As you go throughout your day, you interact with thousands of people. Each person’s story is different and unique. However, some of these stories are not what you would think. In cases, such as human trafficking victims, these stories could include abuse and unwanted attention. Recent statistics show that there are about 12.3 million human trafficking victims in the world. Of those 12.3 million, only about 0.4% are identified and helped. This process has increased in recent years due to the internet. Internet access makes it easier for offenders to buy modern slaves without much human interaction. Human trafficking affects all genders and ages, whether it be male or female, young or old. However, a majority of the victims happen to be female and often teens to young adults.
To start off, trafficking is not the same as smuggling. Trafficking is defined as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force …for the purpose of exploitation.” Basically it is the selling and buying of a person who is unwilling.
Victims most often exit this viscous cycle with health issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, physical/brain injuries, and STD’s. They are also likely, and most often, show signs of psychological problems like mind and body disassociation, suicidal thoughts and actions, PTSD, anxiety and depression, and most of all a hatred or fear of the opposite gender since most victims are held by the opposite sex.
It is times like this that require community action. One of the best ways to help prevent this phenomenon is by promoting healthy behaviors in relationships, and most of all, reducing the demand for commercial sex and profits from such transactions. The reason behind promoting healthy behaviors is because most people who are sold into trafficking are sold by loved ones such as parents, a significant other, or a spouse. Engaging these healthy behaviors allows possible victims to realize that something is not right and that they may need to escape. The other, to reduce demand for commercial sex is because most victims are sex slaves. If we reduce the demand, it will hopefully reduce the number of people involved in this area. Another way is to report suspicious behaviors or signs of abuse since most victims receive physical or sexual abuse as part of conditioning. The main key point, I guess would be to stay aware of what is going on around you. Trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right, and if it looks severe enough, report it. By staying aware and noticing the signs you could save someone’s life.