Together, we can #Endhumantrafficking
“Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice.” Declared world leaders at the beginning of the millennium.
Yet, 30th of July remains a bleak day globally. Since its inception in 2013, on this day we mark World Day against Trafficking in persons some of us while free, quite a number as victims with some undetected and others as vulnerable targets of human trafficking.
This year we focus on human trafficking under the banner ‘responding to the trafficking of children and young people’. As the world leaders affirmed, children should live and grow up in freedom and liberty, yet they remain the second highest victims of human trafficking representing 1 in 3 victims. Why is that?
Traffickers often pry on their victims who come from the same place, speak the same language or have the same ethnic background as them.
Such commonalities are unfortunately to the traffickers’ benefits who take advantage of the trust they have generated and the vulnerability of children to coerce or abduct them for human trafficking. While children are impressionable, most harrowing, family members entrusted with the care of children abuse their position of responsibility to profit from exploitation of their very own family by receiving payments for human trafficking. Shockingly, parents in poverty have been known to sell their children. In other cases children are forced to become beggars to meet the needs of adults who have no regard for their lives.
Even worse, war and conflict breed vulnerable conditions and areas for children in human trafficking. This is not necessarily engineered by family members. Pioneers of such inhumanity are the armed groups who abuse their power to recruit, transport, transfer and harbour children, using sexual and violent threats, force, coercion and abduction.
To what end? Troops in armed conflict countries create demand for labour and sexual services which these children are recruited to fulfil. In the absence of a strong rule of law and the weak institutions in these areas, this demand generates trafficking flows into the conflict or post-conflict zones. Painfully, girls are for forced into early marriages, domestic work and sexual slavery. Similarly boys are forced labourers, exploit natural resources as soldiers or committed to slavery and servitude.
It cannot be denied that human trafficking is one of the most egregious violations of human rights that can be endured by any human being let alone a child. This matter is rooted in social economic conditions including poverty, family violence, marginalisation, lack of education that leads to vulnerability breading exploitation and human suffering at the expense of the weakest amongst us; children.
The fate of these children in human trafficking or possible victims is delicate and challenge to every country whether it’s the host or receiving state. Nonetheless, this gross human violation that defies human dignity and risks lives needs to be addressed expediently to save these precious children robed of their freedom.
To better protect children from human trafficking, alleviating poverty is one of the key areas that will eliminate children being sold as slaves, forced into begging or sexual exploitation. Where countries are in conflict, child protection should always be of paramount importance much as seeking peace and reconciliation is. More importantly, where children have been victims of human trafficking, countries have a duty to keep them safe while protecting their privacy and identity to avoid re-victimisation.
Despite these constructive forces, together as communities, countries and with political goodwill, we can #Endhumantrafficking.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.