According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking can be described as “modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act”. Globally, it’s estimated that there are 40.3 million victims of the crime, which contribute to the $150 billion industry.
Human trafficking affects our citizens and our communities. In light of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month this past January, we felt it was appropriate to explore the terrible effects this industry presents, and provide information on how victims can find the help they need.
Human Trafficking: A Threat to the Community
Human trafficking affects both the community that people are taken from, and the community that they are brought to. Frequently, victims of human trafficking are intentionally isolated by their captors to ensure their inability to reach out for help. When individuals are removed from their homes, their communities, and sometimes even their countries, they’re often unable to engage socially due to language barriers, lack of cultural understanding, and/or geographic location. The communities losing these people are equally affected, left with a painful reminder of a devastating event.
Human Trafficking: A Threat to the Economy
Due to an increasingly competitive global market, cheap labor has become a prized commodity and has helped the human trafficking industry become increasingly profitable. When markets become reliant on an inexpensive workforce, the demand for cheap goods rises, drives up the market for modern-day slaves, and keeps the industry alive and thriving.
Human Trafficking: A Threat to Health
Lastly, and perhaps most heartbreakingly, human trafficking is devastating to its victims’ physical, emotional, and mental health. Captors use both physical and psychological violence to ensure obedience and to prevent individuals from speaking out or attempting to escape. This atrocious treatment can lead to chronic and long-lasting trauma, which is incredibly difficult to overcome.
Organizations all over the world are working diligently to eradicate this deplorable practice, and the ICE Foundation is proud to be contributing as well. The Granting Courage Initiative helps men and women who have suffered at the hands of human traffickers to survive and thrive. If you know someone who could benefit from the scholarship, get in touch to help start the healing process.