A Global Issue: What You Need to Know About Human Trafficking
First, a special thank you to International Sanctuary for their contribution to this blog post about one of the world’s worst issues: Human Trafficking. Its the mission of the International Sanctuary to empower girls and young women escaping from the tragedy that is human trafficking to embrace their true identity and self-worth.
So, What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, harboring of young women and girls with the idea of exploiting them for profit. This is also called “modern-day slavery.” Millions of victims around the globe are kidnapped from their families and held in bondage and sold as sex workers and other destitute work.
This global issue extends to nearly every country in the world as the curse that is human trafficking needs to be broken.
What are some of the statistics revolving around human trafficking?
- 75% of the victims of human trafficking are women and young girls.
- Every minute, 4 children are forced into this crude and harsh industry.
- 40.3 million victims affected globally.
- There are more people enslaved today than at any other time throughout history.
- Human Trafficking is a $150 billion a year industry.
- The industry generates more revenue than Nike, Starbucks, and Google combined.
Read More: MyJane Praises the Work of International Sanctuary: Empowering 179 Survivors of Human Trafficking
How Does Human Trafficking Occur?
For most people, those stats can be shocking to hear and read. Unfortunately, human traffickers tend to prey on young women and girls who appear vulnerable, alone, and without any families nearby. In many cases throughout the world, victims are ripped from their homes in the middle of the night from poverty-stricken areas and forced into the cruel life of sex work.
These victims are often sold to the highest cash bidder, and unfortunately, some are never heard from again. It’s been reported, to get the victims to cooperate with the traffickers, they are sometimes told that they must work off the debt paid for them in order to be released.
That’s rarely the case.
While some young women and girls are kidnapped into the modern-day slavery life, many are targeted through a process called “Grooming” which typically consists of six steps.
The Six Steps on Grooming
1- Targeting the Victim
Traffickers tend to target those young women and girls who appear alone and afraid. This includes runaways, the homeless population, and sadly the naive. Teens with sad looks in their eyes, those who appear hungry and wearing dirty clothes become a prime target.
2- Gaining Trust
Oftentimes when traffickers approach, they come sporting a friendly smile and warmth in their voices. Initially, human traffickers will start with small talk and begin to ask simple questions to get to know their potential victim’s personal life. Traffickers tend to offer small gifts, make promises, and often offer drugs and alcohol.
Oftentimes, the offenders work in teams, where one will promise the teen opportunity that wouldn’t normally come their way. The idea of a better life becomes highly attractive to a teen who may have been on the streets for several days.
Then, the conversation could be broken up by a “passer-by” who wants to protect the teen from the lies they just heard from the initial offender. Providing protection helps gain the leverage that they need to proceed with their cruel intentions.
Many young runaway young women and girls want to be accepted or simply have a stable home life. Once a trafficker understands the needs of the innocent, the “fill the needs” proportion of Grooming comes into play.
3- Fill the Needs
Offenders that prey on these emotionally weaken teens tend to offer a nice place to stay, invite them to a party, offer friendship and a false sense of love. Anything to continue to earn the trust of their potential victim.
4- Isolation of the Victim
This abuse usually takes place behind the scenes. Away from those with high morals. Isolation of a human trafficked victim often requires they are cut off from the world they used to know. The Groomers work hard to build a relationship with their victims to make it easier to prey upon them.
5- Exploitation of the Victim
Traffickers will do their best to desensitize their victims. This stage includes more physical contact like hugging, tickling, and even a simple kiss on the cheek. At first, this may seem harmless to the teen but typically will elevate to more physical activity causing increased levels of desensitivity.
The runaways tend to feel the love and the warmth that their homes failed to provide them. The goal for traffickers is to get their victims into a position where they can introduce them to more sexual activity.
This can confuse the victim, but the more and more they’re introduced to the act, the more the act becomes okay at such a young age. Once the teen has reached that level, the trafficker typically attempts to keep maintaining their power or control.
6- Maintaining Control
Traffickers see their victims as possessions, not the beautiful humans being that they are. Violence can occur as fear is used as a tool to gain leverage over the teen. Death threats and other harmful actions can be used to maintain order within their victims.
What Is Being Done To Protect Young Women and Girls from Human Trafficking?
Fortunately, there are organizations like International Sanctuary that provide safe, loving workplace communities for girls and women escaping human trafficking. They are non-residential community centers, where survivors receive professional training, employment opportunities, and a chance to heal, grow, and thrive.
If you know someone or may someone who may be a victim of Human Trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-788 for help.