Student opinion – This is a crime against humanity

From the moment a baby is born, freedom should be a natural right. But in our world, that is not the case. Human beings are condemned to a life full of inexplicable suffering. Established limitations constrict the idea of freedom. 

We hear the common term “human trafficking” being tossed around without grasping the reality of its meaning. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” The act of human trafficking does not discriminate against anyone; rather, it can happen to anybody, regardless of age, race, gender or nationality. 

Human trafficking can be described as modern slavery, where social injustice and unsustainable development have become the foundation of the problem. Human trafficking does not occur solely in developing countries or to undocumented individuals. The International Labor Organization estimates 50 million victims of modern slavery worldwide, making this number one of every 150 people around the globe. Approximately 28 million individuals are victims of forced labor, while the remaining 22 million account for forced marriage. 

Victims of human trafficking are exploited to perform enslaved work under violent conditions. We must understand how human trafficking has developed into a global phenomenon before it can be stopped. 

The criminal institution of human trafficking is built upon the principles of supply and demand. Many factors contribute to human exploitation, such as the low risk for high earnings. Traffickers are aware of the lack of involvement concerning human trafficking. Traffickers take advantage of social ineffectiveness revolving around human exploitation to create a profitable market at a minimal cost. 

In 2021, the Department of Homeland Security constructed an overview of the year, determining that human trafficking makes an estimated annual global profit of $150 billion. Human traffickers victimize an estimated 25 million people internationally, with 80% in forced labor and 20% in sex trafficking. Many cases involve workers in agriculture, landscaping, construction, housework, restaurants, elder care and massage parlors — essentially, jobs with low pay and few legal protections.

Any problem requires acknowledgment before proceeding to a solution. Fighting human trafficking should not be perceived as the government’s obligation. Ordinary people can become aware of indicators and help victims speak up. We should strive to build communities focused on educating citizens about human trafficking and how to prevent it.  

After fully understanding the reality of human trafficking, people can focus on fighting it. A great way to fight is to seek out victims. The U.S. Department of State created an informational article to identify a trafficking victim. Some indicators to keep in mind in case of a potential trafficking situation might be that their boss holds personal identification documents; they live with their employer under poor conditions; multiple people stay in a small space; they are underpaid, under 18 or in prostitution; they present signs of physical abuse; they seem to be submissive or fearful; they are unable to speak alone with an individual; and their answers appear scripted and rehearsed. 

Fighting human trafficking does not stop with identifying the victim. Most survivors experience severe mental and health disorders. Overcoming traumatic experiences can be challenging for victims to go through alone. A small gesture can make a difference. There are organizations that support survivors with donated clothes, hygienic products and even job training  

Garcia is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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