“Slavery was, in a very real sense, the first international human rights issue to come to the fore. It led to the adoption of the first human rights laws and to the creation of the first human rights non-governmental organization. And yet despite the efforts of the international community to combat this abhorrent practice, it is still widely prevalent in all its insidious forms, old and new”. (Kofi Annan- Former Secretary-General of UN)
Since I have volunteered myself as anti human trafficking activist, I was constantly looking for a solution which can not only strengthen the anti human trafficking efforts made around the world but can create a wave of social change as well. Going through lots of information on the internet and on social media, I found that digital technology is the only way to reach masses affected by human trafficking aka modern slavery each year.
Through my research, I realized that we need a real place where we can find all the information about human traffickers and we can raise the voice to end that brutal issue that has became a No. 1 crime around the globe.
Anti human trafficking policy measures have evolved internationally since 100 years ago. Since 1904, the international community has been working to assemble the pieces of the human trafficking puzzle. While governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations have recognized the importance of collaboration and have established some co-ordination mechanisms and practices, they haven’t been able to overcome challenges.
Despite great improvements to international governmental and non-governmental efforts, they are not always reaching the people who need help, who are mostly deprived poor people.
There are still millions who don’t even know what the indication signs of human trafficking are, what the forms of human trafficking are, and how much their region is affected by the problem. They don’t even know which global organizations are running anti human trafficking campaigns.
How Internet and Social Media Can Help in Anti Human Trafficking Programs:
The world has seen the greatest technological revolution of all time in the past 20 years. It started with the introduction of artificial intelligence followed by the rise of internet, which has worked wonders for the global information transfer regime. And then there came the era of emotional intelligence when social networks became a vital part of the lives of most human beings in civilized nations.
There are now more than 800 million people from around the world who are using social networks to interact with each other. What is personally most inspiring to me is the relative absence of racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination in this great melting pot of a universal nation that is the online world.
Imagine how powerful it would be for the anti human trafficking cause if this enormous body of people could be inspired to unite together and lend their support! Already, thousands of anti human trafficking experts use social networks, and they would add their strength to our efforts to educate the larger body of people!
Concluding Anti Human Trafficking Issue in Personal Assumptions:
If we harness the rapidly growing power of digital technology, our anti human trafficking programs will have a greatly increased hope of shaping a better world for the next generation. We have the opportunity to save victims from the merciless brutality of the oppressive modern slaver. We must first find the optimum digital platform to use for the launch of our anti human trafficking campaign, where we are able to provide information on a wide scale about known human traffickers, affected regions, and organizations that will help human trafficking victims.
The most current examples that we see are CNN Freedom Project, Not For Sale Campaign, International Justice Mission, The BBC World Service Trust, Action Aid and Aide et Action. These have been granted by Internet and Social Media Giant Google Inc., which will work in coalition to facilitate governments to stop slave labor by identifying ring masters, documenting abuse, and freeing individuals. They will be providing refuge to victims with recovery programs and job training to empower them for their new lives.
Google Inc. also showed trust in Anti Human Trafficking tool portals like powerful Slavery Footprint Calculator and Polaris Project’s National Trafficking hotline. FreedomNow is also formed for the same purpose, but it’s pretty unique as it is providing a mix of general education, resources to empower victims everywhere, and an extensive database of known traffickers and their agents around the world.
These examples show us that together we can make a difference by building a safer, freer, and more prosperous world for all. Let’s start a digital revolution for anti human trafficking now!
Overview of Human Trafficking Courtesy Wiki pages:
Human trafficking is the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others; or for the extraction of organs or tissues, includingsurrogacy and ova removal; or for providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage. Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation. Human trafficking is the trade in people, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
Human trafficking represents an estimated $31.6 billion of international trade per annum in 2010. Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest-growing activities of transnational criminal organizations.
Although it can occur at local levels, human trafficking has transnational implications, as recognized by the United Nations in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children(also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol), an international agreement under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) which entered into force on 25 December 2003. The protocol is one of three which supplement the CTOC. The Trafficking Protocol is the first global, legally binding instrument on trafficking in over half a century, and the only one with an agreed-upon definition of trafficking in persons. One of its purposes is to facilitate international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting such trafficking. Another is to protect and assist human trafficking’s victims with full respect for their rights as established in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights. The Trafficking Protocol, which now has 159 parties, defines human trafficking as:
(a) […] the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;
(b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used;
(c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article;
(d) “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.
In 2005, Patrick Belser of ILO estimated a global annual profit of $31.6 billion. In 2008, the United Nations estimated nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked into 137 countries around the world.
Usage of the term
Human trafficking differs from people smuggling, which involves a person voluntarily requesting or hiring another individual to covertly transport them across an international border, usually because the smuggled person would be denied entry into a country by legal channels. Though illegal, there may be no deception or coercion involved. After entry into the country and arrival at their ultimate destination, the smuggled person is usually free to find their own way.
According to the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), people smuggling is a crime against the State due to the violation of national immigration laws, and does not require violations of the rights of the smuggled person. Human trafficking, on the other hand, is a crime against a person because of the violation of the victim’s rights through coercion and exploitation.
While smuggling requires travel, trafficking does not. Much of the confusion rests with the term itself, as the word “trafficking” evokes the idea of transport or travel. However, unlike most cases of people smuggling, victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination. They are held against their will through acts of coercion, and forced to work for or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work or services may include anything from bonded or forced labor to commercial sexual exploitation. The arrangement may be structured as a work contract, but with no or low payment, or on terms which are highly exploitative. Sometimes the arrangement is structured as debt bondage, with the victim not being permitted or able to pay off the debt.
Bonded labor, or debt bondage, is probably the least known form of labor trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Victims become “bonded” when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined or in which the value of the victims’ services is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt. Generally, the value of their work is greater than the original sum of money “borrowed.”
Forced labor is a situation in which victims are forced to work against their own will under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment; their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted. Men are at risk of being trafficked for unskilled work, which globally generates 31 billion USD according to the International Labor Organization. Forms of forced labor can include domestic servitude, agricultural labor, sweatshop factory labor, janitorial, food service and other service industry labor, and begging. Some of the products produced by forced labor are: clothing, cocoa, bricks, coffee, cotton, and gold, among others.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the single largest global provider of services to victims of trafficking, reports receiving an increasing number of cases in which victims of trafficked were subjected to forced labour. A 2012 study observes that “…2010 was particularly notable as the first year in which IOM assisted more victims of labour trafficking than those who had been trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation.”
Child labour is a form of work that is likely to be hazardous to the physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development of children and can interfere with their education. According to the International Labor Organization, the global number of children involved in child labour has fallen down during the past decade – it has declined by one third, from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million children in 2012. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest incidence of child labour, while the largest numbers of child-workers are found in Asia and the Pacific.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has further assisted many non-governmental organizations in their fight against human trafficking. The 2006 armed conflict in Lebanon, which saw 300,000 domestic workers from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and the Philippinesjobless and targets of traffickers, led to an emergency information campaign with NGO Caritas Migrant to raise human-trafficking awareness. Additionally, an April 2006 report, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns, helped to identify 127 countries of origin, 98 transit countries and 137 destination countries for human trafficking. To date, it is the second most frequently downloaded UNODC report. Continuing into 2007, UNODC supported initiatives like the Community Vigilance project along the border between India and Nepal, as well as provided subsidy for NGO trafficking prevention campaigns in Bosnia, Croatia, and Herzegovina. Public service announcements have also proved useful for organizations combating human trafficking. In addition to many other endeavors, UNODC works to broadcast these announcements on local television and radio stations across the world. By providing regular access to information regarding human-trafficking, individuals are educated how to protect themselves and their families from being exploited.
The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was conceived to promote the global fight on human trafficking, on the basis of international agreements reached at the UN. UN.GIFT was launched in March 2007 by UNODC with a grant made on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. It is managed in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Within UN.GIFT, UNODC launched a research exercise to gather primary data on national responses to trafficking in persons worldwide. This exercise resulted in the publication of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons in February 2009. The report gathers official information for 155 countries and territories in the areas of legal and institutional framework, criminal justice response and victim assistance services. UN.GIFT works with all stakeholders — governments, business, academia, civil society and the media — to support each other’s work, create new partnerships, and develop effective tools to fight human trafficking.
The Global Initiative is based on a simple principle: human trafficking is a crime of such magnitude and atrocity that it cannot be dealt with successfully by any government alone. This global problem requires a global, multi-stakeholder strategy that builds on national efforts throughout the world. To pave the way for this strategy, stakeholders must coordinate efforts already underway, increase knowledge and awareness, provide technical assistance, promote effective rights-based responses, build capacity of state and non-state stakeholders, foster partnerships for joint action, and above all, ensure that everybody takes responsibility for this fight. By encouraging and facilitating cooperation and coordination, UN.GIFT aims to create synergies among the anti-trafficking activities of UN agencies, international organizations and other stakeholders to develop the most efficient and cost-effective tools and good practices.
UN.GIFT aims to mobilize state and non-state actors to eradicate human trafficking by reducing both the vulnerability of potential victims and the demand for exploitation in all its forms, ensuring adequate protection and support to those who fall victim, and supporting the efficient prosecution of the criminals involved, while respecting the fundamental human rights of all persons. In carrying out its mission, UN.GIFT will increase the knowledge and awareness on human trafficking, promote effective rights-based responses, build capacity of state and non-state actors, and foster partnerships for joint action against human trafficking. For more information view the UN.GIFT Progress Report 2009.
Further UNODC efforts to motivate action launched the Blue Heart Campaign Against Human Trafficking on March 6, 2009, which Mexico launched its own national version of in April 2010. The campaign encourages people to show solidarity with human trafficking victims by wearing the blue heart, similar to how wearing the red ribbon promotes transnational HIV/AIDS awareness. On November 4, 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons to provide humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of human trafficking with the aim of increasing the number of those rescued and supported, and broadening the extent of assistance they receive.
In December 2012, UNODC published the new edition of the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2012 has revealed that 27 per cent of all victims of human trafficking officially detected globally between 2007 and 2010 are children, up 7 per cent from the period 2003 to 2006.
The Global Report recorded victims of 136 different nationalities detected in 118 countries between 2007 and 2010, during which period, 460 different flows were identified. Around half of all trafficking took place within the same region with 27 per cent occurring within national borders. One exception is the Middle East, where most detected victims are East and South Asians. Trafficking victims from East Asia have been detected in more than 60 countries, making them the most geographically dispersed group around the world. There are significant regional differences in the detected forms of exploitation. Countries in Africa and in Asia generally intercept more cases of trafficking for forced labour, while sexual exploitation is somewhat more frequently found in Europe and in the Americas. Additionally, trafficking for organ removal was detected in 16 countries around the world.The Report raises concerns about low conviction rates – 16 per cent of reporting countries did not record a single conviction for trafficking in persons between 2007 and 2010. As of May 2014, 159 countries have ratified the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol, of which UNODC is the guardian. Significant progress has been made in terms of legislation: as of 2012, 83 per cent of countries had a law criminalizing trafficking in persons in accordance with the Protocol.
Current international treaties (general)
- Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, entered into force in 1957
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children
- Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air
- Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
- ILO Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29)
- ILO Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105)
- ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)
- ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182)
Human Trafficking in the United States
In 2002, Derek Ellerman and Katherine Chon founded a non-government organization called Polaris Project to combat human trafficking. In 2007, Polaris instituted the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) where callers can report tips and receive information on human trafficking. Polaris’ website and hotline informs the public about where cases of suspected human trafficking have occurred within the United States. The website records calls on a map.
In 2007 the U.S. Senate designated January 11 as a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness in an effort to raise consciousness about this global, national and local issue. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, President Barack Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.