[profileleft][/profileleft]It’s hard to believe that human beings can still be bought and sold in this modern time, but it’s true. This happens much more often than many people would realize. Human trafficking has become such an enormous problem across the entire world that different people and entities are working to promote awareness of it. As such, January is known as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are completely dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of our young people. Therefore, we want to make sure that as many people as possible know that this is a month where everyone needs to be especially aware of human trafficking. One of the reasons is because so many victims of this terrible crime are children. Below you’ll find a brief overview of this issue.
The Definition of Human Trafficking
The United Nations defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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.”
Put more simply, human trafficking involves either convincing or coercing another human being to become property or even a commodity. Human traffickers buy and sell human beings as though they are items. This ‘market’ exists in one way or another in just about every country in the world. It’s also a problem that’s gotten progressively worse in recent years with the introduction of the Internet and other technologies that make it easier to find targets for exploitation and for co-conspirators to collaborate.
Human Trafficking Statistics
There are several estimates relating to human trafficking statistics. Regardless of the sources of these estimates, the numbers are shockingly high. According to StopTheTraffik.org:
- Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked internationally every year.
- Approximately 80 percent of these people are women and girls.
- More than 20 million people across the world are victims of forced labor.
- Human trafficking is the second largest source of illegal income across the world behind drug trafficking.
The problem is just as pervasive when it comes to child trafficking. According to ArkOfHopeForChildren.org:
- The average age of a human trafficking victim ranges between 11 and 14.
- Approximately 80 percent of women and children who are victims of human trafficking are trafficked for the purpose of the underground sex industry.
- The average life span of a human trafficking victim is approximately 7 years.
- Runaway children are the largest at-risk group for child trafficking.
Signs of Human Trafficking
As stated above, the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are committed to maximizing the awareness towards human trafficking and child trafficking. Below you’ll find some common warning signs that someone may be a victim of human trafficking:
- A person appears disconnected from family and friends.
- A child has stopped attending school.
- Someone exhibits a sudden and dramatic change in behavior.
- A juvenile is engaged in commercial sex acts.
- An adult or child appears confused, disoriented or generally not communicative.
- A person has several bruises and cuts that are in different stages of healing.
- Someone is extremely timid or fearful in general.
Those who want to review the complete list that’s been published by the Department of Homeland Security can do so here. If you notice these or other troubling signs in someone, you need to take action to help them.
Human Trafficking Support Organizations
Fortunately, there are a lot of people out there doing a lot of good for those who are forced into human trafficking. A few examples appear below:
- The Not for Sale Campaign
- The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
- Free the Slaves
- Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
- Invisible Children
- Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSEY)
- Shared Hope International
There are innumerable other organizations that work tirelessly to save people from the scourge that is human trafficking. Anyone who donates time, money or anything else to these organizations is doing something immeasurably positive for others.
Human Trafficking – Potential Options for Help
If you believe that someone you know or have dealt with is the victim of human trafficking, you need to do your part to stamp this problem out once and for all. The best way to do so is to make sure that you report the situation to the proper authorities. If you need help with a specific situation, you can likely contact any of the organizations above or the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys. If you believe that law enforcement needs to get involved as soon as possible, see the following:
- The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- Department of Homeland Security/ICE
- San Diego North County Anti-Trafficking Task Force
- Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force
- Los Angeles Police Department – Human Trafficking Division
The California Attorney General’s Office has published a complete list of statewide resources for reporting suspected human trafficking. Those who need to review this list can find it here.
The Damage Done by Human Trafficking
Many of the people who are fortunate enough to escape the grips of human trafficking still face a long road to recovery if one is even possible. It’s common for human trafficking survivors to suffer from severe physical injuries, some of which are permanent in nature. Survivors also tend to face similar struggles to those who are fighting against Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. In short, human trafficking survivors continue to struggle to recover from wounds – both visible and invisible in nature – for years if not for the rest of their lives.
How Children’s Rights Lawyers Can Help
As mentioned above, the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have been fighting to raise awareness with regards to exploitation. During Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we encourage everyone to learn a bit more about this terrible situation. Doing so could be the difference between recognizing warning signs or not. If you need help with regards to any type of harm done to children, do not hesitate to contact the firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.