What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is one of the most pressing human rights of our time. Human trafficking is an international, national, and local crime. It is a form of modern day slavey.
Internationally, it was first defined in the year 2000 by the United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children; this was known as the Palermo Protocol, which many countries used as a blueprint to create comprehensive domestic anti-human trafficking laws. The United States enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 that defined human trafficking, criminalized human trafficking and established protection for victims of human trafficking. Prior to enacting the TVPA, older anti-slavery laws were used to track down traffickers; however, these older laws required proving bodily harm, whereas today traffickers do not always use bodily harm to control and compel their victims. All fifty states have passed some form of anti-trafficking laws.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act:
Laws are set in place to protect victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking. The AMP Model is used to determine whether an act is considered a form of human trafficking. A crime is considered human trafficking if force, coercion, and fraud are used in the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for a sexual act or forced labor.
Sex Trafficking: Is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act, which is induced by coercion, force, or fraud. When a minor is involved in a sex act, even if force, coercion or fraud were not used, children under the age of 18 are automatically considered victims of human trafficking.
Labor Trafficking: Is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, coercion, or fraud for the purpose of subjection or involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage, or slavery.
Who is affected by human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a crime that cuts across all demographics. It’s a crime that is taking place on every continent and in every country. A person from any gender, any nationality, any race, any level of ability, can be subject to human trafficking; however, certain populations are more at-risk and vulnerable than others:
Runaways and homeless youth are vulnerable to being trafficked because of their age, limited access to resources, and need for food and shelter. They are easily lured by trafficker with the promise of a better life.
Victims of previous sexual and physical abuse are vulnerable to being trafficked- because of previous exposure to emotional cycles of abuse that traffickers can use to manipulate them ter life.
Financially vulnerable: Those who have been displaced after a natural disaster, who are homeless, or who have had a lack or job opportunities may be vulnerable to traffickers who promise work, education, or a better life.
Low wage, undocumented, and migrant foreign nationals are vulnerable to exploitation from traffickers operating in industries where there is a high demand for cheap labor and little oversight.
The scope of human trafficking:
While the exact numbers can never be known, it's estimated that nearly 30,000,000 people are enslaved today. That's more than double the number of people who were brought over from Africa during the entire Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. To put this number in perspective, imagine filling all the seats in Michigan's football stadium, comfortably seating around 107,000, you'd need 275 stadiums to house all the slaves that are living today! Modern day slavery exists in the agricultural, technology, and the fashion industries. Slaves are in plain sight - yet invisible - in nail salons, restaurants, and brothels posing as massage parlors.
No one can do everything to stop modern day slavery from happening, but now that you know, what will you do? Here are some great suggestions:
~ Buy Fair Trade foods like coffee, chocolate, and tea. Visit the Shop With Consciousness page for some awesome Fair Trade products and online shops.
~ Learn about The Fair Food Program and how you can help Florida' hard-working tomato farmers live with dignity Tell Wendy's - the fast food giant - that "Your burgers may be square, but your food ain't fair!"
~ The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act is a bipartisan bill that was written by Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee. Read the blog, The Job of Moses which contains links on how to write to your state senators. See if your state senators ave gotten on board with this historical piece of legislation that will work to bring an end to modern day slavery! If not, there's still time to make a differenence!
~ Join the movement in your state or town. You can find a Love146 Task Force Group in your state or IJM has several college-based groups, too. Join the Freedom Commons Facebook group or the Human Traffcking-End Modern Slavery