I talk about adult sex trafficking quite a bit. However, there is another side to the human trafficking issue and that is global child trafficking.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked every year. This is in addition to the children who are already being trafficked or exploited in the system. This is not contained to any specific region, but is a systemic, worldwide problem. Children are trafficked for the following reasons:
– Forced Labor: According to Unicef, most recent data puts the number of children used for forced labor at approximately 150 million. 60% of that number is estimated to be in the agriculture trade.
– Sexual Exploitation: The ILO and Unicef estimate the number of children used in sex trafficking is at 1.8 million – 2 million, the majority being girls.
– Armed Forces: Tens of thousands of girls and boys are being exploited by armed forces in at least 17 countries. They are used in the following ways: as warriors in direct hostilities, as messengers/spies or as propaganda.
– Drug Trade: Children abducted into the drug trade are used as couriers or dealers. They are at high risk of becoming addicted, criminally prosecuted and engaging in violence, especially murder.
– Begging Schemes: Exact data on child begging schemes is unclear, but the number of children used in begging schemes is at an estimated range of 600,000 – 1.5 million. Child beggars conscripted through 3rd parties are at risk of the act of maiming to increase profits. A child that has been maimed can generate as much as 3x more profits than one who is not.
– Child Exchange: This occurs in multiple fashions: families desperate for money selling their children for adoption, overseas adoption of abducted children , ‘re-homing’ of adopted kids by adoptive parents who can’t handle the adopted child most of the time due to psychological trauma the child has experienced from being passed around from home to home.
– Sales Motivated by Cash: Most of the issues mentioned above are motivated by cash in one form or another.
None of these reasons for child trafficking is acceptable. I know it’s a complicated matter. The human trafficking industry is very good at staying clandestine and it is very hard to prosecute traffickers. However, it is no less important for us to stay ever vigilant and aware of what is happening out there behind closed doors. If you don’t think this happens in our own backyard here in America, I present a list of countries, in no particular order, guilty of the offense of human trafficking:
United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, Romania, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Ghana, Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Chile, Poland, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Oman, and Qatar.
It is my hope that the more people who become educated on the human trafficking issue, the more people will talk about it openly and help bring the issue out of the shadows. How can we consider ourselves an enlightened society if we ignore this hidden travesty?
Please click the following link to Polaris Project if you are a victim or you know someone who may be a victim of human trafficking.
You can also call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree(233733). Hotline Call Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to take reports from anywhere in the country related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. All reports are confidential. Interpreters are available.
– Parental Rabbit