HUMAN TRAFFICKING could be happening in your backyard
Most of us would imagine that human trafficking involves someone being kidnapped, moved across borders and exploited by strangers. This can be the case, but most people are trafficked within their own countries, cities and towns and coerced into exploitation by somebody they know. During high profile and sporting events with the influx of hundreds and thousands of people, exploitation can increase.
The abuse, exploitation and trafficking of vulnerable people and children are thought to be amongst the most widespread crimes in the world, affecting millions of men, women and children each day.
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, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (UNODC).
Any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another (UN). Mostly women and girls are coerced into sex work or sexually abusive situations where victims are placed into off-street brothels, forced to see many clients, and receive either little or no money. Often, victims of sexual exploitation moved around the country to different pop-up brothels.
All work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily (ILO). Often people are lured to their ‘employment’ by false promises of a better life, and can’t leave because of threats or debt bondage. Victims are forced to work very long hours and hand over all of their wages to their traffickers or controllers.
Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Physical abuse of a child, such as rape; sexual assault or other physical contact of a sexual nature with a child; grooming a child as a precursor to sexual activity; the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual exploitation; the making, sharing or viewing of indecent images and videos of children (National Crime Agency).
THE STORIES OF TWO SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING & EXPLOITATION
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS?
Anyone can become a victim of trafficking and exploitation. While women and girls are the primary victims of sex trafficking, victims/ survivors come from every background, race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic status.
Traffickers often target individuals who, for any reason, are vulnerable and potentially more susceptible to the trafficker’s manipulations and control.
THE EFFECTS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Abuse, exploitation and trafficking have immense effects on every victim. The legacy of these crimes is vast, and victims are often afflicted with severe physical, emotional and psychological damage for the rest of their lives.
Survivors are often physically impacted due to excessive work or the use of force by their traffickers. Additionally, they may be exposed serious health (such as STDs) and mental health risks (anxiety, insecurity, fear and PTSD). The trafficking and exploitation of people can also lead to their cognitive impairment, memory loss, depression, and even suicide. When children are trafficked, their emotional, physical and overall psychological development can be impacted.
People who have been abused, exploited or trafficked also commonly experience a degree of social isolation, leaving them unable to engage socially or reach out for assistance. If they have been trafficked internationally or out of their own communities, they can be left unable to communicate with or assimilate into the local society. Survivors are very often met with stigma, particularly in the cases of those exploited or trafficked for sexual purposes. These all negatively impact the survivor’s life, as well as their self-esteem (Human Trafficking Search).