An estimated 29 million people are enslaved around the world today. Human trafficking is the 2nd most lucrative criminal industry worldwide, after drug trafficking, bringing in approximately $32 billion annually. The US Dept of State estimates that as many as 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the US every year, and The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking suggests that between 100,000 and 300,000 domestic minors are trafficked within our nation’s borders. The numbers are staggering, and the realization that trafficking is a global problem that occurs not only in far off countries but here in the city of Seattle motivates us to do something about it.
Human trafficking can be defined by: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or any other forms of coercion, of abduction, or fraud, deception, of the abuse of power or of position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving payments of or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (United Nations).”
The most vulnerable victims of human trafficking are women who are between 10-35 years old, who are impoverished, uneducated or from indigenous, ethnic minority, rural or refugee groups (United Nations). Due to these specific disempowering variables women lack access to education and employment opportunities. As a result of these circumstances, they are vulnerable to being misled, forced, or allured by traffickers. Gender discrimination, gender violence, and violent customary practices perpetuate human trafficking on a societal level. Advocating for gender equality will combat these specific contributors to human trafficking.
One of the most important action steps is to get involved as an individual. It is imperative to be informed. The more individuals who chose to be informed, educated, and aware of the issue the greater the collaborative impact on stopping human trafficking. Partnering with SAS in the political process to support our state and federal lawmakers to pass bills that address domestic and international human trafficking cases is necessary. As a community of voices we can effectively communicate our urgency and priority of this issue to create change. In addition, being an informed consumer will help fight human trafficking. Once you are aware of the specific brand names, corporations, and industries that are participating in these injustices you will begin to think critically and learn to respond appropriately. There are many resources posted on our website that will keep you informed on upcoming new laws or bills being passed, educational events, and new perspectives offered by the community of anti-trafficking advocates. Seattle Against Slavery is passionate about working with others to grow our knowledge base. With your help we can develop a force that can create change in our world, as we continue to become educated about the issues and share what we learn with others.