WHAT IS MODERN DAY SLAVERY
Slavery, the barbaric practice of holding people against their will and forcing them to work for little or no money, is an ancient epidemic that is still a problem today. Many people are shocked to learn that, despite a rise in awareness, slavery is worse today than at any other point in history, and it is still on the rise. Even more shocking is that modern slavery is not just practiced in developing or war-torn countries; slaves are found in major cities and towns in the developed world as well, including America.
While there are many reasons people are enslaved today, most commonly the reasons are economic. Globalization has flung wide the doors of economic opportunity, but at a great cost to the millions of impoverished people around the globe in developing countries. While the slavery has been officially banned by many countries, modern slavery continues unofficially beneath other monikers such as child soldiers, debt bondage, and forced marriage. To make matters worse, many expressions of modern slavery use legal processes as a ruse for bondage, such as adoption and legal prostitution. Modern slave traders find ways to exploit a vulnerable people group.
It is important to understand that slavery stems from a variety of other injustices that, taken together, leave multitudes vulnerable to slavery. Poverty, war, and natural disasters all contribute to a conditions that leave literally millions of people susceptible to being enslaved. It takes very little for someone in these situations to find themselves suddenly abducted and bound to a life of slavery, even though they are aware of the dangers. Once enslaved, there is little hope of escape, even in America. Captors are usually extremely powerful, thoroughly intimidating, and capable of brainwashing their captives into a state of “willed” submission, often by frequent beatings and rapes. Crime networks easily cross international borders and bribe local police forces to form an inescapable and nearly invisible operation. While it is difficult to accurately pinpoint the number of people enslaved to day, experts believe that the number is greater than any other time in human history, and likely exceeds 30 million people.
WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is the industry that generates commerce by transporting actual people. While this practice does have legal expressions, mostly it is a term used by advocacy groups to describe the nefarious practice of abduction and bondage that goes hand in hand with Modern-day Slavery. There are tens of billions of dollars generated each year by the illegal transport and sale of human beings, making it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. And since this industry thrives by exploiting impoverished people, and is exacerbated by the growing appetite worldwide for human slaves under a variety of names, this problem is fundamentally understood as an economic problem.
While the point of origin of slaves is as diverse as the cities of the world, the grisly practice of abduction is generally uniform. Trafficking victims are usually persons displaced (like refugees), run aways, or the most impoverished people in a region. In some places, the captors are large crime rings, but, more typically, trafficking is conducted by small, specialized venders. Prisoners are lured into slavery with false promises of a better life—be it fame as an actor, or economic opportunities abroad—only to be trafficked to another city or even another country. Captors immediately confiscate passports and any identification of their victims which renders them powerless to escape the country of their final destination. In addition, being trafficked to a foreign country creates a language barrier that helps to discourage escape.
What is important to grasp is that while some countries are better known as destinations, and others are merely transit countries, nearly every country in the earth participates in Human Trafficking as an abduction point as well as a destination, including the United States and other similarly developed countries. Immigrant labor, adoption, and even legalized prostitution many times create a ruse of legal activity that can hide illegal trafficking. While most countries have developed anti-trafficking laws, poor law enforcement and corrupt police forces offer few obstacles to traffickers. Once abducted, victims find themselves forced into a lifestyle of prostitution, child soldiers, forced labor, or some other form of slavery that is impossible to escape.