Human Traffickers Rely on
There are three essential conditions which makes one susceptible to human trafficking. Before going into a discussion about the conditions which help traffickers find their victims, let’s recognize one important fact: the trafficking of people is a supply-and-demand phenomenon. If the world could eliminate the market for human lives, trafficking would disappear from the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, the demand for human slaves has been an evil that has plagued mankind throughout history. We are unlikely to halt trafficking any time soon – perhaps not until Christ returns to take God’s children home.
The first condition is poverty. There are actually two types of poverty: individual and systemic. Individual poverty is a problem found throughout the world, but the root causes are often self-inflicted. Substance abuse, laziness, and irresponsible behavior are among its many causes. Systemic poverty, however, is a condition that people are born into and includes major populations within a community, region, or country.
Essentially, poverty is the absence of inability to secure the things necessary for daily life. Food, shelter, security, and health are the primary items essential for life. Removing any one of those will result in poverty. It becomes systemic when the absence of one or more of those essentials is prevalent throughout a population.
Communities often have areas where the residents live at a lower standard than does the majority of the town’s population. Frequently these people live along the edge of town, away from the center of activity. It is said that they live in ‘the fringe’ of society. The bulk of society looks down on these people. They become marginalized.
One does not necessarily need to live on the fringe to be marginalized. Societies that have caste systems, such as India and Nepal, have those of the lower castes living in close proximity of the higher castes. They are the workers, the people who do tasks which are far beneath those from the higher levels of society.
To be marginalized means to be devalued. Those of lower positions are of little worth, something acknowledged by everyone in the community, including the individual. This type of worthlessness is not to be confused with problems of self-esteem. These people truly have little value.
The third condition which contributes to a person’s susceptibility is inadequate education. In most developed and developing countries, education is measured by possessing a diploma. That piece of paper is the key to better jobs and higher status.
For example, one who has earned a PhD has significant influence on society. The high school dropout has little influence, which results in an inability to climb the social ladder.
In many societies, there are barriers to education. Poverty itself often limits a young person’s likelihood of obtaining any kind of education. And without that certificate or diploma, meaningful employment is simply out of reach. The undereducated are left to find whatever work is available, regardless of dangers, lack of morality, or even illegality. Hunger will drive a person to unimaginable actions.
Enter the Devil
It becomes understandable then that a young person will accept an attractive offer from a ‘recruiter’. The desire for a place to live, the promise of a real meal, and the prospect of getting ahead in the world can have a tremendous impact in a desperate soul. What is often misunderstood by people outside of the culture is that the decision to become ‘trafficked’ is often voluntary. The individual understands what they are doing, although they may not comprehend all of the conditions of employment.
Human traffickers are cool and calculating. They are skilled at manipulation and coercion. They are cunning salesmen who know how to close a deal. The victim quickly discovers that the promises made are not at all like the reality of their situation. They also realize that escaping from their new employer is nearly impossible and getting caught trying to escape has unimaginable consequences.
Prevention is the Answer
There are organizations that take great risks to break a person free from the traffickers. Those young boys and girls are worth a lot of money, and their handlers will do anything to safeguard their property. There is a man in Cebu City who, in 2016, was shot at, stabbed, and nearly run down by a car due to his efforts to rescue children from sex traffickers. It’s a very dangerous ministry.
That’s why Educate Bohol places such great effort on the prevention of trafficking. Rather than confront the criminals directly, we strive to put children in positive and hopeful situations where the allure of the traffickers offers have no interest. This is the most pragmatic approach to dealing with the horrors of child labor and the sex trade.
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