HUMAN TRAFFICKING FACTS
. CHILD TRAFFICKING FAQ'S AND WAYS TO STOP IT
WHAT IS CHILD TRAFFICKING?
Child trafficking is when children are recruited through force, deception or kidnapping, and transported within their country or across borders in order for them to be exploited by being used in prostitution, pornography, child labor, for domestic, factory or agricultural work, as child camel jockeys, for begging, or used as child soldiers, suicide bombers, organ donation, drug smuggling, and more.
The children are as young as 4 months old, and sold for as little as $16US.
There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history. An estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children. 2 kids are trafficked for sex every minute. Its a 32 Billion-Dollar industry. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises because it holds relatively low risk with high profit potential. Criminal organizations are increasingly attracted to human trafficking because, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly. Human trafficking is estimated to surpass the drug trade in less than five years. Brazil and Thailand hold the record in child trafficking, but the problem is Global and every country is involved, including the US.
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
Child trafficking happens because there is a demand for childrens bodies and labor in a range of industries. 80% of trafficked children are used as sex slaves. When there's a demand, there'll be a supply.
LACK OF ADEQUATE LAW AND LAW ENFORCEMENT:
The situation is worse in countries where the rights of children are not adequately protected by law or the authorities. In the US rescued victims of child trafficking are placed in juvenile hall which sends the message to these children that they are criminals, while their abusers get away with little to no punishment. In other countries the traffickers pay off the police and other authorities, so the victims have no place to turn to.
WAR, POVERTY AND LACK OF EDUCATION:
In war and poverty stricken areas the risk of child trafficking is great. Some families are tricked by the traffickers into selling their children with the promise of an opportunity for a better life. Some parents have watched one or more of their children die from starvation and in desperation believe that their children would be better off as slaves. Many children are sold by their relatives after their parents have died. Children are more vulnerable than adults and often do not know their rights and can be more easily tricked or coerced. Factors like war, family breakdown, or lack of employment opportunities also make trafficking more likely.
Karma and Status - The issue in Southeast Asia is particularly complex because it is compounded by their cultural and religious beliefs. Going back to the fifteenth century a man's status was measured in rice fields and concubines. For those without resources for a harem, prostitution was an acceptable option and still helped measure status. This attitude combined with the fact that Thai Buddhism believes in karmic debt encourages the abuse of these kids and they themselves believe they must have done something terrible in their past lives and must repay the karmic debt accumulated. Some sales are driven by the belief that it is the childrens duty to support their parents by selling their bodies. More than a few Chinese businessmen believe that sleeping with a child purifies them and brings prosperity to their business.
In Asia, there is a wide spread belief that children cannot carry HIV. Some believe that children are resilient and will grow up to be normal adults in spite of the abuse and will not even remember being abused. They equate this belief to: It is not such a big deal to rape a child.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING:
Every country in the world is involved in child trafficking.
Currently a 100, 000 kids are being trafficked in the US. According to the Department of Justice, the average of these children is 13 years old. 80% of these children are girls and 80% of those girls are sexual slaves. The life expectancy of the girls is 7 10 years from the time of their abduction and the start of their enslavement. The life expectancy for boys is less than that.
Here is what the children experience on a daily basis:
And mental abuse
Over 71% of trafficked children show suicidal tendencies.
WHY DONT THE KIDS TRY TO ESCAPE?
Some try and there have been reported cases where a Burmese boy was able to escape, only to find himself in a criminal facility where he was further abused. Most children who try to escape are recaptured and severely punished by the traffickers. They are made a spectacle for all other children to watch and learn from. Its hard to describe all the gruesome details of the punishments, but just to give you a clue- gouged eyes, damage to reproductive organs, locked in a coffin with insects. In addition, slaveholders threaten to kill the kids family, or they will use siblings or friends as a collateral and thus keep the child trapped and doing as she/he is told.
Slaveholders also send testers to the kids to pretend to rescue them. If the kid engages with the tester they are punished. At some point the children give up and become resigned to their new life their hell on earth. Survival mode will kick in and they become hardened, disconnected, hopeless, angry, and isolated trusting no one, which is the slaveholders goal.
There are many different methods these slaveholders use to manipulate and control their slaves. These impressionable and dependent children want to be accepted by someone. The slaveholder is the only one they really know in their new reality. Between the abuses and in an effort to keep the children the slaveholder will also tell the them he/she loves them, buy them gifts, and take them to exciting places in order to keep them submissive, producing a Stockholm syndrome where the victim actually thinks they are being loved thus skewing their concept of love.
WHAT IS OUR GOVERNMENT DOING ABOUT SLAVERY?
The answer to that question is, Not much. F.B.I. recovery numbers are 900 children per year. Typically, the recovery rate is less than 1% of the actual trafficked population. And what happens to a child when she/he is rescued? The Department of Justice has confirmed that care facilities specifically designed to support these trafficked children can give shelter to less than 100 of them. F.B.I. policy is to place these rescued victims into juvenile hall, which sends the message to these children that they are criminals. The cost of a child in juvenile hall is $250 per day. Government agencies cannot give these children what they need most love.
WHY CANT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE UN CURE THE PROBLEM?
Even though the United Nations (UN) is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace, there are political dynamics that limit the ability of such international organizations to affectively bring about solutions to certain issues. There have been situations where the UNs anti-trafficking unit knew that specific children would be sold into slavery, but could not do anything about it because there is so much red tape. Furthermore, they say that there are thousands of children exploited at known locations, but they are left to endure their faith, because there is no place to shelter them and care for them if they are rescued. Apparently there are not enough funds for the building of aftercare facilities.
Furthermore, even though there are a lot of great individuals working for organizations such as NATO, the UN and different Western Aid Agencies, and the above were started with a noble purpose in mind, somehow corruption finds its way around. The Western presence in Kosovo, for example, such as NATO troops and civilians have fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking. Amnesty International has reported that NATO soldiers, UN police, and Western Aid workers were exploiting the victims of sex trafficking.
THAN WHAT IN THE WORLD CAN I DO?
A whole lot! If each one of us did something we can end child trafficking. It is not just wishful thinking; it is a proven fact of history. Most changes in the world occurred when multitudes of people could no longer stay indifferent to the situation. When ordinary people make their voices heard, laws do change and governing authorities start to care.
Please, refer to our What you can do page and get over 170 ideas of practical things anybody and everybody can do. The one thing that you shouldnt do is nothing. And, when you are tempted to think you are not really making a difference, please remember that the ocean is actually made of drops of water. When you think that your $1 donation is a joke, remember that about 1/5 of the Earth's population, or 1.1 billion people, currently live on less than $1 a day, according to the World Resources Institute. You personally may not be able to make a difference for all of the trafficked children, but for one child you can make all the difference. Sponsoring a child generally will cost you a dollar a day. It is the most powerful way to fight poverty one of the main reasons for trafficking.
Here are some sobering numbers for you:
One Water Pump-$200
Traditional Well for150 People-$2,600
Job Training for a Woman-$100
Farmer Tools, Training & Seeds-$52
Ten Fruit Trees-$60
Two Oxen & a Plow-$50
13 Farm Animals-$500
Family Fishing Kit & Fish Pond-$240
Build & Stock A Health Clinic-$39,000
Home for a Mother and her Children - $2,950
Home for Orphaned Children - $5, 100
Build a school - $22, 000
(Source- World Vision Gift Catalogue)
IF GOVERMENT AND LARGE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS CAN'T ABOLISH CHILD TRAFFICKING, THEN HOW CAN YOU?
We work to abolish child sex slavery and exploitation through the following ways:
Restore & Empower: Training aftercare workers, multiplying safe-homes, and providing therapy, a sense of family and space to thrive. Also, by providing education and viable employment opportunities, survivors are equipped to transition back into communities.
Protect & Defend: Protecting children by developing and sustaining targeted prevention projects in high-risk communities while defending the rights of the vulnerable through advocacy, awareness raising and effective action.
Having small and not well-known organizations is very advantageous when it comes to the issue of child trafficking. It is much easier to stay anonymous and invisible. It is harder for the traffickers to locate the undercover field workers and get to someone in charge that they could pay off. While the field workers blend with the crowd, they are also able to uniquely impact small at risk communities, by building strong and close relationships within these communities. The field workers aid the children by educating them, and their parents or caregivers about the reality of child trafficking. We are also working to provide sustainable ways of living, and build as many aftercare homes as possible.
The presence of a single field worker on the Thai Burma border has lowered child trafficking by 34% within the past few years.
We are also developing targeted ads and campaigns to challenge some of the beliefs that make exploitation of children OK.
In addition, we are focusing on changing legislation to better protect children and have more severe consequences for the abusers. Non-profit organizations are beginning to clamp down on child trafficking. Several global agreements have been made condemning child trafficking and protecting childrens rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the United Nations Trafficking Protocol of 2000.
We are addressing the demand issue by working to provide an anonymous 800 number which will be set up similar to domestic violence programs in the U.S. that offer "hotlines" via an 800 number for counseling and placement in domestic violence shelters. We believe that the hotline will be extremely helpful to those with no resources . . . except an 800 number. We are convinced that professional counseling would produce great relief.
The criminalization of prostitution and pornography, together with education is an answer. It is now a proven fact, that one of the best solution for the demand is the one being used in Sweden--where it is illegal to purchase sexual servicesperiod. At first, Swedens law enforcement was quite critical of this law and thought it would be impossible to enforce. Upon education of the police force, the criticism stopped and the arrests of purchasers of sexual services increased significantly. In addition, to educate the male population in Sweden, ad campaigns - strategically placing posters, etc. in establishments (such as racetracks) frequented by men, apparently made a difference. So, it seems education is critical--whether in the classroom, at the racetrack, or in the movie theatre. And despite all of the stale, canned, half-hearted, and misguided arguments for the legalization of prostitution, the criminalization of prostitution (together with the education described above) appears to be the answer.
We are also planning to work closely with schools in educating them and their students about human trafficking and ways to avoid becoming a victim.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY THAT LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT IT MAY BE HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center 1.888.3737.888
2 KIDS ARE TRAFFICKED EVERY MINUTE