In 2000, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime began its landmark resolution on human trafficking, with 90% of member nations signing the agreement to introduce legislation to address the issue within and across their own borders. By 2009, researchers had collected and compiled enough data to produce this informative and profoundly moving documentary, which is an excellent introduction to human trafficking, for use by law-enforcement officials, educators, government agencies, related nonprofit organizations, and anyone interested in learning more about this dreadful crime, which touches millions of lives globally.
The defining feature of human trafficking is the lack of consent – or, where consent has been given, that this consent is irrelevant when the “means” of trafficking have been used – these “means” being the very methods of coercive control discussed at the Open Minds website: deception, emotional manipulation, threats of force, misuse of authority, taking advantage of vulnerability, and even spiritual blackmail. The United Nations also states flatly that no minor can give consent; anyone below the age of consent forced to work is being trafficked, regardless of any consent given by the minor or the parents/guardians of that minor. Of those trafficked, about 33% percent are children.
Every year, global events such as natural disasters, epidemics, famine, war, poverty, the persecution of ethnic minorities, and civil unrest, create a “ready-made” population of vulnerable individuals who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in desperate circumstances, and will do almost anything to assure a better life for themselves and their children.
Human traffickers exploit dreams of a better life, and turn the human misery they cause into profit. Human trafficking is nothing short of slavery.
Many fine organizations work to help these people before the traffickers get to them, but these organizations battle limited funding, the corruption of various governments, and human greed, so criminals find trafficking very profitable indeed: a human being, once captured and “groomed” into the learned helplessness common to all victims of undue influence, can be sold and re-sold, used and re-used, endlessly. Even in the so-called “developed” world, traffickers sell human lives with little interference or recognition from law enforcement.
Interspersed with touching personal interviews with survivors of this form of coercive control, this introduction to human trafficking features a practical and clear statement of the United Nations’ definition of terms, with a specific and thought-provoking sidebar on how trafficking intersects with – and is yet essentially different from – the adjacent field of immigrant smuggling: while smuggling is temporary (the transaction ends when the destination is reached), and consensual, (even though the conditions are usually harsh), and for a one-off fee; trafficking is an ongoing process of exploitation which may or may not involve the crossing of national boundaries, without real consent, and any “fee” the trafficked individual paid is just the beginning of the financial involvement, and often a way to keep control through a heavy “debt”.
Whether the individual is controlled through debt or fear of violence to their family, whether it is a child forced to untangle fishing nets while risking drowning, or a young woman promised a modeling career only to find herself enslaved in a brothel, trafficking is one of the worst forms of undue influence, where predators take advantage of their victims’ dreams – while turning their lives into a nightmare. This poignant and thought-provoking introduction to human trafficking should be watched by everyone who cares about global justice.
We can help by explaining the nature of human predators and their techniques of recruitment and seduction, so that potential victims are forewarned.
Warning: this video pulls no punches when displaying the true horror of trafficking; there are graphic images of violence which may disturb more impressionable viewers.
What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Do you have a story about trafficking that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!