“That’s all the freedom we can hope for – the freedom to choose our prison.”
-L.M. Montgomery (maybe)
Before we get started, I’m going to plug the most important part of this whole article up front. Below is the phone line for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the link to multiple charities working to combat human trafficking. Obviously use the number responsibly if need be, and please if you feel inclined to donate, these are the two organizations we are recommending, but there are plenty of others to donate to at your discretion.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Hope For Justice
600,000-800,000 people are trafficked every single year across international borders. That’s more than the population of four separate U.S. states. And we aren’t talking about third world country outliers here. As many as 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year. And the only question that comes to mind to us, and those who are aware of the problem is..
Why the f*ck isn’t this the leading story on the news every single night?
How is it that literally tens of thousands of people are enslaved in modern and progressive nations? We see advertisements for the ASPCA, Susan G. Komen, and numerous other charitable organizations. Yet, we bet most of you could not have named an organization that combats human trafficking before we listed the ones above.
So why isn’t anything being done? The simple answer; it’s too hard. International borders, experienced criminals, and high demand contribute to it’s difficulty. Leaving police and investigators disheartened, the willingness to combat this epidemic drops drastically.
Unfortunately a sad portion of these victims are children, and that is our focus today.
One aspect of human slavery that is covered extensively, is it’s history. Slavery has been around since basically the beginning of mankind, dating back to the Neolithic Revolution over 11,000 of years ago. In its development, slavery has been featured in almost every single major society. From the classic era all the way through the modern era, the basic premise of the trade and sale of humans has been a featured.
Eventually abolishment of the slavery institutions spread across from one nation to another. Britain in 1772, France in 1793 (with the reinstatement and abolition during the Napolean era), and United States in 1862; one by one the major nations across the world deemed slavery unethical and inhumane.
Some nations still practice some form of slavery, and is still considered legal. Thailand, Nigeria, China, and India all have large enslaved populations of some fashion, albeit it is a far cry from the horrific standards of the past.
As stated above, the numbers of those who are illegally trafficked is astounding. The reasons for this ends up being uncomfortably obvious, and a sad admission of our morals as whole of mankind.
Depending on region, from 26% up to 66% of all trafficked persons are done so for sexual exploitation, with another large percentage being slave labor. Of those trafficked persons, 70% end up being female. Another small percentage, albeit still an extremely unsettling amount, is the 0.3% of those trafficked who are meant for organ removal. About 2,000 people.
33% of those trafficked are children (12% boys and 21% girls). Making an unbelievable quarter of a million children being bought, sold, and traded every year.
In the back of our minds, we all know the disgusting reality of why children are such a commodity in the trafficking market.
The perverse ability to see the financial benefit from the exploitation of children takes a truly horrendous individual. As an easy target, children are taken advantage of and exploited for multiple reasons. Aside from the more obvious reasons stated above, there are some less common ones.
A smaller percentage of those traded are used as drug smugglers, delivering drugs or dealing them. There have been reports of Afghani children being involved in the distribution of heroin, as well as similar cases in Brazil.
Popular in South Eastern Europe, organized forced begging is another way children are exploited. It is found that much of this is enforced and initiated by family members of the child, but it is unknown as to what the full extent is.
In countries such as Uganda, some of those who are underage end up being forced into “voluntary” enlistment into the military, as they can not legally be required to join, but can volunteer. It is said that thousands are forced into this situation in as many as 17 countries, those of which have armies that are run on the backs of children.
With such a large number of children being relocated every year, and a major percentage of them done so for labor, the size of the child work force is astronomical. It is estimated that within the past 5 years, the child workforce has reached a number of 150 million children. These being more conservative assessments, with the age window being 5-14 years old.
If the child workforce were a country, it would be the 9th largest in the world. For reference, Russia has about 140,000,000 people. Please let that sink in.
With the underage workforce being that large, it does include many who are specifically trafficked for sexual exploitation which is our next and most disturbing aspect of the phenomena.
The Internal Labour Organization estimates that there are as many as 1.8 million who are sexually trafficked world wide, with some organizations stating it’s even higher. An astounding number, which becomes even more disturbing when you realize the harsh reality that awaits these innocent children.
The distribution of child pornography is a disgustingly huge business. Ranging from small local exchange, to large international distribution, it has become one of the most vile hidden aspects of society. From sex rings, to producers, and photographers it’s an intricate and thought out formula for what is a large and willing audience.
Although there isn’t a lot of solid information, we do know that hundreds of millions of images and videos exist. Over 100 million alone have been submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and their Child Victim Identification Program.
With such a large estimated number of sexually trafficked victims, another major percentage of those are submitted into child prostitution. Sex tourists, sexual slavery, and survival sex are all contributing reasons to this epidemic.
Children who are subjected to these heinous acts are often not just physically in danger of STDs and other medical complications, but also severe psychological damage. Depression, PTSD, insomnia, addiction, and sexual confusion all plague the minds of these poor abused children.
Various Statistics and information via
Internal Labour Organization
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Once again here are the links mentioned above
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Hope For Justice
What you have learned today
- Combating human and child trafficking NEEDS more attention and support
- Slavery is prevalent, even in the most progressive places in the world
- There are more victims than you can imagine, and they need help