From Exodus Cry: Human trafficking has become a global threat to vulnerable men, women, and children worldwide.
It is an injustice that affects millions of people every year on every continent and at all socioeconomic levels
Human trafficking is a highly-organized and lucrative business, generating US $150 billion per year, $99 billion of which is generated by sex trafficking within the prostitution industry.
The latest global estimate according to the International Labor Organization (the United Nations agency that deals with global labor issues), calculates that nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide.
Roughly 4.5 million of those victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
The most significant number of victims are said to come from Asia and the Pacific region, although human trafficking in Africa continues to grow when compared to its 2005 estimates.
The International Labor Organization also estimates that 55 percent of all trafficking victims and 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are women and girls.
That is why sex trafficking is often considered a “gender” crime and why Exodus Cry focuses its intervention largely on women and girls.
A talk with Alan Smyth, the executive director at Saving Innocence, an anti-trafficking nonprofit in Los Angeles, California that aims to serve, empower and advocate for child victims of sex trafficking.
He says, “If men were to stop buying s*x today, s*x trafficking would literally cease to exist overnight.
“Men are overwhelmingly the biggest consumers of the women and girls who are being sold for s*x (99% of buyers are men) and, whether they realize it or not, their money fuels the demand that drives this horrendous industry.
“BUT, this also means that they are key to ending it.
“Our society needs men who speak out against injustice and say no to the s*xual objectification of women and children. There are many men already doing this—but we need millions more.”
After a child sex trafficking survivor shared, “I could no longer fight for myself, I needed someone to fight for me,” Alan was moved into action. He quickly answered that call.
Since then, Alan co-authored a book called, “Men! Fight for Me” that teaches how men can end trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Alan and Benjamin discuss healthy vs. toxic masculinity, male roles in exploitation, our culture’s uplifting of the pimp mentality and the current scale of child sex trafficking within the United States.
Click below to learn more how Saving Innocence has created a solution for survivors:
Defining human trafficking
The most widely accepted definition of human trafficking comes from the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, otherwise known as the Palermo Protocols.
Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000 and accepted by over 150 countries, the Palermo Protocols defines human trafficking as:
“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the 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 is at the heart of human trafficking.
In the case of sex trafficking, exploitation implies the forced prostitution or sexual abuses of vulnerable men, women, and children.
The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) declares it a crime to coerce, force, or mislead men, women, and children into sex slavery, whether those efforts to coerce are subtle or overt.
However, if a victim is a minor (under 18), it is a considered a crime regardless if there is evidence of force, fraud, or coercion.
Victims are trafficked across both national and international borders, infiltrating nearly every part of the world, according to one World Health Organization report.
The global scale of the problem is attributed to the various roles nations play in the exploitation of the victims, whether that be recruiting, harboring, transporting, or acting as destinations for victims.
One UN report estimates that trafficking victims represent over 130 different nationalities and are present in almost 120 countries.
While the problem is clearly of global scale, with some 600,000 to 800,000 victims trafficked across international borders each year, most human trafficking surprisingly still occurs within national borders.
Global efforts to combat human trafficking
There are several international organizations fighting human trafficking at the global level.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime combats human trafficking worldwide through promoting policies that incriminate traffickers and protect victims.
The UN agency also produces tools and publications to help train law enforcers and raise awareness of this injustice worldwide.
Additionally, many governments are taking action to protect potential victims from trafficking predators. The United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was established by the US Department of State and has been highly influential in protecting potential victims worldwide.
The TVPA defines, mandates, and funds United States’ anti-trafficking efforts, including producing the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which is the most comprehensive resource of governmental, anti-human trafficking efforts in the world.
The United States’ Officer to Combat and Monitor Trafficking in Persons is also combating human trafficking worldwide through three avenues—prevention, protection, and prosecution—which includes activities to raise awareness, identify victims, enforce appropriate laws, and convict traffickers.
However, perhaps some of the greatest work being done to combat human trafficking is performed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
These anti-trafficking groups are working hard to prevent human trafficking, protect vulnerable populations, lobby for policy reformation, and even rehabilitate victims both at local and global levels.
Exodus Cry is an active part of this global community of abolitionists and involved in these key areas of intervention.
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