Human trafficking is often disregarded in conversation about major national issues. Americans seem to view it as an issue of foreign and under developed countries when, according to Citizens Against Human Trafficking, it is actually the 3rd largest and greatest flourishing criminal industry globally.
In fact, the official web resource to combat human trafficking proposes that approximately 14,500 to 17,500 people (disproportionately women and children) fall victim to trafficking every year.
Some people do not pay particular attention to it because they do not understand the full scope of human rights violations human trafficking includes. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines it as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, and of the abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation.
So, how can you visibly indicate whether someone has been trafficked? Glad you asked! The victims of human trafficking are sometimes characterized by malnutrition, dehydration, bad hygiene, STDs, signs of physical and sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other psychological disorders.
They also may live with their employer, have little or no pocket money, always be escorted by another person, not be allowed to have a private conversation with any individual, and not carry any form of identification or legal documents. Human trafficking organizations are usually disguised as brothels, escort services, message parlors, adult book stores, modeling studios, day cares, construction sites where public access is denied, domestic situations (i.e. nannies and maids), and commercial agriculture fields and processing plants.
If you think you know someone who has been trafficked or of a trafficking organization disguised as something else, please contact the Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581. Together we can change the world.
Image courtesy of flickr.com
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