Realities of Human Trafficking

This article came out of a webinar that was virtually presented through the CII, an elite professional group of investigators located around the world, which MadPI is a part of. The webinar was led by Tabitha Lage, who is the founder of Hope Risen Foundation. It is a “local and international organization that exists to end modern day slavery and exploitation through Prevention, Intervention, Restoration and Re-integration spreading Love, Hope and Justice”. You can find out more about her work on the website below https://www.hoperisen.org.

The goal of this article is to reach out, to educate and to make you think and hopefully to make you act, even by making small changes in your life.

As stated in the Palermo Protocols by the UN and adopted by over 150 countries, human trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

Here are some facts about human trafficking from several sources including the https://exoduscry.com, an organization that fights sexual exploitation and the sex industry through shifting culture, changing laws and reaching out:

  • Human trafficking is a highly-organized and lucrative business, generating 150 billion USD per year, 99 billion of which is generated by sex trafficking within the prostitution industry.
  • The latest global estimate according to the International Labor Organization (the United Nations agency that deals with global labor issues), calculates that nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. Roughly 4.5 million of those victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  • The International Labor Organization also estimates that 55 percent of all trafficking victims and 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are women and girls.
  • One UN report estimates that trafficking victims represent over 130 different nationalities and are present in almost 120 countries.
  • While the problem is clearly of a global scale, with some 600,000 to 800,000 victims trafficked across international borders each year, most human trafficking surprisingly still occurs within national borders.
  • Victims suffer physical or emotional abuse and often live and work in horrific conditions. They may also face fatal consequences if they attempt to escape.
  • Traffickers use various methods to lure and groom potential victims. These methods often include intimidation, false work pretenses, or a technique in which the trafficker pretends to be romantically interested in their potential victim.
  • Traffickers control their victims in various ways such as taking away their identity documents and passports, sexual abuse, threats, intimidation, physical violence, and isolation.
  • While no individual is immune from falling victim to human trafficking, there are vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous women and girls, that are at higher risk.
  • It is a crime that is highly gendered, with root causes of exploitation, including a lack of education, social supports and employment opportunities, compounded by poverty, sexism, racism, and wage inequality.
  • It’s a not a dream come true for the girls. It’s a nightmare that they relive time and time again for the rest of their lives.
  • Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of human trafficking.

Also, as borrowed from Tabitha’s website:

HUMAN BEINGS FOR SALE – People are being sold as commodities, sometimes for less than one would pay for a cup of coffee.

IT’S PART OF YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE – Whether it’s mica in your makeup, or porn on the PC, slavery is so prolific globally it’s almost certain you’ve encountered it.

IT’S SOMEONE YOU KNOW – Traffickers don’t wear labels, and victims aren’t only young women from poor places. It really could be anyone.

To the greater extent, the underline causes of human trafficking are prostitution, pornography, and stripping. It’s a system of violence and exploitation, where predominantly men (both in organized crime groups as well as individuals) bourgeon sexual inequality through predatory sexual and profit-driven interests facilitating stakeholders such as pimps and traffickers in pursuit of their unhealthy ambitions.

As a private investigator, I often have parents and family members reaching out to us locally and from abroad to locate their children and siblings for various reasons. Thankfully, only one out of all the locate subjects of my investigations over the years was explicitly engaged in the sex industry. After elaborate investigative and consulting work, that person was saved and returned happily home to the parents and is doing so well now in another profession that even if I don’t do anything else useful in life, I might be happy with this result only (never enough of course, and that’s why I continue working).

Things YOU can do:

  • Get educated by learning more information about the industry, its perpetrators and its victims. Learn about potential red flags for human trafficking situations. Set up web alerts to receive human trafficking news.
  • Get involved by speaking up and sharing this information with your friends, on social media and to the young people in your life.
  • Challenge it on a local, provincial and federal level. Find out what your representatives are doing to address human trafficking.
  • Donate to or volunteer with the organizations mentioned here or to others involved in educating and combating human trafficking. Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization. Become a mentor to a young person or someone in need.
  • Get help if you’re a victim, a person with sexual addictions, or you know someone who might be a victim or a perpetrator.
  • If you are a business or a corporation, provide information and resources to staff, reach out to a wider network outside of your organization, collaborate to fundraise and spread awareness.
  • Encourage companies to take steps to prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
  • Encourage your local schools to include human trafficking in the curriculums. If you are a student, take action on your campus to raise awareness about human trafficking.
  • Reach out to law enforcement or someone who can make a difference if you suspect this is happening in your community or to someone you know.
  • Be a conscious and informed consumer, find out more about where the products you purchase are coming from.
  • Stop being a passive or an active part of the problem, and become an active part of the solution.
  • Discuss sexuality with your children and loved ones. Teach your daughters and sisters to be independent, strong, careful, vigilant, give them self-worth and much needed healthy doses of love and respect. Teach your sons and brothers to respect women and to deal with their own sexuality in a healthy, positive and mindful way which would never involve degrading sexual exploitation of women through the sex industry.

Here are some Canadian initiatives and links you should check out. Almost every other country has similar initiatives as well.

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline 1-833-900-1010: https://www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca

Safety Tips to avoid being trafficked and when leaving trafficking situation: https://www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca/safety-planing/#1552391276808-cf2e7749-72ef

Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/tp/what-quoi.html

Public Safety Canada: https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2019-ntnl-strtgy-hmnn-trffc/index-en.aspx

RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ht-tp/index-eng.htm

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking: https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/sex-trafficking/#

General information about Human Trafficking in several languages: https://www.peopleslawschool.ca/publications/human-trafficking-canada

UNICEF Canada: https://www.unicef.ca/en/child-trafficking

If you need more information on Canadian or international resources, or if you have any other questions on human trafficking or about any other services, please do not hesitate to Contact us, we know how to help you!