People don’t get out of bed to traffik other people. They get out of bed to make money.
And so whilst various factors such as poverty and inequality undoubtedly make an individual more vulnerable to being trafficked, the primary cause of human trafficking is the fact that there are people out there willing to exploit other human beings for profit, and are able to do so with impunity.
How much are we talking?
Human trafficking is an enormously lucrative industry. Transnational organised crime, which includes human trafficking, produces $870 billion annually. Despite its devastating human costs, trafficking persists due to high demand and low risk of prosecution, and until the rewards are lower and the risks are higher, traffickers will continue to exploit people, regardless of other factors.
So what do we need to do?
We need to encourage a global community response that matches and eventually overpowers the international network of traffickers. The more communities that are equipped to recognise and respond to human trafficking, the more difficult it will be for traffickers to operate. One way of achieving this is using the STOP THE TRAFFIK website to report suspected incidences of trafficking and share community intelligence; disrupting traffickers and therefore making the trafficking industry less appealing to those wanting to make money.
Earlier this month, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched a campaign and video to highlight the staggering size and scope of transnational organised crime, and the need for a global response to tackle the buying and selling of people.
How can you use this video to raise awareness of the need to make the rewards lower and the risks higher?
Learn more about TOC at www.unodc.org/toc and human trafficking specifically at http://www.unodc.org/toc/en/crimes/human-trafficking.html.