For the past five months, girls and children have been going missing in our country and the most brutal form of trafficking is the commercial exploitation of children. Sadists feed on the popular belief that having sex with a virgin would cure them of sexually transmitted diseases. Little girls are raped and tortured to such an extent that their reproductive system is permanently damaged, depriving them of their natural right to motherhood.
On the other hand, when older girls go missing, people start to claim that they have gone to their boyfriends or may be partying with their friends – sometimes this might turn out to be true which is why police investigations take place after 48 hours.
The reality that does not cross people’s minds is that friends and family members could also be the traffickers because people share diffrent interests. Sometimes girls are manipulated into love not knowing that the word LOVE can be used to get anything from anyone and ensures a trust base.
Sometimes it starts when someone comes into your life and promises you a better lifestyle – this mostly happens to girls because every girl dreams of becoming a successful woman one day and wants to ensure that her dreams are furfiled.
Women, young girls and children are normally the victims of human trafficking. The situation becomes so severe that we don’t call it human trafficking anymore but instead it becomes woman trafficking. I am not saying that men are not victims but in a world ruled by men, they are mostly identified as the trafficker.
Since men are classified as traffickers, people became more aware and developed the strategy that women and girls should only get into taxis when they see that there is another woman or girl. Traffickers have found out about this new strategy and they started using other women to convince people that it is safe to get into that particular taxi which makes it even easier for them to kidnap the person.
Poverty lies at the heart of human trafficking. In sex trafficking, women and children are merely reduced to the status of a gratifying sexual commodity. It has become an organized billion dollar industry and has at its core investors, unscrupulous recruiters and corrupt public officials as principal participants. Globalisation has given birth to a service industry entirely dedicated to providing transportation, forged documents, legal, financial and accounting assistance.
During the trafficking process, victims are subjected to ‘grooming’ through constant physical and sexual abuse in order to force them to submit. Blind faith leads victims to the pit of darkness as caution is compromised because of desperation.
Cops sometimes conspire with traffickers in return for free sexual favours and large amounts of money. This hypocrisy among the upholders of justice deters victims from seeking assistance. Unfortunately due to trafficking being a fast growing crime it is very difficult to identify and locate these organisations and victims.
Impact on children
Children are the easiest targets of traffickers. Because of poor socio-economic conditions it is easy to deceive or trap the poor parents of these children thus, forcing them to ‘send’ or ‘sell’ their children for forced labour in the garb of better livelihood options. The traffickers force these children to work for long hours, with minimal or without any wages. It restricts these child labourers from going to school, getting education and growing up into educated citizens.
Apart from labour activities there is a gigantic demand for children for their commercial sexual exploitation which involves offline as well as online sexual abuse such as child sexual abuse explicit materials; use of children for pornography, etc. These children are forced to survive inhuman living conditions resulting in illness such as stunted growth, malnutrition, respiratory diseases and various other life- threatening diseases such as HIV and STIs. We cannot do nothing and yet still hope for change. I understand and agree that governments have a legitimate interest in securing their borders and managing migration flows. I am aware that, oftentimes, governments must reach for a balance between the interests of their citizens and the humanitarian needs of migrants which may not always appear to align. However, we all have an interest in maintaining respect for human dignity and in upholding human rights because our humanity demands it and citizens should stop blaming the police and the government for not doing anything and start respecting their efforts such as giving out rewards to people who have information about victims because there is no doubt we live in a world that specialises in creating broken people every day.
We’ve reached a point where eradicating human trafficking is no longer restricted to a few willing individuals and organizations. Anyone, in any manner, can help in minimizing this condemnable condition. It just comes down to whether we are willing to take that first step.