What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is the trade of humans through violence, deception, or coercion for the purpose of forced exploitation.
This includes, but isn’t limited to, forced labor, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, or forced organ removal.
Where does it happen?
While the worst offenders of human trafficking are among Russia, China, Belarus, and North Korea, make no mistake, human trafficking is by no means a third world problem. The capturing and exploitation of human beings is happening in every country, all around us.
The USA, for example, estimates that about 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked every year. Many of whom are in foster care situations. The USA also approximates that about 20,000 people are trafficked into the country annually.
The U.K. has seen a steady rise in trafficking over the past decade, spiking close to 40% over the past five years.
Facts and figures
It is estimated that close to 900,000 people are trafficked every year, of which up to approximately 80% are women and 25% are children.
The average lifespan of a sexually exploited minor is 7 years.
Human Trafficking is the third largest international crime industry in the world. It generates an annual profit of approximately 35 billion dollars. It is the fastest growing crime in the world.
Alarmingly, less than 10,000 traffickers were caught and prosecuted globally in 2017.
Not all traffickers are men. Often times traffickers will send “broken-in girls” to recruit younger girls into the sex trade. In fact, it is reported that approximately 37% of human traffickers are female.
(Please note: These figures should be interpreted cautiously given gaps and limitations of data in key regions.)
What about trafficking in Asia?
The Asia and Pacific region had the second highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world in 2016, with an estimated 24.9 million men, women, and children living in modern slavery.
This region had the highest number of victims across all forms of human trafficking:
73 percent were victims of forced sexual exploitation
68 percent were forced to work by state authorities
64 percent were exploited for labour
42 percent were in forced marriages
In terms of Vietnam, where our story ‘Sisters for Sale’ takes place, thousands if not tens of thousands of people are being trafficked every year. Many of them are being taken into China to be sold as brides or sex workers.
For girls who are sold as brides, their lives are filled with loneliness. They are living in a country where they don’t know the language and are a prisoner of their home. Often times they are married to an abuser.
For those who are sold into brothels and are thrown into a life of prostitution.
Okay, but how can I get involved?
Trafficking is happening all around us. Awareness of this issue is the first step towards change.
Recognizing the signs of human trafficking victims is the next step to help save a life.
Following are some basic indicators.
It’s can be a person who:
- appears disconnected from family, friends, and others
- appears timid, fearful, or submissive
- shows signs of malnourishment
- appears abused
- seems to lack possessions
- is often in the company of someone to whom she defers
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