Essentials to Human Trafficking

Gaudium et Spes 1965 defined sins against humanity as [W]hatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonour to the Creator.

In The Palermo Protocol  human trafficking is defined in (Article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational organised Crime 2000) under Use of Terms “Trafficking in Persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat, or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purposes of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation  of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Corruption, civil unrest, weak governments, poor social opportunities, lack of human rights and the right economic conditions are said to contribute to persons becoming vulnerable to being trafficked. UNHCR reports that human trafficking is both a domestic and global crime and that human trafficking victims can be of any age, race or gender. Anti-trafficking organisations note that victims can be trafficked within their own country, to neighbouring countries and from continent to continent. UNHCR’s records that the United states Department of State estimates 70 percent of trafficking victims are women. UNHCR reports that 1.2 million children are trafficked annually in the world for sexual exploitation, domestic slavery or to work in manufacturing, agriculture, mining or petty crime and begging.

While human trafficking victims are generally transported, not all victims are moved. The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons US Department of State’s Fact sheet informs that “people may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked. At the heart of this phenomenon is the traffickers’ aim to exploit and enslave their victims and the myriad coercive and deceptive practices they use.”

With an estimate of more than 21 million victims being trafficked worldwide, it is hard not to realise the problem, but for most of us we are oblivious despite it happening around us. Sexual exploitation and forced labour are identified as the most prevalent forms of human trafficking among women and men. Records indicate that children estimate to be one in five victims of human trafficking. Children are trafficked for child pornography, child labour, warfare and begging syndicates while in manufacturing industries children are employed as their smaller fingers are useful for beading, threading and sewing or even untangling fishing implements. 

The International Labor Organisation (ILO) estimates that that forced labour generates USD150 billion in illegal profits and is considered a lucrative industry alongside illegal arms and drug trafficking.