I often wonder what it is about women that makes them so vulnerable to trafficking. Surely it can’t be their ‘weaker disposition’; it must be something fundamental in the societies girls and women are brought up in making them more attractive to traffickers.
I was reading through the STOP THE TRAFFIK book, and it pinpointed what I was thinking. Many women across the world face prejudice, they have very few rights and even less control over their own lives. Women are often treated very differently to their male equivalents, they are excluded from education and later, employment. I think it’s really important to understand how lack of education creates the kind of conditions trafficking can develop in. We have to keep reminding ourselves of these links, and look to changing deep rooted global issues in order to combat trafficking.
It is often easy to forget the massive gender gaps that exist all around the world, so it is shocking to find out that 70% of the world’s poor are female according to UN and that 2 out of 3 illiterate adults are women. (UNESCO, 2005)
Education to a secondary level would decrease the vulnerability of women to false promises by traffickers. It is possible that with a higher level of education girls will be presented with a larger variety of options than they would otherwise, making them less likely to listen to traffickers. A lack of education leads to unemployment or unpaid work, making the (fake) prospect of paid work abroad often sound a lot more appealing.
Inequality in education is not the only reason women are vulnerable to trafficking, but it does go hand in hand with many of the human rights issues women face around the world. An increase in girl’s education will be more fruitful if it is linked to job opportunities and more equality in other areas of society. We must continue to fight human trafficking as a part of a wider human rights struggle. Campaigning against human trafficking is linked to campaigning for girls’ and women’s right to education.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is really interested in the connection between education and human trafficking and has a whole project dedicated to this relationship. Start Freedom is a global campaign designed to educate and empower young people on the issues surrounding trafficking. The more young people know, the more we can uncover the lies that so many traffickers use. Through knowledge and education we can combat trafficking around the world. Definitely get involved at http://ww