Human Trafficking- No Freedom Yet

By Sanghita Dey, Staff Writer

I am not writing on a new or innovative topic. I am writing on a well known but hard to acknowledge issue. What is the point in writing on this topic in a business school newspaper? As T-birds we want to be  global leaders who bring sustainable prosperity worldwide, so acknowledgement and awareness to the global issues are inevitable.

In 2014, the International Labor Organization estimated that forced labor generates $150 billion in profits a year worldwide and there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. 5.5 million of those are children and 14.2 million of them are victims of labor exploitation. According to Justice for Youth ‘800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. That is 2,200 each day–over 91 people each hour!’

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China, Russia, and Uzbekistan have been named among the worst offenders when it comes to human trafficking, according to a US State Department report, joining Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, and Zimbabwe on the bottom “tier” of the US human trafficking ranking. According to the US State Department report, in China, the one-child policy and a cultural preference for male children perpetuate the trafficking of brides and prostitutes. In Russia, there are estimates that 50,000 children are involved in involuntary prostitution according to David Abramowitz, vice president for policy at Humanity United, an advocacy group.  In Uzbekistan, the annual cotton harvest has been the main cause for human-trafficking. The country is the world’s sixth largest cotton producer, and each year local officials force thousands of children to pick cotton in the fields in order to meet quotas cheaply.

Every person can contribute towards this cause by being vigilant and reporting suspicious activities to authorities using available hotline numbers – in US it is 1 (888) 373-7888. Only when we start to research we realize the seriousness of this problem – see the Human Resource Center in US. Awareness among our students through seminars and workshops can also be a great way to disseminate this information.

There is no doubt we live in a world that specializes in creating broken people every day. We’ve reached a point where eradicating human trafficking is no longer restricted to few willing individuals and organizations. Anyone, in any manner, can help in minimizing this condemnable condition. It just comes down to whether we are willing to take that first step.

“Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.” – William Wilberforce

“I was trafficked from Nigeria two years ago. I was training as a primary school teacher. A man befriended me, offered a cleaning job in the UK earning me enough to go to university – my dream.  Before leaving, he made me participate in a witchcraft ceremony, drinking a mixture of the inside of a hen, and making me promises never to disobey him or else I would go mad. I received false documents, including a script of what to tell border officials in the UK. I was picked up at the airport and driven to a house in London. I was locked in a room with three other women and then sexually exploited. The witchcraft ceremony back in Nigeria haunted me. I was moved to different flats, working as a sex worker in all of them. This went on for months. When the police raided our flat, I was placed in a detention centre and then a hostel. The traffickers threatened to harm my mother in Lagos if I didn’t return as a sex worker. I had to go back. A further 7 months passed till I was rescued by a police raid. I was placed in City Hearts shelter, which helped and supported me. Perhaps, my university dream can now come true.” (Source: Human Trafficking foundation)

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