By Diana Ruiz, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
“Human trafficking is insanely profitable, if you really think about it you can sell a kilo of heroin once but you can sell a 14 year old girl 20 times a night, 365 times a year, it’s a lot of money. It happens everywhere. You should feel a little outraged about this, you should feel upset about this, and that’s great, but it’s not good enough. You have to really go beyond that outrage; you have to start understanding human trafficking.” – P.Anthony Talbott
Slavery is still not over. Human trafficking not only persists but is increasing. It is the greatest human rights abuse of our time; it’s the second largest crime in the world. There are actually more slaves now than compared with any other moment in history. Around 27 million people worldwide are being trafficked, with an estimation of 600,000 to 800,000 new victims falling into trafficking networks per year. It not only focuses on adults, 1.2 million children are lured into sex trafficking every year. Moreover, the average price of a slave currently is 68 €, when in 1809 the price was around € 30,200 compared to current currencies. There are cases of slavery in textile factories, there is organ trafficking all over the world, children are being sold, there still exists domestic servitude, brothels and sex tourism with girls of only 12 or 13 years are a reality. All of these are just mere examples of the magnitude of this problem.
It can be interpreted as a business. The economic costs are not excessive and will be repaid through the continued sexual exploitation of the person. The earnings on the other hand are unlimited, there are only restrictions regarding the victim’s health, and if so, there is always the opportunity of buying a new slave. Therefore, analyzing it as an economic model, it is a business that generates about 24 billion euros annually worldwide and about 1.9 billion euros only in Europe. This is the main problem concerning human trafficking: it generates such high benefits that it outweighs any associated costs or risks.
Even though it represents a complex problem regarding cultural, social and economic matters, these trafficking networks can be eradicated in our time. We have the judicial instruments to stop it, the key is awareness. It is essential that the society as a whole is informed about this problem, how there are 12 year old girls that are sexual slaves and that before they reach their 20s they will have gone through forced abortions, drug addictions, rapes and systematic hazing. Therefore information and its distribution remain as the basic component in order to resolve this problem. No one should stay passive with human trafficking, as every action counts, no matter how big or small.
Professor Anthony Talbott (University of Dayton) at TED Talks Cincinatti on Human Trafficking
Further reading and references:
- Human Trafficking.org
- The CNN Freedom Project
- Siddharth Kara – “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery”