At a recent wedding, I met my friend’s college buddy who now works for Love 146 , a great organization working to stop child sex slavery and exploitation. We had an inspiring conversation, sharing our work experience. My organizations engages companies as share owners, to encourage more just and sustainable practices. For years, the priests, nuns, and other socially responsible investors that we work with have been concerned with all forms of slavery. We have spoken to airline, hotel, and travel companies to underscore the importance of creating a policy stating the company’s opposition to this and to train their employees to recognize the signs of trafficking, as well as what to do if they suspect a case of slavery.
So, I thought I’d take a moment to pass along some information, resources, and encourage us to take steps to stand against slavery.
How many people are being trafficked worldwide at any time?
– According to the U.S. Department of State and the organization Free the Slaves, between 12 and 27 million people are being trafficked worldwide at anytime.
– The UN International Labor Office estimates that 12.3 Million people are in situations of forced labor/sexual servitude.
– Since most cases of trafficking are hidden and hard to track, these numbers are most likely low estimates.
What percentage of human trafficking victims are women and girls?
– According to the United Nations, women and girls account for 70 to 80 percent of human trafficking victims in the world
– The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates the total value of illegal human trafficking to be $32 billion. That’s roughly the gross domestic product(the market value of all final goods and services) of the country of Guatemala or the countries of Niger, Mali, and Chad combined!
– This is important to note because when we think about illegal trades in the world, we might think of drugs and weapons/arms. Human trafficking is currently the second largest illegal trade, just behind drug trafficking.
Causes of Trafficking
Human Trafficking is a Multi-faceted issue. It is the intersection of crime, economics, migration, labor, health, socio-cultural practices with many roots. Major causes include:
- Abject Poverty- especially the feminsation of poverty
- A lack of political, social and economical stability
- A lack of reasonable and realistic prospects for human development
- Media promotion of sex industry values
- War/Armed Conflicts
- Power differential between women, men and children
- Organized crime and legalized prostitution
- Lack of access to education and and information
My organization writes papers for our members and the general public to learn about an issue. We did one specifically on Child Sex Tourism
Information on a recent campaign to do with trafficking and the World Cup
The Intercommunity Center on Peace and Justice has a great compilation of resources.
Download a letter that you can just sign and give to any hotel that you stay in. It provides information on the issue of human trafficking, how hotels can play a part in stop this, and how you, a consumer, care about this issue.
Support the the International Violence Against Women Act, which would call the US to act in response to egregious outbreaks of gender-based violence – like the mass rapes occurring right now in Congo – in a timely manner, as well as aid in preventive measures.
The best resource I use is the monthly newsletter from Stop Enslavement run by Sr. Jean Just email her to get on the mailing list, it is so comprehensive!
Shop for a difference:
Buy Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream Proceeds from each unit sold are donated to ECPAT and other non profits that support victims of trafficking and prevention measures.
Today, can’t we agree that one person in slavery is too many?