Recognizing World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - Hero

At The Little Market, our mission is dedicated to supporting dignified income opportunities for individuals in underserved communities all over the world. A core part of our mission is to raise awareness for human rights and social justice issues. Here on Cultural Exchange, we share avenues in which our readers can use their voices and actions to help others. On July 30, we are recognizing World Day against Trafficking in Persons. 

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly set forth a resolution to designate July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Member states adopted the resolution. Since then, this awareness day has been observed on an annual basis. We join our voice to the call for the eradication of this pervasive violation of human rights. 

Each year, individuals of all ages and across the gender spectrum are trafficked. Given the global scope and clandestine nature of this problem, it is difficult to arrive at concrete figures. However, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, estimates that between 600,000 to 800,000 individuals are trafficked across international borders on an annual basis.1 There is a gender disparity among victims. Women and girls are primary targets and are typically channeled into networks of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Data published by the U.N. in 2018 shows that of all detected victims, 49 percent are women and 23 percent are girls.2 It is important to keep in mind that these figures only represent the number of individuals detected by authorities and organizations dedicated to combating the crisis. Unfortunately, there are still vast numbers of unaccounted victims.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018
Graphic Courtesy of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018

According to the U.N., “every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims.”3 The figures per continental region can typically be associated with a specific industry. For example, the majority of women and girls traffic victims detected in Central America, have been trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.4 The American Civil Liberties Union (UCLU) cites 14,500 to 17,500 as the estimated figure of individuals trafficked into the United States each year.5

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018 - Figures
Graphic Courtesy of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018

Trafficking, indentured servitude, exploitation, and neoslavery are fundamental violations of human rights. As U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives.” Victims are robbed of their freedom and autonomy to make decisions about their bodies, education, and other spheres of life. However painful these experiences are for survivors, the circumstance alone does not define who they are, nor does it curtail their potential to thrive and achieve. We must all acknowledge the person first for all that they are — ambitious, talented, unique, and resilient. Not all trafficked individuals are detected or rescued; we must continue to focus our attention on this issue. Awareness is the first step to being engaged, active allies to the movement toward achieving freedom and autonomy for all. 

Thank you for joining in our mission at The Little Market and advocating for human rights for everyone. 

Sources
OVC Human Trafficking: Available Statistics Archive, 2005, accessed July 12, 2020.
Source: UNODC elaboration of national data, published in 2018, accessed July 12, 2020.
U.N. World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 30 July, accessed July 12, 2020.
U.N. Trafficking of Women and Girls Within Central America, accessed July 12, 2020
ACLU Human Trafficking: Modern Enslavement of Immigrant Women in the United States, accessed July 12, 2020.
“Human Trafficking.” United Nations. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Accessed July 8, 2020. 
*“Forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.” and “Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage.” International Labour Organization. September 19, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2020.

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