Conservative estimates suggest that at least 800 million or 10% of the global population are being coerced at any given time. The monetary cost is hundreds of billions of dollars, which includes:
- paying for healthcare for physical and mental injury and legal costs in the support of victims,
- law enforcement time investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of coercion,
- tax evasion and tax-breaks for manipulative groups and people under the guise of religious freedom,
- lost taxes through unpaid wages not paid to those who are forced to labor
defense of one’s national borders,
- illicit profits of organizations exploiting individuals, for example through forced labor and trafficking.
Ultimately, society absorbs the financial and emotional costs of coerced victims dealing with aftereffects of mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and the unnecessary injury or loss of life. Despite these high costs, current activism is issue-specific, as groups campaign for prevention of specific applications, such as domestic violence or counterterrorism.
The concept of coercion and undue influence remains largely unpublicized and significantly misunderstood. This must change to ensure effective prevention of
coercion, and trigger a domino effect to diminish its societal impacts.
Who is likely to become a victim?
We are all susceptible to coercion, and there is no specific “type” of person who is more likely to be drawn into a manipulative situation. Some victims are born into it, for example into a family with an abusive parent or relative, or a manipulative group, with high control religious or political beliefs and biases. The majority of victims, however, will be affected by a manipulator who creates a new belief system, which changes the way the victim perceives the world and the ways in which people think and behave.