with their own heart that they completely miss the point of their lives and spread their dis-ease to others around them. We all have good and bad within us, so let's all of us keep choosing the joy of life every day and let's spread that to those around us. Impossible? Please give Prem Rawat and his gift of Knowledge a try.
Political changes will never fully work unless we all change as well, but some actions are being taken in the hope that they will save some suffering. (The links below may be out of date)
Learn More about Human Trafficking
- Radha's story
- Human Trafficking Org How You Can Help
- Anti-Slavery International PDFs
- UN Protocol (Heavy)
- US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2004 (Heavy)
- ICWAD Fact Sheet
- Trafficking in Human Misery
Actions Being Taken against Human Trafficking
- Start a petition like the one below
- Send a letter to your political representative adapting the sample letter below to your needs
(on the web)
- Sign the UNICEF petition against child exploitation (UK)
- Write letters using Amnesty's excellent letter writing guide
- Visit Unicef End Child Exploitation Campaign
- Human Rights Watch needs people to sign letters to help women in Africa and this would help with many issues including trafficking
- Poverty is a major reason for victims becoming enslaved. There are some fast, easy actions that can be taken on the 4-Ever poverty page
Petition against Human Trafficking
(Summary put simply) - This petitions urges governments to do more to stop slavery, now known as human trafficking. This includes: giving heavier penalties to traffickers (slave-drivers); signing United Nations agreements; training more people to spot traffickers; protecting victims of trafficking and helping them as much as possible; not to send victims back to their own country where they may be murdered; not to treat victims as if they are criminals because they are not.
We call on all governments to:
- Increase efforts to combat trafficking.
- Give full protection to the victims.
- Pass laws so that punishments for human trafficking reflect the extremely serious nature of the crime.
- Sign and ratify the United Nations Protocol on Trafficking in Persons (2000) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers (1990).
- Train professionals to look for the signs that a person is a victim of trafficking.
- Support victims of trafficking with counselling, legal, medical, financial and practical assistance appropriate to their special needs, ie severe trauma, humiliation and constant threat of death.
- Provide support regardless of whether the victims co-operate with prosecutions. A trafficked person is not an illegal immigrant or a criminal and their full human rights must be ensured.
- Provide support from the moment they are recognised until the time they are happily repatriated or given citizenship.
- Ensure that all anti-trafficking efforts are non-discriminatory and do not adversely affect other vulnerable groups like refugees or migrants
- Increase public awareness of the hows and whys of trafficking to help prevent vulnerable people becoming victims and to help in identifying possible victims and traffickers
I agree and want to sign this petition
Letter writing is an effective way of making politicians take action. This sample letter may help you get started. There is also an excellent letter writing guide at Amnesty International
Sample letter about Human Trafficking
I wish to express my concern about human trafficking and the treatment of its victims.
Vulnerable people, seeking a better life because of poverty, domestic violence and other pressures they have no control over, are wickedly exploited, often sexually abused, raped, beaten, starved and otherwise humiliated by heartless men who make a god of power and money. But when such a situation is discovered, the trafficker is often not punished appropriately because of slack laws or because the victim is too afraid and traumatized to co-operate with the prosecution. As long as this state of affairs continues, the trafficking will increase because traffickers can make vast profits and get away with it.
I understand that a Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings will shortly come before the European Parliament which will make trafficking a human rights issue. This will give far more support to the victims and I heartily welcome this. However, I believe there is indecision on some points so I urge you to fully support the following measures so the inhumanity and injustice can be drastically reduced as soon as possible:
a) Trafficked people should be granted a minimum reflection period of three months. This would allow them to remain in the country legally while they recover from their ordeal and make an informed decision about their future.
b) During this time, trafficked people should have access to the full range of assistance, protection and support services. As well as the measures already set out in the draft convention, these should include financial support, educational, training and employment opportunities, including the possibility of obtaining a work permit.
c) Trafficked people should be granted residence permits in order to be involved in legal or administrative proceedings, or where they have suffered or are at risk of serious harm or abuse. Permits should be for a period of at least six months and should be renewable, with the possibility of permanent residence being granted, especially to those who remain vulnerable.
These measures are fundamental to the human rights of trafficked people and should be taken regardless of whether a trafficked person co-operates with any prosecution.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Links to Political Representatives
(Some of the above article, such as the quote, comes from an Amnesty International UK article.)