If you want a ‘happy ending’, it depends, of course, on where you stop your story.
This article from the LA Times is a perfect example.
A Thai victim of human trafficking who has just been reunited with his family at LA International Airport after 6 years describes it as the most wonderful moment of his life. He originally left Thailand for the US having been offered agricultural work which would have given him a 25-fold increase in his salary. But, along with 20 other men, he was controlled by guards, had his passport confiscated and was forced to work despite rarely being paid.
A happy ending? Hopefully, yes. But the anti-trafficking assistance programme that is in place to support his rehabilitation and help his young Thai family integrate into American society is in danger of being shut down if it is unable to secure further funding.
Circuses are always a little bit disconcerting, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. It could be the clown with the disingenuous smile. Or the bouncy yet sinister organ music coming from the shadows backstage. Maybe it’s the child performers who were taken from their homes, subjected to physical or sexual abuse and forced to work in slavery.
Police forces in India are investigating links between circus groups and child trafficking, after several such operations came to light. Many are taken from families in Nepal through force, coercion or deception, whereupon they become child slaves in an industry created for the joy and entertainment of children.
A French couple are currently in court accused of willingly selling their daughter as ‘part-exchange’ for a second-hand car. This is the type of story which is so beyond belief it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve blogged before about parents sometimes being complicit in, or even orchestrating, the trafficking of their own children. It’s a heartbreaking phenomenon, but it does happen.
What’s so shocking about this young woman’s story in particular, is the absolutely horrifying abuse she suffered after being sold into domestic slavery. Read the full article if you’re prepared for the details – but suffice to say after 3 years she was dumped outside a Paris hospital close to death, with no teeth, and weighing just 40kg.
Over the last decade, human trafficking in South East Asia in particular has grown exponentially. In the last 2 months, an incredible 1200 victims of trafficking have been identified by police in Vietnam alone. The recent crackdown by Vietnamese authorities is of course hugely welcome, but it does demonstrate the massive amount of work there still is to do. Increasingly, Vietnamese men are using the internet to make contact with young women and girls who are in debt, and exploiting this fact to recruit them into forced prostitution.
Raising awareness among South East Asian communities of the dangers of trafficking and ensuring that young girls remain in education is the key to winning this battle. STOP THE TRAFFIK’s Freedom Ticket For Life campaign is the way that you can join the fight.