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Human Trafficking

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How to tackle the spreading menace of Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking, though widespread, is largely unknown and misunderstood.

Modern day slavery that involves the use of force, coercion or fraud to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,  every year, thousands of people, mostly women and young girls are deceived, threatened or simply forced into commercial sexual exploitation. This isn't a crime confined to far-off locales, but also playing out in our neighborhoods, foster homes and the internet.

Human trafficking exploits the most vulnerable and is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, the second-largest behind drug trafficking. Today, an estimated $150 billion industry, victims are mostly children and account for as much as half of those sold for sex. With around three-quarters of victims coming from foster care or some other type of guardianship, poverty, domestic abuse, prostitution, gang activity and pornography are all intricately entwined in the illegal scourge.

The International Labor Office Estimates show that currently there are 20.9 million slaves. Victims are bought and sold, changing hands multiple times. Most victims get to live an average of a mere seven years from the time they are initiated into their first commercial sex act. Homicide, suicide, abuse and sexual diseases take their toll.

Efforts to eradicate human trafficking include strict legislation to stiffen penalties for buyers. States like Florida and Missouri are enacting new regulations that plan to utilize even consumer protection laws to target traffickers. But such efforts are rare, time-intensive and costly. In the law enforcement, many local officials and prosecutors simply do not possess the resources, training or manpower to effectively handle criminal cases involving trafficking. More effective would be creating awareness of the problem.

Not surprisingly, as much as 88 percent of the victims have contact with health care providers. So it's very important that healthcare professionals be made aware of the signs of someone being sold for sex. This also holds true for the hospitality industry as traffickers frequently use hotels to ply their trade and in moving their victims from one place to another.

The need of the hour requires the work of many and an appraisal of the social attitudes and habits that make trafficking profitable. Join us in the fight to end sex trafficking globally. Together, we can build awareness of this horrendous practice and motivate people to take steps to prevent its spread.


 

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How African Women are Increasingly Under Threat – From the Rest of the World

Human sex trafficking is slavery in a modern-day guise with the victims being mostly juveniles. Most children lured into human trafficking are as young as 12 to 14. Once snared, there is no escaping this web. Their average life expectancy after induction into trafficking? A mere seven years.

Contrary to popular belief, the victims aren’t just troubled children from poor households. They’re normal children involved in regular activities seeking attention and peer approval. Human sex traffickers are only too happy to use it to deceive and entangle them.

Their initiation isn’t something as dramatic as an abduction. Nowadays the young are increasingly recruited by friends at school, through social media, at times by their boyfriends or even family members. They are enticed to provide sexual favors for something of value in return. That could be money, drugs, or even food.

This holds true for people in impoverished African countries like Kenya. Ravaged by cycles of drought, hunger, disease, and conflict, a whopping one-third of its population survive on less than $1.90. That's far below the World Bank's estimated measure of extreme poverty. The 2016 Trafficking report from the US State Department says that girls as young as eight are working in brothels of major African cities.

Traditionally girls have been regarded as a financial burden on their families in the African country. A girl child born in Ethiopia is born into servitude. She is literally considered fit only to serve the family. Girls receive practically no support and are expected to drop out of school - to get married or find employment. Instances of female genital mutilation and bridal abduction, a practice of kidnapping girls for marriage are still being reported.

African women have for long suffered under constant threats of illness, hunger, violence and poverty. Now they are facing a new threat - human trafficking. In recent times, girls in poor, rural areas are increasingly being lured away from their schools and homes with the promise of jobs and better opportunities in cities or even other countries. Many end up being exploited as maids and sex workers.

Once abducted, a girl can never return home and they find themselves ostracized.

Prostitution is taboo in Ethiopia, especially in the rural areas where most of these girls are taken from. They are considered to be damaged goods.

Worse still are those who have been taken abroad – particularly the Middle East. There are regular reports of abuses African women face who work as maids. These include inhuman conditions and confinement at work, withholding of salaries, confiscation of passports, and physical and sexual abuse.

Even in this gloomy scenario, there seems reason for optimism with advances in women's rights. With heightened awareness as a result of increasing exposure to the rest of the world, unsavory practices are on the decline. But on the other hand, due to the very same reasons, trafficking is on the rise.

 

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