2018, October 1 – Human Trafficking is a global phenomenon affecting millions of individuals. Each one of us can be part of the fight against it. But how? “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little”, said Irish Statesman Edmund Burke – and we agree! Resistance to the continuing spectre of human trafficking requires collective action but more so a sense of personal responsibility that each one of us has an important role to play in proactively addressing and fighting human trafficking.
Where do we begin?
We begin by educating ourselves about the risks, threats and manifestations of human trafficking. Being a modern form of slavery human trafficking includes enslaving people, exploiting them through the use of violence and forcing them to work against their will (UNODC). It includes but is not limited to forced prostitution, forced labour, forced begging, forced criminality, domestic servitude, and forced marriage (Anti-Slavery).
Elements of Human Trafficking:
The Act (What is done)
The Means (How it is done)
The Purpose (Why it is done)
According to The International Criminal Police Organization (more commonly known as Interpol), human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is imperative to understand that human trafficking has an explicit gender dimension with women and girls more likely to be victimised for sexual exploitation than men, even though men are equally at risk of being trafficked in other forms. This points out the need to ask why women and girls are at a higher risk of sexual exploitation and what sort of global, national, regional and gender specific policies are required to prevent trafficking? It is crucial to understand human trafficking within the context of the particular place where it takes place and how.
In the case of Thailand which is recognised as a key destination of human trafficking in the Mekong region, foreign migrants from neighbouring countries namely Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia, ethnic minorities and stateless persons are at the greatest risk of being trafficked (UN ACT). Identification of vulnerable populations are important in determining what policies need to be implemented so that these groups of people can be protected from forced labour and sex trafficking. Human trafficking is a complex issue and therefore has to be understood in all its complexities before we can address and intervene.
How can each single person contribute?
Once we have adequately understood the phenomenon of human trafficking – how it is a heinous crime and involves blatant violation of human rights, it is time to act collectively and as contentious individuals to the best of our individual capacity in combating human trafficking.
Five ways to help fighting human trafficking:
- Being well-informed about human trafficking – its nature, risk and manifestations, as well as sharing knowledge, awareness and sensitising others about human trafficking issues.
- Understanding that everyone is capable of discovering human trafficking situations if they learn to identify the indicators of human trafficking and potential trafficking situations (state.gov)
- Reporting trafficking to authorities – local, state, federal government, international agencies etc.
- Supporting and participating in anti-trafficking initiatives taken by NGOs, such as volunteering or working with organisations that seek to combat trafficking.
- Taking proactive actions to help fighting human trafficking within one’s scope – for instance: If you are a student, organise events to raise awareness on human trafficking. If you are a researcher, develop an impactful research with an aim to generate and recommend effective policies for the prevention of human trafficking. If you are a business person, provide opportunities to trafficking survivors. If you are a journalist, write about human trafficking with an aim to sensitise as many people as possible.
Center for Girls and it’s role in combating human trafficking:
Through small scale projects and awareness-raising campaigns, Center for Girls has worked tirelessly to challenge the belief that violence is normal and to encourage local people to step up and take action against violence, human trafficking, and CSEC. Now that the community is equipped with the skills and knowledge to respond to and report such cases, there is a new generation growing up who realize the unacceptability of violence against women and human trafficking.
But most importantly CFG is seeing results as each year more people come forward to report cases, each year more people join together to stand up for their rights, and each year more women, children, and vulnerable people are protected and receive the assistance they need.
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Not able to donate today? Look for opportunities in your community to work against gender-based violence and human trafficking, as these are universal issues