With January being Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I thought it might be fitting to explain why, exactly, it’s a big deal.
Human trafficking has become something of a buzz word in the last decade with countless headlines, news pieces, NGO’s, and non-profits springing up around the issue. Documentaries have been released, government bills have been enacted, and even Hollywood has joined the conversation — as some of you may remember from 2008’s Liam Neeson action flick Taken. This issue of modern day slavery is an issue that is the absolute antithesis to the concept of basic human rights, one of the first of which the UN defines as the “right to life, liberty and security of person.”
According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 35.8 million people are currently enslaved around the world. This is a significantly higher estimate than in past years, which was believed to be around 27 million. And what’s worse is that, despite awareness increasing, human trafficking has been reported to still be the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise.
So the big question, then, is why should you care about human trafficking?
For starters, even if the issue doesn’t affect you specifically, it affects your fellow man. There are men, women, and children right now all around the world that are having their basic human rights grossly violated over and over again. People are beaten and imprisoned and forced to work for little to nothing in miserable conditions. Kids are forced to shoulder machine guns and die in armies, women are made to toil in sweatshops, and children as young as five are sold for commercial sex.
It’s a problem so insidious that people hardly even know it’s happening at all. “Oh, yeah, that happens in Thailand,” they’ll nod knowingly. And they’re right. It is happening in Thailand; but, it’s also happening in America. In Canada. In the UK. In our cities and in our streets. It’s happening wherever you are, right now.
Because of the sheer magnitude of the problem, the biggest reason that you should care about human trafficking is because no one person can end it alone. A couple non-profits can’t do this alone. This is a global battle — a world issue. This is something that affects every continent, every country, every people group, and every social class. An evil this widespread can only be battled with people united and dedicated to its end. It is a war that can only be won by numbers, by awareness, and by education. So, tell everyone you know. Tell your friends. Take to social media. Tweet. Reblog. Post.
You know why? Because this is a war that can only be won by you.