Hidden Nuggets Series #71 – “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9
Each year I download a free calendar template from Microsoft to schedule my blog posts. I’ve found it really helps me plan ahead and keeps me focused on finishing my content. Nothing says “Get er done!” like an open publish date on a calendar for which you have not yet written a post.
The template comes coded with special dates highlighted each month. There are the obvious ones like all your major holidays. But they also include “awareness days” like International Woman’s Day (Mar. 8th), International Picnic Day (Jun. 18th), International Left-Handers Day (Aug. 13th) and World Vegetarian Day (Oct. 1st). Curious how nobody cares about men like me who like to eat steak with our right hand at the dining room table.
Those are fun awareness days to be sure but one day stood out to me as taking on a more serious tone. January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Human Trafficking: A Global Problem
I don’t want to come off in this post as someone who routinely has championed for the victims of human trafficking. I’ve never taken up the cause even though I’ve been generally aware that it’s an issue that impacts certain parts of the world more than others. But that little tickler posted on Jan. 11th in my calendar template got me looking into the issue a bit. I can’t help but tell you I was surprised at the depth of the problem.
According to this graphic published by the Huffington Post last January, human trafficking is a big business/crime accounting for an estimated $32 billion in profits globally in 2013. An estimated five and half million children are forcibly moved around the world, suffering violence, exploitation and abuse. They are used as forced labor, as beggars, in farms and subjected to sweatshop conditions of work. More notably, many are pushed into prostitution, pornography and the sex tourism trade.
You can see the breakdown across the regions of the world. It’s probably no surprise at the locations this is happening the most. However, do not discount what is happening in developed countries. Begin to multiple the numbers (1.5 x 1,000 inhabitants) and you can quickly see there are many victims even in the U.S. and Europe.
Countries around the world are divided into tiers based on their compliance with the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (and the subsequent extensions of the law.) Here is a summary of what those tiers mean:
Tier 1: Countries whose governments fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
Tier 2: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Tier 2: Watch List
Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and for which:
a) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecution, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials; or
c) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.
Tier 3: Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
And despite efforts to crackdown on this issue, it still appears convictions are on the lighter side. Given the scope of what’s happening one would anticipate more people being brought to justice over this crime.
What to Do Now?
Because of an oddity on my calendar template I was intrigued to search for this information. I’m glad I did. It’s made me a more informed person. So thank you WinCalendar for placing that in my view.
Honestly though, I really don’t know what to do with the information I’ve learned. I’m amazed at how much is being made by criminals by the illegal trafficking of human beings. I never would have guessed it would be that much. To me it seems the lowest of lows to take advantage of the helpless and exploit them for profit by using their body. Seems like it proves people will do anything for money.
This felt like the logical first step to spread the word to others who might not be aware of how significant a problem this is. I may never been in a position to help a person trapped in this predicament but maybe someone reading this will.
If there are any unfortunate…any who are afflicted and needy…any who need a mouth to share their story, it would be these.
If you’d like to learn about this issue in more detail, click here to be taken to the Trafficking in Persons Report, 2014 issued this past June by the U.S. government.
Did you know this was such an issue? How can we help when so much of this is accomplished underground? What organizations do you know of that are helping combat this problem?
Prior Post: Would You Use Cheap Toilet Paper For a Penny?