This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 24, 2014

Human Trafficking Growing

Human Trafficking is the buying and selling of human beings, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation. Though it is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights, researchers estimate there are 21-36 million slaves today.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is now the third most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, after weapons and drugs. Annual profits are estimated to be in the tens of billions of US dollars.

Promised jobs in other countries, teens (boys and girls) are placed into groups, making good friends. Once across the border where they don't speak the language, their passports are taken and are told, "We know where your family lives. Try to run away, we kill your family, kill all your new friends, find and kill you." Their 'jobs' range from slaves on farms to prostitutes---with an average life span of seven years.

Poverty and lack of economic opportunity make people vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries. Many of those who fall prey to these false promises accept offers from what appears to be legitimate sources. However once on foreign soil, often their documents are destroyed, they or their families are threatened with bodily harm, or they are "bonded by a debt they have no chance of repaying".

Sometimes they are forced into marriages or into bonded labor markets, including sweatshops, agricultural plantations, or domestic service. According to the International Labor Organization, the commercial sex industry absorbs slightly less than half of all trafficked labor worldwide.

In spite of the fact that strong laws are a deterrent, those laws, if passed on the national level, are seldom enforced. The best way to eliminate human trafficking is with information and education. In Thailand, a Thai NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) uses a mixture of strategies to convince parents about the dangers of the illegal sex trade. They use information about HIV and AIDS, brothel conditions, legal penalties, and potential risks to support their arguments. Frequently, success depends on the decision of the child to stay in school that outweighs the parents' desires for money.

In Cambodia, the government provides shelters and schooling for orphans and street children to keep them away from traffickers.

Looking at the increases in migration, due to wars, genocide, and terrorism, the pipeline for traffickers appears to be growing. In some developing countries, it is a small leap from a "legitimate" job offer of "dancing in a casino" to forced prostitution. Expect this unfortunate trend to continue.

At this time of the year, when we, in developed countries, focus on all that we have, it is kind to take the time to think about those who are less fortunate. If this Trend Alert has moved you to want to donate to help end human slavery, visit traffickingresourcecenter.org or www.humantrafficking.org/ to make a donation.

Special thanks to speaker Michael Podolinsky, my friend and fellow professional speaker in Singapore for raising our consciousness to this opportunity.


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