Human Trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerable people using methods of deceit, manipulation and entrapment. Though most often hidden from view, human trafficking is a persistent global problem affecting millions of people.
Who Does it Affect?
Human Trafficking occurs in all parts of the world and affects all kinds of people. Though both men and women are trafficked, women are more often targeted for the sex industry and there are more than 5.5 million children trafficked worldwide.
At least 27 million people are trafficked worldwide.
Forms of trafficking include prostitution, pornography, forced marriage, forced labor, begging, armed services, and migrant farming.
Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry.
(*Note: This map reflects data from 2013. Current data suggests that there are at least 27 million trafficking victims. This number reflects only those cases that are known. Human trafficking is a shadowy industry and so we will only ever have an estimate of these figures.)
What can be done?
One of the main reasons people fall victim to trafficking is that their own financial or domestic situation is insecure. People can easily feel like they have no other options and become increasingly at risk. Traffickers target people in these precarious situations so to combat this, people need to feel more secure in their work, their home and their political status. Measures can be taken to increase people’s stability and security including:
Create stronger safety nets to prevent lower income households from falling victim to debt bondage or abusive lending practices.
Invest in diverse education and vocational training to create viable, long-term job opportunities for vulnerable workers.
Support workers’ rights, especially in sectors and industries that are vulnerable to forced labor such as agriculture, sweatshops, sex work, and construction.
Prevent the abuse of migrant workers by ensuring worker rights across borders.
Fair Trade & the Fight to End Human Trafficking
Many fair trade brands go above and beyond simply paying a fair wage to artisans. They invest in the lives of each artisan in a holistic way that encompasses a mutual respect for their well-being, safety and livelihood. For some brands, part of this is fighting human trafficking by providing alternative employment under safe working conditions. Brands like Good Paper Cards, Malia Designs, and Starfish Project all work to restore hope to women who have been trapped by exploitation.
Starfish Project is an exemplary organization in the fight against human trafficking. They not only provide safe, fair employment for women who have escaped the sex trade in Asia, but also provide further training in things like computer certification, Photoshop, and other skills that the women can then apply to gain future employment. The photos below show some of the women of Starfish Project who are proud of their benefits and achievements.