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Human Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities

Human Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities

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Published by bgeller4936
facts about present-day human trafficking in the world
facts about present-day human trafficking in the world

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Published by: bgeller4936 on May 31, 2013
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2013-05-31 2:19 PMHuman Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities - ForbesPage 1 of 3http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/01/24/human-trafficking-the-myths-and-the-realities/
Human Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities
President Obama declared January National Hu-man Trafficking Awareness Month, making nowa great time to raise awareness, donate to an anti-trafficking organization, orget involved in a vol-unteer projectto combat trafficking.In order to make real change, though, we need tounderstand the issue—which is even larger andmore complex than most people realize.Through my experience researching human traf-ficking and migration in Asia, Africa, and NorthAmerica, I’ve come to understand the origins, networks, and culture behind it. Mostrecently, I’ve worked with theChildren’s Organization of Southeast Asiain ChiangMai, Thailand, an organization that providesintervention, education, and empower-ment opportunitiesin trafficking communities.At first, I found the magnitude of the issue difficult to grasp: Trafficking occurs innearly every country, andits networks are vast and formidable to investigate. Ac-cording to the United Nations, there are between 27 and 30 million modern-dayslaves in the world. And the U.S. State Department cites that 600,000 to 800,000 peo-ple are trafficked across borders every year. But these numbers are often under-re-ported and victims are usually hidden in the shadows, meaning that real, concretestatistics are often elusive.It also means that there’s a lot of incorrect information out there.Everyone talksabout human trafficking as a problem we need to tackle and eradicate, but to do so,we first need to separate the facts from fiction. Here are some of the most commontrafficking myths, and the truth about what’s really happening. 
Myth: Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Are the Same
Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, human trafficking is not hu-man smuggling. Trafficking is the recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receiving of 
2013-05-31 2:19 PMHuman Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities - ForbesPage 2 of 3http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/01/24/human-trafficking-the-myths-and-the-realities/
a person through force in order to exploit him or her for prostitution, forced labor, orslavery. Human smuggling, on the other hand, is the transport of an individual fromone destination to another, usually with his or her consent—for example, across a border.It’s an important distinction—and one that must be clear in order for law enforce-ment andpolicymakers to properly address each issue. 
Myth: Most Traffickers Are What the Movies Show You
A couple of years ago,while sitting at dinner in a trafficking village , I realized thattraffickers are not always powerful gangsters the way mainstream movies like
tend to portray them. Trafficking occurs in a wide range of socioeconomic classes,and the people involved could be anyone—there’s no one type of trafficker. In somevillages I visited, the traffickers were politicians and local law enforcement. In otherparts of the world, they’re businessmen or restaurateurs.While organized crime plays a large role in global human trafficking, communities,local governments, and even families are often involved in the process, too. Manytimes, it’s strictly about economics—those who sell their children are not “evil” or“bad” people, they simply feel that they have no other choice. 
Myth: Human Trafficking Only Refers to Forced Prostitution
I met a nine-year-old girl from a local Hill Tribe in Thailand who wasn’t going toschool. Instead, she was building one—her family was so poor that she was forcedinto laying bricks for many hours a day. She is free from this life now, but there arethousands of children throughout the world still forced in to this type of labor. Hu-man trafficking does not always equal prostitution—it can include indentured servi-tude, other exploitation in the workforce (in factories or on farms), and even the or-gan trade. 
Myth: Only Women Are Trafficked

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