Different studies reveal that human trafficking is currently amongst the world’s most lucrative illegal activities, probably only behind weapons smuggling and drugs trafficking. To start with, these leading illegal ‘business’ activities contribute to revealing the shocking reality that several societies across the globe are more concerned in destruction rather than in building better living conditions for their citizens and in mutual understanding amongst nations. Weapons and illegal drugs destroy lives, destroy families, destroy communities and strip out people’s hope (sometimes with the convenient excuse of granting protection to individuals). Illicit drugs are not that different in regards to their pernicious outcomes. Some of them may cause as immediate harm as a gunshot, whilst others may slowly deteriorate people’s lives in the long run, whilst also undermining families’ ties and communities’ progress along the way.
Unfortunately, it is possible to observe that many governments and several large corporations are more inclined, for instance, towards investing huge sums of money on weaponry and building lethal arsenals than on financing research to tackling several diseases and plagues, on supporting primary and secondary education, or reducing poverty, malnutrition and famine across the world. Again, the logic is that it seems much easier, and maybe more profitable, spreading destruction than building fairer societies.
On what concerns human trafficking, I find particularly devastating. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, 5.5 million children were trafficked around the world, while Freedom United estimates that 40.3 million in total are currently in slavery. This phenomenon is devastating not because, eventually, its effects would be more or less damaging than weapons or illicit drugs. This activity is impressively devastating firstly because it is based on the same medieval and colonial-like practice of forcefully selling human beings as if they were mere disposable merchandises. Secondly, this pernicious activity plays with people’s genuine dreams, children’s legitimate innocence and individuals’ hopes or expectations of a better future. These elements feed the enticers’ greed and trigger their skilful deceiving discourse that, ultimately, will lead the ‘preys’ towards their endless Calvary (i.e.: prostitution, forced unpaid or underpaid labour, pornography, paedophilia, sex tourism, all sorts of abuses, and forced marriage).
Within that, a huge number of young children are sometimes sold by their own family members by a handful of bank notes of any currency (either out of complete honest naivety easily deceived by skilful enticers, or as an illusory desperate measure to escaping extreme poverty or famine). Teenage girls, on the freshness of their youth, and with so much amazing possibilities ahead of them, are deceived by false promises of successful careers, fame, generous payments, international travels and so forth. As with adult women, even though it would be expected that they would be better prepared to dodge out of such mousetraps, they are also caught in the same evil net. Consequently, these three social groups encompass the most vulnerable individuals targeted by traffickers worldwide. By the way, do not be fooled into thinking that the vulnerable groups are restricted to less developed countries. It is certain that the intersection of gender, age, belonging to lower social class positions, lack of schooling, and place of origin, comprise an appealing picture for the enticers recite their deceiving discourse and hook them. However, these vulnerable social groups are also found in wealthy countries as well.
In fact, the enticers are just one of the nodes of this nasty web. The others are pimps (both male and female adult individuals running brothels), dishonest business people profiting from forced slave work, high profile traffickers financing this activity and obviously profiting tremendously from it, and the individuals who demand this sort of ‘service’, to name just a few nodes. Combined, they steal women’s innocence (regardless of their age), compromise their future life prospects by enslaving them and completely disregarding their dignity. The ones who are fortunate enough to escape or be rescued from this Calvary by the authorities may eventually carry deep wounds in their soul (when not also on their flesh) for life, that may be difficult and painful to heal. What about the ones who are not so fortunate? May the Lord be with them! That is what I can say and wish.
I understand that rather than fostering (and naturalising) destruction, mass killings and different types of addictions, we need to take edifying measures to tackling modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Substantial, serious and committed investment in quality public education is an important measure towards preparing better, respectful and responsible adult citizens that will understand that engaging in such degrading activities and enticing others to follow this destructive path is not normal, acceptable or justifiable by any means whatsoever. In addition, formal education also contributes towards providing individuals with better tools to succeed in life and achieving upward social mobility, reducing poverty and, consequently, avoiding the selling of young children. It is not acceptable that in the 21st century we still have to witness medieval or colonial-like social practices and pretend that they are not happening or, even worse, that they are somewhat natural.
Finally, I am aware that for many people who may have the opportunity to read this plea, it may eventually, sound quite poetic, unrealistic, or that it is a battle that cannot be won because that is the way things are. Nevertheless, on the other hand, I am confident that, thankfully, several others will fully comprehend what I am talking about and the seriousness of the issue. We, as civil society and human beings, have a moral duty and responsibility to protect vulnerable individuals (especially children), rather than witnessing impassively them being mercifully exploited by others, like if they were disposable and worthless merchandises devoid of humanity. As the famous quote says, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. Therefore, if you are also unhappy with this ugly picture, I kindly invite you to join the ranks of those who wish to wipe this human trafficking sore out from our societies. Certainly, that is not the sort of legacy we need to leave for future generations and neither do they deserve such medieval or colonial-like inhuman practice.
Independent writer with a passion for traveling, photography and connecting them to literature.