The face of slavery today is as frightening as it ever was in the days of our ancestors, in the far-away countries we only ever heard about. Today, we wear T-shirts made by virtual slaves. Our children play with the toys they make. Some of our men view the pornography they perform. Human trafficking is what we called today,but the end result is the same: a displacement from one’s home, then forced labor with no end to its term and no recompense for the worker.
Under the promise of immigration papers, human trafficking brings people from underdeveloped economies to Western cities where they must work off their debt in textile sweatshops. Human trafficking brings prostitutes women and children,both girls and boys to be forced to work in prostitution rings or pornography production. And it is dozen other degrading,hopeless, and disturbing ways humans have found to profit from those who are desperate and unprotected.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It includes both legal and illegal activities that amount to estimated global revenues of between $5 and $9 billion. According to the United Nations, human trafficking includes organ trafficking,bonded labor,involuntary servitude,domestic servitude and child labor. Its activities are often well-hidden from the public’s view or media.
- Organ Trafficking
Organ trafficking is an organized crime that begins when a recruiter finds a victim. The crime implicates participation at many level: hospitals or clinics, medical professionals, middlemen and contractors, buyers, banks where they are stored, and possibly other dimensions not yet identified.
In this involuntary trade, the victims’ body organs are taken with out their knowledge ore else removed under false pretences with no compensation. Some people are coerced into giving up an organ or agree to sell it from sheer financial desperations. In this case,they are often cheated out of the monies promised them. Others undergo surgery for another procedure-sometimes for legimitate treatment, other times under completely false pretences-and wake up to find and organ has been removed without their knowledge.
Many of the victims of organ trafficking are migrants, homeless, or illiterate. The most commonly traded or stolen organs include kidneys and the liver, although any organ that can be removed and used on the illegal trade market is vulnerable.
Organ trafficking seems to be on the rise. It is believed that 10 percent of all organ transplant performed around the world are obtained through the black market and organ trafficking.
- Bonded Labor
This is the exploitation of a person who believes themselves to be indebted to the perpetrator . It is often called “bonded labor” or “debt bondage”. In typical scenario, the worker falls into this situation by accepting to work in exchange for money loans or for immigration papers. The repayment expected in labor far exceeds the value of the money or service traded. In some cases, and in some countries, the debt is passed from generation to generation,meaning that entire families can be enslaved for decades. According to Anti-Slavery International, there are currently at least 20 million bonded laborers in the world today.
- Involuntary Servitude
Victims of involuntary servitude are trapped into work agreements that are enforced by threat of serious physical harm or legal consequences, such as deportation. They often experience physical and verbal abuse and are intimidated into a submission that prevents them from ever receiving information about their actual rights. Victims are often economic migrants or low-skilled laborers trafficked from developing nations to prosperous ones.
- Domestic Servitude
Similar to involuntary servitude, victims are trapped by coercion into service in private homs. Women, and especially children, are the main targets; they are usually illegal immigrants brought Western families. At the best of times, domestic work is unregulated because it is removed from the public eye. In many situations of this kind of human trafficking, the victims are subjected to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Child Labor
Perhaps the most recognized from human trafficking is child labor, in which children are sold or traded into bonded or forced labor. In many country around the world, children may legally obtain “light” work whose wages their families rely on. Child labor also includes the use of the children in armed conflicts, military operations or military training for future operations. Children are often forced into these situations for their very survival, or that of their family. Sometimes they are lured into work under the false promise of freedom.
Regardless of the form it takes, human trafficking is slavery. Its victims generally have no means to obtain their own freedom, at least not that they themeselves are aware of. They typically have no access to education or medical assistance, and they have no way of communicating with authorities that could help them. The U.S. Department of State estimates that, internationally, there are between 600,000 and 800,000 humans trafficked yearly. If we add those who are trafficked yearly. If we add those who are trafficked within domestic borders, the number would jump drastically.
The forced labor market costs the world about $20 each year; there is a huge economic incentive to end forced labor and to bring about decent living conditions for every human. In 2000, the United Nations introduced the Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime, also known as the Palermo Convention. Two specific protocols called for the prevention, suppression, and punishment for the trafficking of persons and a protocol against the smuggling of migrants through all means of transport. The International Labor Organization has launched a program to abolish forced labor, in all its forms, by 2015. They have joined forces with several international organizations in lobbying governments to take measures to combat these kinds of slavery.
It is also essential that the individual consumer be part of this global alliance to end human trafficking, whose victims are producing services and goods that we consume. If we buy a T-shirts, let’s consider who picked the cotton and where it was made . Was it made by slave? A sweatshop worker? A child? Let’s be aware of where our products come from and let’s support programs that are working to eradicate forced labor.