Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the human-traffic pandemic. can we do something about it?


this morning, front page of USA Today. the sad story of asia graves reflects the apparently invisible problem of sexual-slavery,  and forced prostitution. sexual-slavery is only a percentage of what is known as human-trafficking.

yes, it happens everywhere and every day. 

the protocol of 2000, includes:

(a) the recruitment, transportation, transfer or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
 (b) the recruitment, transportation, transfer or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph. a “child” means any person under 18 years of age.

see that all the subsets include the "forced" prefix, meaning none of this is consensual. how can one speak of a child "consenting to," or even in the case of asia graves above, when she was 16 and homeless being lured into having sex for money? the new pandemic is not about trafficking with slave markets in the open. these are illegal activities. 

why does it happen? it's all about power!

here are some of the depressing facts:
1- one third of abducted children become child soldiers fueling armed conflicts. Whether by armed forces groups or even government forces
2- these children of 8-14 years old, are used for sexual purposes or as, messengers, but often as body deminers or suicide bombers.
3- some children are trained to massacre and torture, they perform these tasks with enthusiasm.
4- the second cause of disappearance is sexual exploitation. in europe, east countries are still the main empire for trafficking whose benefits exceed today, those of drug traffic. a girl under 10 years is worth € 5,000 while a boy can reach € 8.000.
5- approximately 2.5 million people are trafficked in different parts of the world every year.
6- almost 600,000 to 800,000 people are ill-treated by their bosses or masters.
7- almost 80% victims of human trafficking are female and around 70% of them are sexually exploited in the film industries, advertising industries, fashion industries and private organizations.
8- every year 1.2 million children are trafficked by different agents. the traffickers bring children and engage them in factories, mills and brothels. here the traffickers recruit, transport, transfer children for the purpose of exploitation.
9- 80 % of trafficked people are women and children.
10- 127 countries being involved directly or indirectly.
11- the global market for this activity is estimated at approximately $ 42.5 billion annually.
this is a very complex issue with many legal, ethical, social & political ramifications. just to give you an example, a child is abducted from his tribe in africa, his parents killed. he is drugged and forced to become a child soldier, a deminer, or a suicide bomber. dealing with this problem means eliminating the constant phenomenon of civil war and guerilla & counter-guerilla warfare strife in the african subcontinent and in parts of asia as well as the persecution of these leaders.

take forced domestic servitude,  this includes most middle eastern countries, hong kong, singapore, malaysia and taiwan. for most of these countries, the number of domestic workers run into the hundreds of thousands. there are at least one million domestic workers in saudi arabia under the kafala system. major sources of domestic workers include the philippines, thailand, indonesia, india, bangladesh, pakistan, sri lanka, and ethiopia.


now, is there something we can do? let's begin with our problems. all this is happening right in our backyard!
invariably, exploitation is about power over another human being. this is an ethical problem with social and political ramifications. how do we treat others (as we'd like others to treat ourselves). sure, but how do you educate people to be fair? how do we (as "customers") partake of the temptations of human trafficking? (think of all the possibilities that people, not evil people, but people like you and i, just with some money and a window of opportunity would do for comfort or pleasure).

which brings us to social poverty. this is a plague of lack of opportunities, poor education, social isolation, the fostering of false values that enforce perverse attitudes, etc. this is a matter of personal as well as social involvement. it means that we have to be more proactive about caring for ourselves as well as others! we cannot enjoy prosperity and well-being while so many in our society live the nightmare of asia graves!

any ideas? go on.  

i'm closing this post next monday (tuesday) at 11pm.