Written By: Javier P.
Trafficking is a complex, nuanced and seedy topic. We want to be tasteful in the words we use, while still conveying the urgency and evils of trafficking. We firmly believe that there is a huge need for education, prevention and awareness. A need to expose the ways and mediums that traffickers use and to bring to light the realities of cultural situations. This blog series on Modern Trafficking is a step in that direction. In this series we will unpack some of the terms around trafficking and the situations that allow trafficking to exist. Please know that we will be careful in how we talk about these topics, but we feel they are important topics that you need to know about as you work to give more people access to freedom. A few topics we will cover include: current terms, fast fashion and responsible tourism.
Summer is right around the corner, which means that families will be traveling on vacation. With many countries reopening, there is an uptick expected in travel this summer. This means that there will be more tourism, and with that, there is potential for increased trafficking activity. Sex tourism and trafficking often intersect with many parts of travel and hospitality in popular vacation spots. At SOS, we are committed to Seeing the victims of trafficking. Here are some ways you can approach your next trip to keep from unintentionally supporting trafficking.
Do Your Research
Before you travel, make sure to research the place you travel to, specifically the place you will be staying. This is especially important when visiting countries known for sex tourism. We have heard many stories of people who booked hotels online, appearing to be regular hotels, only to arrive and discover that the hotel is a brothel.
Committing to doing good research on finding a reputable hotel is a good way to make sure that the money you are spending does not go toward supporting trafficking.
Understand How Giving Can Hurt
There are several reasons a child is trafficked. One of the most common forms of trafficking you will encounter while vacationing is begging rings. Many children are trafficked to beg for money. Although it may seem harmless to give, the money does not go to these children but to their traffickers. The money they receive only incentives traffickers to continue using the children, which continues the cycle of exploitation. A better solution would be to offer to buy food or water for children that seem in need. Purchase it yourself and open the package – this will ensure the child gets the food and keeps the trafficker from returning it for money. It is always good to support local organizations and networks that are actively working to provide care to people in that community.
Before you leave on a trip, prepare yourself with resources that you can use to keep trafficking victims and yourself safe.
- Find and save the local emergency and trafficking tip line numbers if available. Having the number saved beforehand saves you the hassle of trying to find it in an intense moment.
- Share your itinerary with family and friends back home so they can keep up with you in case anything seems off.
- Download the TraffickCam app, which allows you to upload photographs of your hotel room for authorities to cross-reference with their database to locate and catch traffickers.
- Set aside a small budget to spend on providing food and water to children as mentioned before.
Making the time to prepare yourself with resources before your trip can help you act quickly.
As you travel you may come across someone who is being trafficked, whether they are begging for money or offering sexual services. It is important to make sure that you see the person and treat them with respect. Even when declining, you can acknowledge their presence and decline politely. These victims are hidden behind a stigma that causes people to instinctively treat them with disrespect. Simply acknowledging them, sharing a smile, or politely greeting them can be all that is needed to make them feel seen instead of overlooked or unwanted. This is a powerful way to fight trafficking in a way you may not usually have the chance to! We are thankful for your commitment to seeing the victims of human trafficking!