What is Human Trafficking?

TOP FACTS THAT FREE SLAVES
-There are hundreds of real slaves near you right now.
-They die at an alarming rate unless freed.
-You have the power to help free and help heal them.
-The directory of how to do so (for Chicagoland) is at: freeslaveswithyourownhands.org
-The purchase of sex largely determines how many of America’s children will be kidnapped, beaten, raped and enslaved for years.  Tell every ‘john’ you meet.
-Those who have escaped are heroes.  For their wisdom and bravery they should be revered.
-Victims can be identified while in public.  If you see someone with the signs call the National hotline at: 1- 888-373-7888.  Signs are listed at: www.polarisproject.org
-Bring power down from on high to save them twice -physically and spiritually.
-The charities working on this are swamped.  Donating to them saves lives.
-Posting this list on Facebook, etc. will mobilize the public and thus you, yourself, will free slaves with your own hands.

 

THE EXPLANATION

The obvious way to define human trafficking is to define the two words that make up the compound concept. So the term then would mean: human as in people, whether they be young or old, female or male, white or black, and trafficking as in moving them through the world like cattle, herded for the purposes of the trafficker.

In some ways, this is a great definition. It reminds us that anyone, no matter their skin color, gender or age can be a victim of human trafficking. Furthermore, it highlights how powerless those involved in human trafficking are, for they are treated merely as objects forced to do the bidding of their masters. In both these way, a human trafficking definition that focuses solely on the words that make up the term is very powerful.

However, there are some misconceptions that this simple definition leaves us with.

Firstly, trafficking makes us think of traffic, which involves movement. But in actuality it is possible to traffick someone who never moves an inch outside of the space that they originally began in. Victims can be trafficked for sex right out of their own homes by parents, siblings and foster families. A child can be sold to neighbors by the people they once trusted. No one needs to be moved long distances to be trafficked. To be very specific, domestic trafficking is as much of an issue as international and a fluent english speaking girl from the South Side could be as much of a victim as a little Thai girl stuck in a basement.

Secondly, though all human trafficking victims are rightly called victims, it is very possible that victims of human trafficking can feel as though they are not victims at all. They often feel like what they are doing is what is needed and that it is not being done to them, but something that they are choosing to do themselves. Acknowledging that these people have pride and a sense of ownership over what is happening to them will make it easier to communicate with them and make us as volunteers less judgemental and more helpful.

Finally, human trafficking’s biggest flaw as a term is how big it makes the problem seem. Of course, the problem is big. However, human trafficking makes it sound almost insurmountable, for it involves all humans and so much power and control. In fact, though, human trafficking is something that we can fight. Every time a victim is listened to, taught to see themselves as a deeply worthwhile and loved individual, shown a life that makes them feel empowered and not empty, human trafficking is overcome. At least for that one person. And maybe that is enough. It might not feel like it in the scheme of things, but for that one person, that is everything. So even though it is a huge problem, it also has a solution that will work if enough people get involved.

On this site, you will find ways to get yourself involved in this fight and, if enough of us do so, I know that we will win.