Written By: Christie A.
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.
Current Terms and Topics to know about:
- Sex Tourism: We introduced the concept of sex tourism to you earlier. Sex tourism is important to be aware of because it fuels the demand for trafficked girls. While many sex tourists would not knowingly hire a trafficking victim, the reality is, meaning to or not, this happens every day. In the coming weeks we will share ways you can actively fight trafficking as you travel, but we want you to be aware that sex tourism is a major factor in the areas we are working to help girls.
- Grooming: Grooming is how a perpetrator lures/deceives/traps their victims. This system of behaviors is used by traffickers, especially in the North American context, to lure girls into captivity. Through being aware of grooming and the way it works you can be an informed advocate. The more we can educate and encourage women to move away from situations that exhibit grooming characteristics, the more we can help prevent trafficking from happening.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES): We talk about ACEs at length here, but in the big picture, ACEs are important because they allow you to understand the conditions inside of a community that fuel trafficking. These conditions and trauma points add up to create vulnerability, exposing children to conditions that traffickers prey on.
- Fast Fashion: Fast fashion is a major labor trafficking propellant. It is the cheap, widely-available, latest, trendiest pieces at the lowest price. Fast Fashion has changed the fashion industry, while also exploiting large groups of people with inhumane working and living conditions as well as impossibly low wages. While labor trafficking is not the focus of our outreaches, we recognize that anything that creates conditions for human trafficking will lead to all kinds of trafficking of persons.
- Social Oppression: Trafficking and social oppression go hand in hand. Trafficking thrives in communities where there is instability. Factors such as a lack of food, water, education and infrastructure all create the vulnerability needed for traffickers to exploit the most vulnerable, children. Globally, as we work with women rescued from these horrors the story of their trafficking there are common threads and themes: a lack of food, a need to provide for their family, abuse that started in the home, sudden tragedy – like a natural disaster, and no one to care for them. In our efforts to stop human trafficking we must actively develop and strengthen communities. Without efforts towards stopping oppression and developing communities we won’t be able to secure vulnerable children.
A few other things we think it’s important to know:
- Pornography fuels trafficking. It is not an innocent, victimless indulgence, rather it perpetuates violence, addiction and trafficking through accelerating the demand.
- Prostitution is very rarely chosen. Working with thousands of victims of trafficking one thing we encounter repeatedly is the stigma that “they chose it.” The reality is it was forced on them, and they are just trying to survive. When faced with starvation or torture versus obeying a pimp, so many of the girls we work with were just trying to make it to the next day. Globally, children are the most in demand, with girls 12-14 fetching the highest price. We are talking about a crime against children, not a personal choice.
- Social Media has opened new avenues for violence against women, with traffickers
grooming and controlling their victims using social media platforms. Grooming online is
much less risky than grooming in person and as such it is widely used. Parents should
be exceedingly cautious with social media use and their children.
Trafficking can look different all over the world, which is why it’s important for all of us to be educated and aware. We need you in the fight.
Want to find out how you can engage in the fight against trafficking? Get our latest guide here.