“Trafficking in persons is an insult to human dignity and an assault on freedom. Whether we are talking about the sale of women and children by terrorists in the Middle East, the sex trafficking of girls lured from their homes in Central Europe, the exploitation of farm workers in North America, or the enslavement of fishermen in Southeast Asia, the victims of this crime each have a name. And they each have been robbed of their most basic human rights.”
-John F. Kerry, Secretary of State
Human Trafficking comes by many names and comes in many forms. What is clear is this: that all around the globe, millions of people are bought, sold, and transported for the benefit of their oppressors. Often times traffickers target society’s most vulnerable: young women, children, and impoverished persons. Some are forced to work in fields and factories, others in brothels and on street corners. In all cases, through force, fraud, or coercion, they must perform grueling labor or commercial sex acts with little hope of rescue.
At an estimated 150 billion dollars per year, the income generated by the trafficking industry is the second largest source of illegal income in the world. To put that into perspective, human trafficking generates 5 times the annual income of Google, Starbucks and Nike combined. There is a major need for funding, research and frontline training to combat this global crime. Law enforcement, social work programs, health and aftercare workers everywhere are significantly under resourced and under financed.
The issue of human trafficking, or modern day slavery, or commercial exploitation, is not a foreign issue only. It's important to know that there have been human trafficking cases in all 50 of the United States, including New Hampshire. Not only is this a global atrocity, but it is a growing problem without enough support in our local communities, as well.
Awareness about this issue has grown in past years, but much work still needs to be done to bring about a change in our world. Unfortunately much of what drives human trafficking is demand: for illegal sex, for inexpensive clothing and electronics, for higher profit margins. Companies in the chocolate, clothing, fishing, and coffee industries, to name but a few, have used trafficked labor in recent years. As responsible consumers and citizens, we need more education and more discipline to ensure we are not complicit in these crimes.
But we do believe change can happen. And we believe education, discussion, and creative thinking will help us bring freedom and choice. We hope that the Freedom Cafe can continue to be a meeting space for people to dialogue about this issue and find ways to make the world a more free and just place for all. Keep any eye on our events calendar for educational opportunities or join us for a delicious coffee or tea anytime.
Read More About Human Trafficking:
Annual Trafficking in Persons Report: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/
Stop the Traffik: http://www.stopthetraffik.org/usa/page/what-is-trafficking
Polaris Project: http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview
Human Trafficking Resource Center (New Hampshire): http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org/state/new-hampshire
New Hampshire State Report on Human Trafficking (2008):
International Labour Organization: http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang--en/index.htm