Human Trafficking Hits Home
By: Mia Safaee
Christelle is a young girl living in Tago, West Africa. According to a story on the Plan USA website Christelle is a victim of child trafficking, and she has survived a return home to start her life again. (http://www.planusa.org/content396771)
This is her story: One day a woman named Yawa came to Christelle’s village to talk with another women about her. The two women told Christelle’s mother that Christelle could make a lot of money working in Gabon and that she could continue her education.
They said Christelle would be safe and in good hands. Yawa left with Christelle and three other girls on a boat. When the girls reached Gabon, they took Christelle to stay with a couple, and help out in their shop. After a few days, she started to have trouble.
“The woman began insulting and hitting me. When she was gone, her husband would touch me. I was afraid of him and it was not before long I realized I was pregnant,” said Christelle.
When she told the couple, they sent her away. “I was helpless on the streets of a strange place, said Christelle.
Somehow, Christelle found the Togolese embassy, and they helped her return home. People have a misconception that slavery died, but slavery is still going on. Slavery is now referred to as human trafficking. Men, women, and, children usually from poor countries come to the United States in search of a better life, but are often exploited by traffickers.
The Midwest Immigrant and Human Rights Center, (MIHRC) estimates that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year and approximately 800,000 to 900,000 people are trafficked worldwide. MIHRC says the majority of the victims are women and children. Thirty-five percent of the victims are under the age of 18. They force victims into labor, and forced them into performing sexual actions.
According to MIHRC, traffickers recruit their victims through false advertisements in the newspaper offering good jobs at high pay or use modeling or matchmaking agencies to lure unsuspecting victims.
Traffickers threaten victims by verbal or sometimes physical abuse. Millions of immigrants who are trafficked into the U.S. are afraid to report their abuse for the fear that they would be seen as criminals or will be detected and deported.
The most profitable part of trafficking involves sex trafficking in women, and children. According to a report by the International Organization for Migration, the sex trade has emerged into an issue of global concern.
“Sex trafficking includes forced prostitution, bride trafficking, and child pornography,” said a report by the organization.
“Girls as young as 12 are sold to traffickers, usually virgins are repeatedly raped. This is a process used by traffickers to break their victim’s spirit so that they become easier to control,” said the report.
Children who are also sold into sex trades are often exploited through physical violence where rape is a daily occurrence, the report says. They are also more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases. According to the Anti-Slavery International, the trafficking of children has assumed alarming proportions. Child trade is a huge business with billions of U.S. dollars made annually worldwide.
Thousands of children reduced to human misery when and sold bought to satisfy perverted appetites. Their organs and other body parts also harvested. This is a seriously devastating issue going on right now, but there is far less international effort to help stop this than there is to stop global warming. Non-profit organizations trying to stop human trafficking include the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the Polaris Project and many others.