WHAT’S THE DEAL
Every year more than 2.5 million people are trafficked around the world for sexual purposes or cheap labour. It’s estimated that there are currently 27 million slaves today – that’s more than the height of the African slave trade. Who is it that’s being enslaved? Approximately 50% of these victims are women and children – some even as young as four years old. It’s the fastest growing international crime. It is also a very lucrative business, pulling in an estimated $10 billion dollars (usd) a year worldwide – second only to drug trafficking. How much is $10 billion? It’s approximately two times the worldwide revenue of Coca Cola! People are trafficked across borders at a rate of 1 every minute. That’s enough to fill 5 jumbo jets every day!
If you think this doesn’t happen in Canada, you’re wrong. We get approximately 2500+ foreign women and children a year being coerced into joining the sex trade in Canada. On top of that, the RCMP estimate that 2,200 people pass through Canada on their way into the USA to work in construction, sweatshops, domestic jobs and brothels. In the last couple of years, two porn and prostitution stings in Newfoundland and Winnipeg have involved 60 young girls – lots of them between the ages of 12 and 16 years old. 1
Does this info shock you? Make you mad? If you’re like me you’re probably thinking that this is WRONG! If so, then let’s do something about this injustice so it can be abolished as soon as possible.
I’d like to focus on the lives of those who have been trafficked for sexual purposes. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these victims.
- - getting taken away from your family, never to see them again.
- - living in a 3 x 4 foot cell that is never cleaned and shared with a whole bunch of other people.
- - being beaten for not doing everything someone “asks” or fantasizes you to do, no matter how disgusting or personally demeaning those things may be.
- - being forced to have sex with over 40 clients a day.
These are the realities sex-trade workers must deal with every day. How would you feel if this was happening to your bff, sister, mother, niece, daughter, girlfriend or wife?
You may wonder how someone can fall into such an obvious trap. Traffickers are always very smooth, and know exactly how to con young women, and even parents of young children into selling their children into trafficking. The traffickers will go into a small impoverished village and offer jobs as nannies, waitresses, cleaning ladies, and models. These women are promised to make large sums of money that they can send back to their families to make life easier for them. Who would want to turn down an offer like that? In North America here they’ll often be the most loving, caring, romantic boyfriend you’ve ever had till they turn on you and force you to sell yourself.
For foreign trafficked people, they are usually transported by plane, boat or car. As soon as they arrive at their destination, the trafficker “holds” their ID and/or passports for them. What they don’t know is that they will never get it back. When they get to the place where they are going to live the trafficker (or new owner if they’ve been sold already) informs them that they owe a ridiculous amount of money for the plane ticket, food, room and board and a whole bunch of other expenses. The sum of money is always something that could never be paid off and if you get close, they make up reasons to fine you or add to your bill. It’s do what you’re told or get beaten. Often victims will be threatened with harm to family members at home to make them do what the traffickers want.
What fuels this industry? Beyond greed for $ and desire to survive, sexual satisfaction is a major factor. People want sex and sexual satisfaction and seek to fulfill that desire one way or another.
I think pornography plays the biggest role in driving that lust/satisfaction piece. Porn demeans women (and men) and turns them into objects for sexual desire. When men start looking at women as objects, they forget about treating them as people with rights to be treated with respect and only see them as meeting a need to fulfill their perverted sexual desires. This porn obsession eventually blossoms into a need for physical satisfaction and prostituted people (some who are trafficked) can be the path that these “Johns” take for release. Even more disturbing, thanks to the internet, a john can find a brothel with the click of a mouse. There are endless amounts of websites advertising trafficked women all over the world. There are even websites where men can rate the brothels and talk about the women they have been with in forums, and chat rooms.
So, you have read the article, are shocked and angered, are more aware of the issue and are moved to wanna do something. “What can we do about all this?” you ask. Here’s a couple of suggestions.
1. PRAY – for the victims, Johns and traffickers. One idea I’ve seen work well is to set up a prayer room with human trafficking being the focus. This can be run as a stand alone thing or attached to an event or gathering. Participate in The Salvation Army annual Prayer Weekend every September!
2. AWARENESS – Educate yourself then educate others. Start a group in your school, at your home church. Talk about it with your co-workers. Lead a workshop on it at a community event, youth group event or local church event.
3. FUNDRAISE – Financially support organizations who are doing something about this issue.
[STF Editor - see downloadable resources below for more ideas and help!]
I’ll leave you with a quote stated by Victor Malarek, who was a speaker at a human trafficking conference I attended recently. “Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it’s the oldest oppression”
This issue stirs up many thoughts and emotions. Here’s a few questions to spark the conversation.
- What are your thoughts as you read the stats and facts?
- Have you done anything to hi-light this issue where you live? What did you do? How did it go?
- What are some ideas to create awareness about this issue or raise funds?
’5 Actions to Take’ handbill – (300 kb)
Prayer Stations (56 kb)
Human Trafficking stats ppt (600 kb)
Traffic Jam – awareness & fundraising pkg using RockBandtm. (60 mb)
(To Download: right click & select ‘save as’ or ‘save link as’)
:: by Carlye “Danger” Morris of Nanaimo, BC
1 Sources for stats in paragraphs 1 & 2 include: Department of Justice Canada, Michelle Miller, RCMP, The Canadian Press, Winnipeg Free Press, Stop the Traffik, ILO, United Nations, Amnesty International, New York Times and Free The Slaves, among othersShare this: Tweet