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The Work Against Human Trafficking

2023-01-20

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): The Good Men Project

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2022/11/02

Human trafficking represents one of the gravest global issues in the treatment of human beings by other human beings. What people do, at the end of the day, that’s ethics. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking can be defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” Men, women, and children, regardless of age, are subject to the crime of human trafficking. Commonly, there is the use of violence, fraud, and fake promises of education and work, to coerce and/or trick victims into human trafficking. This representation of human deception and cruelty demarcates one facet of respect for an ethic of human rights versus a violation of human rights.

International documents have been developed and adopted by the United Nations to set a moral direction – compass if you will – for legally binding documents. The first, entitled the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons or The Protocol, was adopted by the United Nations in 2000 as a part of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. 178 Members States (countries/nations) of the United Nations are “party” to The Protocol, whether destination or transit with an emphasis on children and women.

The emphasis on children, particularly girls, and women comes with good reason within the formal language of The Protocol. 71% of victims are women and girls (51% and 20%, respectively), while 21% are men. 8% are boys. This comes from the United Nations in an article entitled “Report: Majority of trafficking victims are women and girls; one-third children”. The article emphasizes individuals fleeing war torn circumstances as particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. Girls and women get forced into marriages and sexual slavery, boys and men into combatant roles and slave labour.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime claims, “Through the services we provide, authorities are better equipped to prevent human trafficking, identify and protect victims, and prosecute the perpetrators. Countries are able to dismantle the criminal networks behind human trafficking and seize the illegal proceeds.”

The United Nations (Organization on Drugs and Crimes) defines three aspects of trafficking as the act, the means, and the purpose. The act is the trafficker recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, and/or receiving. The methods of threat or use of force, coercion, fraud, deception, abuse of position vulnerability, giving payments or benefits, and/or abduction. The sole purpose of exploitation.

Within human trafficking, as already alluded, there exists one particularly tragic avenue of exploitation in the form of sexual trafficking. “UNODC report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery” states the majority of sexual trafficking victims are women and girls, globally, based on a report from 155 countries. Secular international human rights come into focus here, as theory in praxis or human rights as moral ideas into realities for women and girls. Are the rights respected or violated?

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, stated, “Many governments are still in denial. There is even neglect when it comes to either reporting on, or prosecuting cases of human trafficking.” Non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, religious organizations, human right defenders, and so on, have been integral to combatting human trafficking with sexual exploitation as a major component of this human rights violation. Your country doesn’t have to be one of those in denial.

The American Psychological Association describes the consequences for individuals involved in human trafficking (including sexual trafficking), as stated in “Facts About Trafficking of Women and Girls”:

  • Trafficked women and girls encounter high rates of physical and sexual violence, including homicide and torture, psychological abuse, horrific work and living conditions, and extreme deprivation while in transit.
  • Serious mental health problems result from trafficking, including anxiety, depression, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideation and suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dissociative disorders and complex PTSD.
  • Physical symptoms among trafficking victims include neurological issues, gastrointestinal disturbances, respiratory distress, chronic pain, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), uro-genital problems, dental problems, fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

The damages to the girls and women in most cases can be temporary or permanent depending on care, context, and individual factors. Canadian citizens are subject to the same human rights violation in Canada. Between 2010 and 2020, 2,977 individual reports existed of human trafficking. 86% of the incidences happened in census metropolitan areas. 96% of the victims were women and girls. 25% were under age 18. 20% were aged 25 to 34. 81% of those accused were boys and men. 41% of the accused were aged 18 to 24. 36% of the accused were aged 25 to 34. The legal cases take, at least, twice as long as violent adult criminal court cases.

To make this more immediate to a personal locale, the perennial context in Canadian society is the Township of Langley, for me. A socially conservative municipality of the nation and a place upon which religious evangelism, oft Evangelical Christian or Roman Catholic Christian, can be a mainstay. I became aware of some efforts within Christian Life Assembly (Christian Life Assembly Church) lead by Pastor Derrick Hamre through some local contacts working directly on this issue of human trafficking. The presentations to Christian community have been audiovisual in nature, such as “Andrew Hawkes | Break the Cycles | Christian Life Assembly” and “God’s Purpose & Plan for the World | Andrew Hawkes | Christian Life Assembly” – worth a gander.

There are a number of organizations of a secular, religious, or political, nature working towards the same general good goal. The idea is, in fact, a protection of human rights through an implementation of the ideals into practice. Some will speak in working in the name of Christ or another holy figure, the Kingdom of God, and God’s plan, and so on; others within a (secular) international human rights framework will speak to the respect for human rights – rarely both. The important part of the protection from human trafficking in practice, in the end – what people do.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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