Today, July 30, 2015, is World Day Against Human Trafficking.
Many people don't like to believe human trafficking exists. They don't like to understand that it's a form of modern slavery. It's the 21st century, wasn't slavery abolished over a hundred years ago? Well, I'd like to believe so, too. Unfortunately, human trafficking is alive and well. And just because (to all you American viewers out there) we don't hear about this often and know that it exists in far off places in South and Southeast Asia somewhere, doesn't mean it's not going on right in our backyards. Actually, the United States provides some of the biggest markets for human trafficking.
Worldwide, human trafficking is an industry that makes well over 30 billion USD a year. Many people who promise to put an end to it are simply repeating empty rhetoric with a hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil mentality. Among the victims of human trafficking, most are women and children lured into sexual and labor exploitation. They are lured into the industry with gifts and false promises of a better life. To these women and children, there is no choice but to enter the industry so they may earn some money to survive. Still, most of the money goes to the traffickers. They may also be trafficked when threatened.
When people are trafficked, their mental and physical health is in severe danger. There is no telling what can happen sometimes. Trafficked persons may become physically and mentally injured. In the cases of sexual exploitation, they run high risks of getting sexually associated illnesses (whether they be infections or diseases), and women run risks of getting pregnant. And if women do get pregnant, some may consider abortion through dangerous means.
One more thing before wrapping this up: Many people may argue that they don't really /see/ it. Well, we do see it. You might not notice it though. Things like this are actually advertised, just look around. And media doesn't help either with increased sexualization of women and children.
To combat this issue, one of the best things we can do is to spread awareness and educate ourselves to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Only then can we truly be able to take action.