Sadly, around the world, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of people being abducted and exploited at the hands of a relative, a neighbor, or a stranger. They are often kept away from schools and hospitals, forced to do chores, and often left destitute when they need support and care the most. All regions are affected, and all countries can be a destination or source for traffickers. 

Human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor is the third largest crime industry in the world just behind drugs and arms trafficking. Almost a third of human trafficking victims are thought to be children. And even more horrifying is that it can happen in developed countries as well as underdeveloped countries. Human trafficking sees no boundaries and affects all groups of people regardless of their gender, age and ethnicity. It will take a global effort to end human trafficking.

How is it uncovered? 

Trafficking is commonly understood as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receiving of a person by such means as force or threat. Other forms of recruitment can come through coercion, abduction, fraud, and deception for the purpose of exploitation. Though it is not always easy to recognize. Many social service providers have come across clients who have experienced some form of trafficking. Though not all people are comfortable relaying this information with practitioners

Although a large number of detected trafficking victims are women, roughly sixty percent based on statistics, research is now suggesting that male children and men are represented among victims in much higher numbers than previously thought. The latest figures reveal that a growing number of cases happen at a domestic or regional level through traffickers that are from the same place, speak the same language or have the same ethnic background as their victims. 

Backgrounds of victims

There is a wide range of factors leading to trafficking and can include but are not limited to poverty, globalization, corruption, poor law enforcement, and the weak rule of law. It is important to keep in mind that victims and survivors of human trafficking also have diverse socio-economic backgrounds, varied levels of education, and are often undocumented rather than documented citizens. Many of them are deceived either through the prospect of a job or marriage before getting trapped and powerless. 

Law enforcement and administration bodies are essential when dealing with the identification and protection of victims. However, they are far from alone in fighting the human trafficking problem. Social services providers are part of the solution in support of victims and in moves to eradicate this barbaric crime. 

End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes play an active role in the fight against the trafficking of children for forced labor and sexual purposes on the frontline and behind the scenes. They provide helplines and direct support to victims and conduct research, advocacy, and policy monitoring. A number of the workers for this service have acted to prevent children from being trafficked. 

Support and Care

In many ways, the needs for the social care of trafficking victims don’t massively differentiate from those of other clients seeking help from caring professionals. A range of support can be provided like counseling and reintegration back into caring communities. Counseling can help the victim cope with traumatic experiences and can focus on the push factors that may have put people at risk in the first place. 

Serious cases, those involving children, require special care and support. Some members employ specialist child protection staff with experience in social work backgrounds to educate young people on the risks to consider when migrating for work, the laws to protect them, and how they can access the support they need. Despite making headway in protecting children from trafficking and exploitation, the practice cannot abolish the practice. It will require worldwide action to collectively and permanently put this crime to an end. 

The worst human trafficking offenders

Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and is one of the fastest-growing illicit industries in the world. Each year, the UN helps to raise awareness about the problem. The US state department annually investigates more than 100 countries for their trafficking in-person report. In 2017, 23 countries were classified as countries that do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards. Here are 5 of the worst offenders: 

Russia

The US has approved sanctions against Russian banks and oil companies also targets North Korean labor in Russia and elsewhere. According to the report, Russia recently expanded bilateral agreements with North Korea that allow for labor camps and ‘slave-like’ conditions for workers with Russian borders. Statistics show that around 20,000 workers from North Korea are sent to Russia each year. 

China

Chinese officials responded to China’s downgrade from Tier 2 to Tier 3 as ‘irresponsible’. The report mainly focuses on the state laws against human trafficking and ongoing state-sponsored forced labor. This was in spite of formal announcements that the practice was to be stopped. It has been suggested that demographic challenges created through the country’s one-child policy have led Chinese men to find wives through trafficking. 

Iran 

Iran’s government continued to punish victims for unlawful acts committed as a result of being subjected to human trafficking. This included adultery, prostitution, and illegal immigration some of which were punished by death. 

Belarus

Forced and compulsory labor is used as punishment in Belarus. This includes crimes involving government criticism and the failure of unemployed people to pay a fine. The Belarus government has yet to draft a state program on combatting human trafficking. 

Venezuela

Sex trafficking and child sex tourism are incredibly common in Venezuela. Women are often lured from poorer regions to tourist hubs. Officials have reported an increase in sex trafficking from the mining sector. 

Human Trafficking

This truly awful crime is still perpetrated today and in order to be stopped requires charity and organization from governments and social services. It is recognized by the UN every year, but it is not enough. There is still a huge amount of ground to be broken but hopefully, there will be an improvement in the future. 

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