CRISIS SITUATIONS ARE LABORATORIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKERS
Human trafficking is a crime that is found all over the world, at any given moment. Although there are hundreds of anti-trafficking organizations, not enough people take the necessary actions to combat the criminal activity.
A recent study conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), found that trafficking is often a direct result of disaster. Whether it be natural or man-made disaster, human trafficking has been proven to flourish in chaotic situations. Upon discovering that, the IOM now makes the case that preventing trafficking should be considered a “life-saving action,” alongside “traditional” relief interventions.
In places like Syria, Nepal, and the Philippines, traffickers exploit vulnerabilities caused by all sorts of disasters. “In conflict, the lack of rule of law creates a condition of impunity, where people are trafficked to finance the war, to provide sexual services, and to reinforce enslavement of ethnic minorities.”
Massive disasters create the perfect opportunity for traffickers to experiment with new ways of “exploiting vulnerable people.” Out of the estimated 800,000 people that are trafficked across borders each year, only 45,000 of them are identified. That means there are still hundreds of thousands of victims that need our help.
Ultimately, trafficking is an issue that needs emergency responses from the worldwide community. “The links between the vulnerability of mobile populations and exploitive practices which existed prior to a crisis need to be factored into a humanitarian response.” The key to this is raising awareness, and taking the initiative to combat human trafficking — not only in times of crisis — but everyday.
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