I had to write a piece for a girls teen magazine so thought I’d share it with you….
How much does it cost to buy a new summer dress?
How much do you think it would cost to buy the person making the dress?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Surely you can’t buy a person? What may seem ridiculous is actually a sad reality: you can buy a person and they’re not that expensive.
Buying and selling people – know as human trafficking – is the fastest growing global trade. Every year hundreds of thousands (some say millions) of people are up for sale, on the market, available to the highest bidder. And like a summer dress, when it’s been worn or the owner becomes bored, it is sold to someone else and replacement.
Human trafficking is to be taken, tricked or forced into leaving your home and being exploited and treated like a slave in places like a factory, someone’s house or the sex industry. You can be trafficked to another country or just another part of your own city.
Every single day when you’re at school, 420 people will be trafficked internationally.
I am from a small Indian village. My parents didn’t have enough money to pay for both me and my brother to go to school, so I stay home. Looking for a way to earn money, I asked an employment agency what a girl with little reading and writing skills could do. A wonderful man said he had the perfect job in the fashion industry! I was so excited; I’ve never had fashionable clothes!
Now I work in a cramped, dusty, sewing factory in a little side street in a Mumbai slum. I work at least 9 – 12 hours a day, have little to eat and the ‘wonderful accommodation’ turned out to be a mattress on the factory floor with 15 others. The air is so thick with chemicals and dust I find it hard to breath. I had to borrow money to get here so have to keep working until it’s paid off, which could be forever.
Taken from the book STOP THE TRAFFIK. People Shouldn’t be Bought and Sold
This story is not unusual. All over the world people are being transported into lives they didn’t choose. From being trafficked onto a cocoa plantation in Cote D’Ivoire to an older boyfriend in Northampton forcing you to work as a prostitute, from a country far away to your own high street – it’s happening and 80% of victims are girls and women.
Why women and girls?
Countless facts show that women and girls are more likely to be affected by poverty, more likely to be left in conflict zones, more likely to be in refugee camps, more likely to be economically discriminated against, less likely to go to school and less likely to have absolute control over their own lives, bodies and futures. Women are also objectified, much more than men, in pretty much every society.
OBJECTified. Object. Something you can you buy something you can own.
It’s in these conditions that traffickers select their victims and sew their lies. In a culture where women and girls are worth less, seen as objects and have limited workplace skills, a trafficker doesn’t have to promise the world, just something better with more options, like a job selling ice-cream in London (the 15 year old who took that job was sold in Heathrow airport for £4000 and forced into prostitution).
To learn about issues connecting girls and trafficking, as well as finding out how your story can meet Roshni’s, join STOP THE TRAFFIK’s new campaign START FREEDOM.
If we don’t unite globally to combat trafficking, next to the dress stand at your local market you may soon be able to buy a 13 year old dress maker.
Sign up, get on board: you have the power to make a difference, it’s time to use it.