Sunday, March 20, 2011
Who are the victims?
Trafficked people are usually the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region. They often come from the poorer areas where opportunities are limited, they often are ethnic minorities, and they often are displaced persons such as runaways or refugees (though they may come from any social background, class or race). Women are particularly at risk from sex trafficking. Criminals exploit lack of opportunities, promise good jobs or opportunities for study, and then force the victims to become prostitutes. Through agents and brokers who arrange the travel and job placements, women are escorted to their destinations and delivered to the employers. Upon reaching their destinations, some women learn that they have been deceived about the nature of the work they will do; most have been lied to about the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment; and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult or dangerous. Trafficking of children often involves exploitation of the parents’ extreme poverty. The latter may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. In West Africa, trafficked children have often lost one or both parents to the African AIDS crisis. Thousands of male (and sometimes female) children have also been forced to be child soldiers. The adoption process, legal and illegal, results in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women between the West and the developing world. In David M. Smolin’s papers on child trafficking and adoption scandals between India and the United States, he cites there are systemic vulnerabilities in the intercountry adoption system that makes adoption scandals predictable. Thousands of children from Asia, Africa, and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families. Men are also at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work predominantly involving forced labor which globally generates $31bn according to the International Labour Organization. Other forms of trafficking include forced marriage, and domestic servitude.