Human Trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Victims are young children, teenagers, men and women. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing. The FBI projects that the slave trade generates $9.5 billion in revenue each year. The concept of human trafficking refers to the criminal practice of exploiting human beings by treating them like commodities for profit.
The UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime defines trafficking as: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation, Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or service, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”
There are approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims annually trafficked across international borders worldwide, and around 150,000 of these victims are trafficked within and around the borders of South Asia.
In India, there is a definite connection between the issue of trafficking and the “girl child”. Girls are often seen as a burden, so finding out the sex of your baby is illegal as a preventative measure to protecting the girl babies from abortion. Therefore, girls are at higher risk of being sold upon birth if they are unwanted by their mother. With 100 million slum dwellers in India and education amongst them at a minimum, the need for money is high, which only contributes to the motivation of selling your child. 40% of the children trafficked in India are from within the country, 60% from abroad (Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia, etc).
Traffickers are most often family members, people that pretend to be relatives, or friends. In one study of 929 victims in 12 states in India, traffickers were strangers in only 11.1% of the cases, and 75% of respondents stated that they were tricked by the promise of lucrative jobs. (Sankar Sen, Trafficking in Women and Children in India).
The South Asia Centre for Missing and Exploited Persons (SACMEP) was created in response to the heinous crime of human trafficking. The concept of the program is to trace missing persons before they are sold, by relaying accurate information between the centres and the networks faster than the transportation by the trafficker and also ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted. Currently located in Mumbai and Bangalore, they run three programs to not only rescue victims of trafficking but also to prevent instances. By following missing persons reports, they are able to intersect the children before they are sold into slavery.
Support is needed. Prayer, professional volunteers, financial support, counseling, and mentors are some examples of ways to get involved. To learn more, please visit http://www.oasisindia.org.