The Fight for Freedom: Most Common Types of Human TraffickingThe prevalence of human trafficking is a present-day example of the existence of slavery. This global human rights issue is a billion-dollar crime industry, affecting millions of individuals in almost every nation in the world. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is defined as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion… for the purpose of exploitation.”

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of exploitation that has three elements: the act, the means and the purpose. The act refers to the transfer or recruitment of persons. The means is how trafficking is done, which includes the threat, force or deception used to control victims. The purpose of exploitation includes sex, labor, slavery or the removal of organs. According to the Human Rights Commission, the most common types of human trafficking are sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage.

Common Types of Human Trafficking

Sex trafficking refers to the forced participation of commercial sex acts; women and children are the most vulnerable to this type of human trafficking. This type of trafficking forms a significant portion of the transnational present-day slavery. The commercial sex trade exploits one million children a year. Women and young girls make up 80 percent of the trafficked victims.

Forced labor, or involuntary servitude, is where individuals provide labor through coercion, force or fraudulent means. According to the 2017 Estimates of Modern Slavery, there are 24.9 million victims of forced labor. Millions of enslaved individuals worldwide produce goods in various supply chains under violence and threat. These include the agricultural, mineral, construction and textile industries.

Debt bondage is also one of the most common types of human trafficking in which a person forcibly works in order to pay a debt. Migrant laborers are particularly vulnerable to this form of trafficking, as many regions have systematic schemes designed to exploit workers. Debt bondage involves a debt that cannot be paid off within a reasonable time frame. Also known as debt slavery, the period of debt strips the victim of basic freedom. A cycle of debt is then created and maintained through the abuse of contracts, increasing debt interest, increasing living expenses and higher labor expectations.

Response to the Most Common Types of Human Trafficking

Despite the large number of individuals that have fallen victim to human trafficking, there are many organizations that dedicate their efforts to address human trafficking issues. UNODC has established a comprehensive approach to tackle human trafficking. The strategy can be best viewed as three interdependent components which include: raising awareness, capacity building and maintaining strong partnerships.

Additionally, Polaris is a leading organization committed to the worldwide battle to end modern slavery. The organization’s model places an emphasis on the victims of human trafficking. Polaris provides assistance in the restoration of the victim’s freedom, helping survivors reintegrate back into society.

In other parts of the world, nonprofits continue to investigate core issues, such as the conditions that increase the vulnerability to human trafficking. The Freedom Project is an Australian movement that seeks to empower communities and focus on the prevention of human trafficking.

In response to these alarming human trafficking statistics, global movements dedicated to the eradication of modern slavery are leading the way to freedom.

– Dane de Leon

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights Issues in the Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands, like every country, has human rights issues that plague the nation. According to a 2015 Human Rights Report, the country’s human rights issues include the conditions of its prisons, domestic violence and corruption within the government. Along with these, the Marshall Islands struggles with the protection of worker’s rights, child abuse and trafficking.

The conditions in the Marshall Islands prison facility in Majuro were not up to code in 2015. In the older wing of the prison, the area was much darker and cleanliness was low compared to the newer wing. There were no fights or deaths, however, and no inmates complained of mistreatment.

The Marshall Islands government has yet to find a way to deal with the effects of 67 nuclear weapons tests that were conducted by the United States from 1947 to 1958. 14,000 Marshallese had to relocate and have struggled to keep their health in check long-term because of this. The survivors of this testing have since spoken up and the Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded them $2 billion. This amount was not paid out in full, however, due to lack of funds.

In 2012, the U.N. discovered that more than 60 years later, a long-term solution has yet to be found for the people displaced by the testing. Calin Geogescu, a United Nations Special Reporter, believes that solutions need to be specific to the needs of each individual atoll affected.

Refugee status is still not accessible for the Marshallese. As the effects of climate change cause sea levels to rise higher each year, there is a good chance that their homeland will be gone soon. The Marshall Islands’ laws do not have a system in place to protect its citizens who seek asylum or refugee status. If the islands and atolls fall completely victim to climate change, the Marshallese will have nowhere else to go because their refugee status does not exist.

Sex trafficking and domestic violence are also major issues in the Marshall Islands. The U.N. Population Fund study found that “seven out of 10 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.” The victims of domestic violence are often discouraged from seeking justice because of cultural restraints. “91 percent of women who experienced domestic violence at the hands of their partner or spouse did not report it due to fear of repercussion or belief that the abuse was justified.”

The NGO Women United Together in the Marshall Islands and a 2011 Domestic Violence Protection and Prevention Act are both attempts at preventing this injustice. The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been focused on keeping the children of the Marshall Islands away from violence and trafficking as well. They primarily give their attention to “the right of children to survival; to develop to their fullest potential; to protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation; and to participate in family, cultural and social life.”

These are just a few of the many human rights issues in the Marshall Islands. Improvements are sporadically occurring, but consistency is where these solutions are lacking. A continued focus on what the Marshall Islands has already implemented will help resolve these human rights issues.

Mackenzie Fielder

Photo: Flickr

2017's Worst Countries for Human Trafficking
In June 2017, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report indicating the worst countries for human trafficking. The Department ranks countries on a three-tier scale.

Tier 1 governments are those which acknowledge the trafficking problem and are making efforts to curb it. Contrarily, Tier 3 countries rank among the worst countries for human trafficking; they make little or no effort of bringing trafficking issues to justice.


The 10 Worst Countries for Human Trafficking


1. Belarus
Belarusian trafficking victims mostly remain in Belarus or Russia. Criminals smuggle other victims to Poland, Turkey and various countries in Eurasia and the Middle East. Belarusian women seeking foreign employment in the adult entertainment and hotel industries often fall prey to sex traffickers.

A 2006 Belarusian presidential decree condemns mothers and fathers (who have had their parental rights revoked) to compulsory labor; the government retains 70 percent of their wages.

2. Central African Republic (CAR)
Most human trafficking victims in the Central African Republic (CAR) are citizens exploited within the country. Young women in urban centers are at great risk of being entered into the commercial sex trade. Traffickers coerce girls into marriages and force them into domestic servitude, sexual slavery and international sex trafficking.

The International Office of Migration has developed a community awareness campaign for at-risk communities and individuals to improve awareness of human trafficking. This program especially targets internally displaced people (IDPs), returnees and host populations in the Central African Republic (CAR).

3. China
China reemerges on this year’s worst countries for human trafficking list, slipping from Tier 2 to Tier 3 in the 2017 TIP Report. In China, traffickers subject men, women and children to forced labor and the sex trade. Traffickers target individuals with developmental disabilities as well as children whose parents have migrated to the cities and left them with relatives. There are also instances of the abduction of African and Asian men to work under state-sponsored forced labor conditions on fishing vessels.

4. Eritrea
Eritrea is no newcomer to the Tier 3 rating. Many Eritrean young women and girls travel to Gulf States, Israel, Sudan or South Sudan for domestic work but instead find themselves victims of sex trafficking rings. International criminal groups kidnap vulnerable Eritreans living in or near refugee camps, particularly in Sudan.

Members of these crime syndicates then transport their captives to Libya and detain them for ransom. Eritrean military and police officers often abet trafficking crimes along the Sudanese border, thus maintaining Eritrea’s status as one of the worst countries for human trafficking.

5. Iran
Iranian criminal organizations reportedly subject women and children to sex trafficking, not only inside Iran but also in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), Afghanistan, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Europe.

Traffickers target Iranian girls between the ages of 13 and 17 for trade abroad. Captors press the youngest girls into domestic service until their kidnappers deem them old enough for use in child sex trafficking.

6. North Korea
North Korea holds an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 prisoners in camps, many charged with no crime. Without medical care and food, the detainees often die, their bodies incinerated in furnaces and dumped in mass graves.

Government oppression prompts North Koreans to flee the country, making them vulnerable to human trafficking in destination countries. North Korea’s forced labor camps and the death penalty fuel trafficking in neighboring China. Ironically, captured refugees returned to North Korea to experience punitive action – labor camps or death.

7. Russia
Between 5 and 12 million migrants are working in Russia in conditions of slavery, in positions at garment factories, as public transport drivers, and in construction and agriculture. Russian officials facilitate the entry of migrants into the country for exploitation. Other officials receive bribes not to investigate human trafficking crimes. Overall, the government has not undertaken efforts to protect human trafficking victims.

8. Sudan
Sudanese law enforcement agents are often involved in, and profit from, child sex trafficking rings. Sudanese law prohibits the recruitment of children. However, youth remain vulnerable to recruitment and use as combatants by Sudanese non-governmental armed groups and militias.

Darfur is a favored route to Libya, as the porous border and lax security allow traffickers to operate with impunity across the region. Sudanese police and border patrol purportedly facilitate abductions of Eritrean nationals and permit the transport of potential victims across borders without intervention.

9. Syria
The circumstances in Syria have deteriorated throughout the ongoing civil war with sub-state armed groups of varying ideologies exerting control over vast geographic areas of the country’s territory.

In December 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released public guidelines on how to seize, forcibly hold, and sexually abuse female slaves. ISIS soldiers routinely subject women and girls from minority groups to forced marriage, domestic servitude, systematic rape and sexual violence.

ISIS requires Syrian girls to submit to virginity tests before selling them in “slave bazaars” and transferring them to various Syrian provinces and other countries for sexual slavery. Throughout 2016, displaced Syrians continued to utilize smugglers to provide illegal passage to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, putting the Syrians at risk of being trafficked.

10. Venezuela
Among those trafficked out of Venezuela, 55 percent are adults, 26 percent are young girls and 19 percent are young boys. Lured by promises of high paying jobs, they instead are sent to countries in the Caribbean, where traffickers force them into the sex trade or domestic servitude.

Venezuela continuously ranks as one of the worst countries for human trafficking as they do little to prevent or punish trafficking. They have strict laws surrounding it, but the prosecution of the crime is rare. Since 2013, Venezuela has convicted only three people under human trafficking laws.


The Good News


Overall, the 2017 TIP Report listed 23 Tier 3 nations as the worst countries for human trafficking. However, the governments of Haiti, Gambia, Grenadines, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, Burma, Algeria, Malaysia, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Qatar moved up in the rankings. St. Lucia, Saint Vincent, Seychelles, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zambia also deserve recognition for demonstrated improvement.

Perhaps the most encouraging data is that the 2017 report assigned 36 countries, including the United States, to the Tier 1 category. Guyana deserves special praise, as its ranking rose from Tier 2 to Tier 1.

Heather Hopkins

Photo: Flickr

Women's Rights in CambodiaThe Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been one of the world’s most important nongovernmental organizations defending women’s rights since it was adopted by the U.N. General Council in 1979. Since then, it has been ratified by 187 countries and has played a major role in the overall increase of women’s safety and living standards worldwide.

Cambodia ratified the CEDAW in 1992, shortly after the end of its civil war. Despite the good intentions such a ratification signals, women’s rights in Cambodia remained stagnant for many years.

Not until the 2003 National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NPRS) was enacted did the Cambodian CEDAW ratification become anything more than nominal. Among many other goals, the NPRS acknowledged and addressed the gap in education, employment and property rights between men and women. Though many women were helped by the plan, the fact remains that they were simply a small part of a larger overall strategy. There remained much to do.

Though women’s rights in Cambodia were helped by both the NPRS and a 2002 affirmative action policy, which gave priority to women entering tertiary education, it was not until recently that the government began truly following through on its commitment to equal rights for women. The Cambodia National Council for Women (CNCW) and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) were both established in 2001, but it was not until 2005 and 2007, respectively, that either began having any measurable effect.

Some progress has been made. In 2005, 64 percent of people in Cambodia knew a man who had abused his wife. By 2009, the number had shrunk to 53 percent. Infant mortality rates dropped from 65 to 45 per 1000 births between 2005 and 2010, and maternal mortality rates dropped from 472 to 206 per 100,000 births over the same period. From 2008 to 2013, the number of women who received education increased three percent overall, with the most significant improvements being made in the vital rural regions.

Women’s rights in Cambodia have come a long way in a short amount of time, but there is no place now for complacency. Women make up only 15 percent of the Cambodian Senate, a number unchanged since 1999. Parliament is slightly better, with one in five members being women, but this percentage is still frighteningly low.

No Cambodian provinces are governed by women, and sex trafficking, low wages and long hours at menial jobs remain a reality for many women, especially those in rural areas. The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights monitors violations of women’s rights and the work they do alongside the CNCW and the MoWA will continue to shepherd Cambodia into the future. If Cambodians truly wish to become a modern nation, the progress they have made cannot stop until reality reflects the intent of the CEDAW, signed so many years ago.

Connor S. Keowen

Photo: Flickr

Sex Trafficking in PeruAccording to the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, Peru is a source, destination and transit country for men, women and children exposed to forced labor and sex trafficking. Women, children and indigenous populations are particularly vulnerable.

According to the Walk Free Foundation – an organization that fights against human trafficking, otherwise known as modern slavery – Peru has the third-highest rate of cases of forced labor in Latin America, after Mexico and Colombia. It is estimated that 0.6 percent of Peru’s population, or 200,000 people, suffer from some form of forced labor in their lifetimes. 80 percent of these people are subjected to trafficking involving prostitution.

Forced labor in Peru occurs in many service areas such as gold mining, logging, unregistered factories, organized street begging and domestic service. Mafia and terrorist organizations such as Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, recruit children as young as age 11 through social media with the intent to sexually exploit them. Recruiting often manifests through fake employment offers.

Once in the custody of traffickers, victims often are unable to leave due to being held in remote places such as mining camps, the high cost of transportation, the demand for commercial sex and the need to make money. Attempting to escape often results in murder and public body mutilation to act as a warning to other victims.

Online and offline child “sex tourism” is another way victims are trafficked. Americans will pay thousands of dollars to engage in online sex acts with underage girls. In a 2015 arrest of an online child pornography perpetrator, authorities rescued 36 victims, 11 of which were underage and as young as 4. The American police and the Peruvian National Police worked together on this specific arrest. The Protect Act allows U.S. authorities to charge American perpetrators whether the acts occur in the U.S. or abroad.

Human trafficking for the point of sexual exploitation carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison in Peru, but corruption often undermines the judicial system. While the government is not doing nearly enough to reduce the prevalence of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, they are making some efforts and many NGOs are picking up the slack.

The Peruvian government has worked to establish specialized, anti-trafficking regional prosecutor offices in Callao, Cusco, Lima, Loreto, Puno, Tacna and Tumbes. It has also increased anti-trafficking operations and arrests, increased efforts to identify and assist victims and has been investigating and convicting sex tourists. Anti-trafficking commercials and posters in airports are another way the government is working to raise awareness.

NGOs have been the true heros thus far in the fight against sex trafficking in Peru. Along with safe homes for women, organizations such as PROMSEX are making great efforts to aid survivors of sex trafficking. PROMSEX is a sexual and reproductive rights nonprofit that has launched an awareness and mobilizing campaign against trafficking. They work to provide legal, psychological and material services for survivors; this includes treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and mental health counselling. As part of PROMSEX’s campaign, they are also working on improving the legal rights of victims, such as not treating victims of prostitution as criminals. They also educate the public on ways to avoid sex trafficking.

While there is still much progress to be made, NGOs like PROMSEX are pillars of hope for the sex trafficking victims of Peru.

Phoebe Cohen

Photo: Pixabay

Modern "Abolitionists"
Tim Ballard, a former CIA Agent and Homeland Security operant from Utah, spent over a decade working to disrupt child trafficking both domestically and internationally. His passion for this work led him to form a new organization to combat the issue plaguing the world. Ballard formed the nonprofit organization Operation Underground Railroad (OUR).

OUR uses a network of former military officers, medics, nurses, cops and others to directly free children forced into the sex trade. The organization relies heavily on high-level connections for donations and for cooperation with governments and police forces abroad. Though OUR has faced the common criticisms that follow all raid based programs, Ballard and his team defend the mission, emphasizing that these children are in dire, forced circumstances and freeing them is ideal. Also, OUR uses local government and police agencies to make the actual arrests and then sets up the rescued children with some type of assistance, be it financial or through local programs.

The program has played off of the general publicity that comes with raid and rescue type intervention programs and spun it even further. The team itself is something to behold, with physically fit and mentally sharp experts in their field, they are entrancing to watch. Which is why the organization is on the verge of making a deal for a TV show accompaniment. In fact, a large part of donations come from wealthy individuals who in turn for their donations get direct access to view the raids from afar. The entertainment aspect of the program has been substantial for funding, to say the least.

The program has also gained popularity through its marketing as modern “abolitionists” and the website entices potential donors with the tag line “give a Lincoln, save a slave,” which urges donors to give a monthly five dollar membership due. By using terms that play on 1800s slavery emancipation, the organization further highlights the slavery element of the child sex trafficking world, emphasizing that this is a tremendous injustice.

Despite OUR’s success, the organization’s highly Mormon roots, entertainment element and raid styled approach have worried some experts. The strong religious association may cause further cultural resistance in certain areas and in certain groups, which could halt other efforts working to combat sex trafficking. The entertainment element and how the group is giving back to donors in the form of live raid video access brings up ethical questions. While thus far the approach has worked and brought attention to the problem of child sex trafficking, there is the risk of the organization becoming too entertainment-focused and the actual mission being overclouded. With the potential for a television show, the raids become cinematic and less real-life-nitty-gritty, making the very real problem seem far from home and even fictional.

The classic criticisms of raid style intervention programs persist with the OUR abolitionists. Common concerns are that they are doing little to help the child recover and succeed after freedom. Also, the program needs to address the fact that many members of the sex trade are not directly forced into it but arrive there because of a lack of opportunity and desperation. Also of those that are forced, as the program does try to target children, many children develop drug addictions while working that lead them back into the practice.

OUR is new and seems to have a good amount of leverage with high paying donors and political connections that could provide the means to address the problems or concerns now to develop an unstoppable force against sex traffickers. For now, the program is working on developing software that will flag computers containing child pornographic material, particularly belonging to tourists, in areas where the sex trade is prominent, to come at the problem from that angle also. Further strengthening of the current and new programs that help rescued children recover and stay away from the sex trade is essential in for OUR to make a long-term impact. The entertainment aspect of the program is an interesting new approach that seems to have short-term success but does hold some risk down the line. However the program does deserve credit for its efforts and with continued development, could become a major player in foreign assistance. OUR serves as a prime example of how small-scale efforts can transform into larger operations through raising awareness and how non-governmental and non-profit organizations can oftentimes avoid the restrictions that are unavoidable for their counterparts.

Emma Dowd

Sources: Foreign Policy, Maxim, OUR
Photo: The Florida Villager

Pornography is a business globally worth $57 billion, with the United States accounting for over $11 billion. Pornography was first developed as a means to help individuals fulfill their sexual fantasies and serve as a criminal deterrent against violent crimes, but pornography has just made sex more violent. Just as the pornography industry began to flourish, a survey of U.S. college girls showed that 69.8 percent of them had been “verbally coerced” into having “unwanted sex.” And in the United Kingdom in 2006, 33 percent of all women say that they have been forced into sex. Pornography has been further exacerbated through the Internet and the emerging trend to use child victims. Statistics indicate​ that upon the legalization of pornography, emerging growth rates of failed marriages have occurred, as well as an increase in sex-related crimes.

In 2013, child pornography arrests grew by 2,500 percent. It is attributed to the demand and an impoverished supply. Families under economically desperate conditions utilize their children as vessels of income. Pornography pretends to offer economic gain to the vulnerable, many of whom are led by coercion, force or kidnapping. In general there is an issue with the way in which the poor are represented in media. The media’s use of impoverished people objectifies them, as does pornography.

Sex industry recruiters and sexual deviants alike choose from a pool of candidates who have experienced various levels of previous exploitation and remain economically desperate. In countries such as Kenya, children as young as the age of six are sold and used in child pornography. The documentary “ Working Lives” is about child sex tourism and pornography in Kenya’s coastal towns. It discusses how in Kenya, some parents send their children to have sex for foreigners for as little as one dollar.

Due to limited options, some parents choose to knowingly rent their children for pornographic or sex slave purposes. In “The Secret Child Sex Trade Hiding in Kenya’s Tropical Paradise,” viewers are introduced to a six-year-old girl suffering from signs of rape, sodomy and beatings, that occurred on film for pornographic purposes.

In the Philippines, there was a major case involving a made-to-order porn operation, with charges that include murder and torture. An Australian made a global business of using impoverished victims for sexual and violent performances based upon customer request. Here he monopolized on the poverty and was strategic when choosing the cities, local child recruiters and victims. Often, he would utilize the other poor local children to establish connections and lure in street children. The documentary “ Catching a Monster” covers methods of grooming and deviant practices to recruit the needy for pornographic use.

His youngest performer was an 18-month-old girl name Daisi, of whom he created a series of pornographic videos of her sexual abuse. All of the children used in these videos had parents that had been coerced by false promises and the opportunity to provide a better life for their children.

Many people are victims to poverty and more so generational poverty, that has passed down impoverishment from the previous generations. Many of those in vulnerable populations experience exploitation and are forced to become workers in the sex industry. For the extreme poor, many questionable work opportunities arise; pornography is one of them. Ending poverty can help to decrease victimized children in pornography.

– Erika Wright

Sources: Oh My News, Feed the Right Wolf, Huffington Post, The Crime Report,

More than 400 human rights advocates, including actors, directors, fashion designers and many more, signed an open letter to Amnesty International asking the organization to vote against the decriminalization of the sex industry.

The proposed policy that these advocates are referring to backs the legalization of brothels and pimping. The policy asks for the support of all acts of selling sex to be lawful, but for sex buying to remain illegal.

After learning about Amnesty International’s intention, hundreds of noticeable individuals joined an international public campaign. The campaigners urged the organization to re-evaluate their plans and to stand with those who are oppressed in the sex trade.

The letter declares that advocates agree that those who are prostituted must not be outlawed by law enforcement and that the legalization of selling sex contributes to poverty, homelessness, sexual abuse and discrimination.

Many young children who are forced into the sex trade will not earn an education and will likely contract sexually transmitted diseases. Without healthy and educated citizens, a developing area cannot improve economically.

The cycle of poverty continues because poverty contributes to the sex trade. According to Medical News Today, many families in impoverished areas sell their children into the trade. Sometimes, children and young adults will seek out the trade to earn wages for food and shelter.

Former Irish prostitute Mia de Faoite said that the policy proposal advocating these means of earnings is absolutely unacceptable.

“I can find no justification for those crimes, and I believe that no one is able to justify such human wickedness,” de Faoite said.

She also said this policy move contradicts the organization’s ideals for human rights.
“Amnesty would agree with me, I am sure, and would fight alongside me to find justice, if I asked,” de Faoite said. “This is confusing to me, and it makes no sense because, on the other hand, they are prepared to sanction the behavior that led to this crime.”

A petition that petitions a “non-profit industrial complex” by Amnesty International agrees with de Faoite. The petition states that with this new policy, the organization will ultimately be harming those who Amnesty International claims to help.

“With this proposal, Amnesty International is moving away from human rights advocacy,” the petition said.

About 500 members of the international human rights organization will meet in Ireland for Amnesty’s 32nd International Council Meeting, where they are projected to approve the decriminalization of sex work. The vicious cycle of poverty will be promoted by Amnesty International’s proposal if there is not a change similar to the one proposed in the open letter.

The letter was signed by celebrities such as author Hannah Pakula, poet Rose Styron, actress Meryl Streep, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Anna Quindlen, chef Alice Waters and 2008 Amnesty International Human Rights Award-winner, Lydia Cacho. Other celebrity signers include Emily Blunt, Lena Dunham, Anne Hathaway, Lisa Kudrow, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson.

This level of support for the change has helped achieve such a grand presence in human rights that there is now a campaign on for the modification. The letter is still open for more signatures.

To sign the letter and learn more about Amnesty International’s policy, click here.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources:, Look to the Stars, Medical News Today, Independent News Ireland
Photo: Vanity Fair

Thousands living in poverty and inhumane conditions are forced into slavery for their survival. Many of the victims are woman and children who flee countries in search of refuge but, instead, are captured by human traffickers and sold into what is known as modern-day slavery.

Many of those who end up in modern slavery rings are fleeing persecution in their native countries. This is a particularly prominent issue in African countries that neighbor South Africa. South Africa is a desired destination for many Africans who suffer from poverty and corruption in other countries. It is on their travels from other nations to safety that they unfortunately get sucked into the horrors of modern slavery in Africa.

Some children are forced into becoming child soldiers, while some, along with women, are sold into sex trafficking. Others are used to provide cheap or unpaid labor in agricultural work, factories or domestic work. The number of people enslaved are staggering, with approximately 193,000 in Ghana and about 762,900 in the Congo.

It is important that, instead of just ignoring modern slavery like many have been, we know the power we have in ending slavery around the world. Modern day slavery has been uncovered everywhere, even in the United States in the last 15 years. Ignoring the horrific acts just won’t do.

How can we not only show that we do not support this atrocity but also want to work towards its end?

Many enslaved people are those who make the products we use every day. This includes agricultural goods, clothes and other items. Many who use slaves use other terminology in order to hide the atrocities. Many people are enslaved to make clothes and products in factories, working for inhumane hours at a time for either very little or even no pay. There are ways for consumers to research quickly online about where their products come from and how those who make the clothing are treated.

Much of this information is provided by advocacy organizations that have dedicated time and research into finding these victims.

There are many organizations that work to find and free enslaved individuals, while also dismantling groups that enslave them. One international organization is “Free the Slaves.” Free the Slaves is an advocacy group that speaks for those throughout the world who have fallen victim to such atrocities.

For more information about how everyone can make a difference and end modern slavery in Africa, go to

– Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: Free the Slaves 1, Free the Slaves 2, African Holocaust
Photo: Rita Bay’s Blog

Things you didn’t know about the Sex Trafficking Industry
Below are the top five things you didn’t know about the sex trafficking industry.

1. Trafficked children are treated and tried as criminals even though federal law defines anyone under the age of 18 as a victim.

U.S. Federal law states that no one under the age of 18 is able to give consent to any sexual acts. However, children under the age of 18 are tried as prostitutes and criminals every day. There is an inherent flaw in the U.S. judicial system, which seems to allow survivors to be treated as criminals. Most of these children were forced into the industry and have no means of escaping except through the law, but when law enforcement officials are after them as well, it is no wonder that so many children feel trapped.

2. Many children in the trafficking industry do not believe they are victims.

When children are first recruited into the sex industry they are brainwashed. The younger the child the more they are convinced that working in the sex industry is the only job for them. Most survivors believe that they owe their “pimps” something, that there is no life for them outside of the trafficking industry because they have seen so many horrible things. For this reason, many sex trafficking survivors do not immediately seek assistance.

One survivor explained her thought process to the Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), stating that the reason many “victims” dislike the term victim is because they are truly survivors. These men and women have survived horrible conditions and have seen things that no one could ever imagine, yet they persevere and survive through it all.

3. Boys make up 50 percent of the children trafficked in the U.S.

While the typical image of a trafficking victim is a young girl, clueless about the situation and finding herself having to tough it out on the rough streets, this excludes half of the trafficked population. Many young boys are taken and sold as workers or sex workers. These young men are especially susceptible to suicide and drug abuse because society does not accept them. The most dangerous areas for trafficking are New York City, Florida and California.

4. There are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world who are victims of human trafficking.

There are more slaves in the world at this moment than there have ever been at any point in history.

5. Pregnant women are some of the most trafficked individuals.

Surprisingly, many pregnant women are at higher risk to be trafficked. Women who get pregnant while in the trafficking industry will often profit off of the pregnancy. Traffickers sell newborn babies to black market industries and split the profits between the doctors, lawyers, shippers and caretakers, leaving the mother with a small sum of money in place of a child.

Many organizations are working to crack down on the sex-trafficking industry and hopefully, with better surveillance and harsher laws, a new beginning can be found.

– Sumita Tellakat

Sources: Alternet, Facts, Polaris Project
Photo: All Girls Allowed