Human trafficking continues to be an ongoing problem both abroad and in the United States. Human trafficking is the act of luring, tricking, deceiving, making false promises, and forcing a person or group of people to leave their home, work, or family through physical force (raped or beaten), threat of violence, or false promises of a better life, a job, or kidnapped. A significant number of human trafficking victims are made to work, or engage in sex for money for little or no pay.

Victims of human trafficking are often forced into prostitution, work in sweatshops, brothels, domestic situations, construction sites, etc. Victims are held in unclean, dangerous, or otherwise unhealthy situations. They are rarely fed or underfed, raped, receive no medical attention, beaten, drugged, threatened, and living in a constant state of fear.

Unfortunately, the trafficking of humans is a highly profitable route to wealth and power, now ranking alongside drug and weapons trafficking as the largest criminal activities. Human trafficking is not just a domestic problem but a worldwide phenomenon. According to the US State Department about 900,000 persons, mainly women and children, are being trafficked annually across borders worldwide. For every human trafficking victim that is successfully freed from their captor, others continue to be trafficked and forced into servitude.

Human trafficking victims become enslaved for some of the following reasons:

  • Receiving promises of a better life
  • A good or lucrative job
  • A promise of marriage for love or citizenship
  • Agree to a deal arranged by poverty-stricken parents
  • Kidnapped or otherwise abducted
  • Blackmail
  • Violence threatened again individual or individual’s family

How traffickers keep their victims enslaved:

  • Ongoing physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse
  • Threats of violence
  • Beaten, raped and humiliated
  • Held against their will
  • Starved
  • Sell and resell them around international networks

Surprisingly, many countries have no specific laws against trafficking, so victims are reluctant to report their experiences for fear of being killed, prosecuted or deported as illegal immigrants. Even in countries with laws, there is little real protection for victims. Human trafficking victims fear being killed or deported, therefore, most are afraid to take the risk by reporting their trafficker.

Here a Few Ways We Can Stop Human Trafficking:

  • Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims.
  • Identify appropriate assistance from anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims.
  • Be a conscientious and informed consumer, i.e., ask who made a piece of clothing, picked your fruits, vegetables, etc.
  • Host an awareness event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking.
  • Work with a local religious community or congregation to help stop trafficking by supporting a victim service provider or spreading awareness of human trafficking.
  • Encourage your local schools to partner with students and include modern slavery in their curricula.
  • Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
  • Partner with law enforcement by reporting suspicions of human trafficking