Human Trafficking: Vulnerable Men, Women and Children in Slavery
- Forced labor?
- Domestic Servitude?
- Sexual Exploitation?
Owning a slave has never been cheaper than it is today. Women, children, and also vulnerable men, work in factories, fields, restaurants, hotels, homes, and in every facet of the sex industry. This slavery exists in every country, including in the United States.
In fact, trafficking in women and girls has become one of the fastest growing enterprises in the world. The United Nations estimates that over two million women and girls are taken from their homeland into other countries under false pretenses for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. Trafficking and slavery are never “stand alone crimes.” They are linked to money laundering, drug trafficking, document forgery, human smuggling, rape, and torture.
The United Nations estimates that 27 million men, women and children are bought and sold each year. The US State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report estimates that 800,000 to two million women and girls, some as young as age five, are trafficked across national borders each year and bought and sold for sexual purposes. The same report notes that, at any given time in our world, 27 million women, men, and children are enslaved in forced labor, bonded labor, sexual servitude, involuntary servitude, or domestic servitude. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that, in the USA alone, trafficking and slavery generate 9.5 billion dollars a year.
Experts in the field say that one of the most difficult realities in the trafficking issue is the propensity of governments worldwide to treat trafficked persons as criminals or as unwanted undocumented workers rather than as people with human rights that are being violated. Moreover, the reality of trafficking and slavery remains mostly invisible in many cultures and countries. In theUnited States, trafficking for labor or the sex trade often occurs right in our local communities. We simply do not see it. Nor do we recognize the women, children, and men who are the victims.
This modern-day slave trade is not only one of the most horrific human rights issues of our time, but is also a significant health issue, for the global sex market is hastening the spread of HIV-AIDS and other diseases.
This is a complex, multi-national, economically-driven, politically charged reality… a reality that impacts us even if we do not yet recognize it. [FIVE PART SERIES]
We are called to respond.
First, we must strive to understand the situation, a situation so far beyond our personal experiences that we may minimize it, or even redefine it solely in terms of a personal experience of violence or sexual abuse. It is, indeed, that, but it is so much more complicated.
This website, which will be frequently updated, will allow Salvatorians in theUnited States, and others in the English speaking world to begin to grapple with this important issue.