It sounds a little silly to say but I watched a fictional story on a TV program and the issue hit me hard. Human trafficking is one of the most despicable things one person can do to another. I wished there was something I could do, even if was only something small.
What struck me was that people are being brought into countries like the UK and the US, after having false hopes drilled into in their minds by the agents of traffickers. It scared me that trafficked people could be working in somewhere I’d visit like a nail salon or a hotel against their will, surrounded by people but too terrified to speak up.
I can only imagine what’d I do and the lengths I’d go to if I was extremely poor, my family was malnourished and suffering or if I was born in an area struck with conflict. Friends too, anyone near and dear to me. If I could do anything in that situation to save my family I would jump at the chance whole-heartedly.
It sickens me to my stomach that anyone can find it in them to manipulate someone who is so vulnerable and desperate for a better chance at life. I think you really need to put yourself in the person shoes in that situation. It’s very easy to say you’d never leave your home, from a place of comfort. In that situation, under that pressure I wouldn’t blame anyone for being willing to up and go to another country in hope of creating a better life.
I could only hope if the tables were turned and we in ‘first world’ countries were the ones seeking asylum, that others would welcome us with open arms. I could only hope that we’d have the chance to start again and make something better of our lives.
I can’t stress enough – imagine if it was you or someone you cared about. You do anything to save yourself and them. I can’t imagine what it’d be like if you are told of great opportunities overseas and you found yourself beaten, abused, sexually assaulted – there’s so many more cruel things one person can do to another but I won’t list them all. I can’t imagine being greeted with that, realising it was all a lie and having your dreams crushed.
The same goes for those kidnapped and taken against their own will. I can’t come close to the fear you would feel or how hard it would be to stay strong.
The same goes for those born and raised in more fortunate countries and taken into these types of horrible situations. It’s not just someone far aways problem, it’s problem rooted deeply in global society.
The buying and selling of any vulnerable person no matter where they are from is incredibly disturbing and just wrong.
What you can do
I didn’t want to just be sat here on my high-horse after the privilege of watching TV in bed and knowing that I don’t have to wake up tomorrow terrified. It’s hard to do much from my desk but I can share information, make donations and not give up on the hope that I could help someone in some way.
I know we don’t all feel in the position to get out there on the front lines helping people, we don’t all think we could do anything hands on and we have our own lives, families and friends. But I wanted to mention a few links for more information for anyone else who’d like to understand more about what human trafficking is and how they can help. If something bothers you, I think you should always try your best to do something about it, even if it’s only something small.
Visit Stop the traffik. It is a global movement of activists who “give their time and energy to build resilient communities and prevent human trafficking.”
They prevent trafficking by:
- Equipping people to understand what trafficking is, how it affects them and what they can do about it.
- Gathering and analyse information from communities about how and where trafficking is happening.
Visit the government pages on how you can help:
You should also give this article from care.org a visit. It has useful information on ways to spot people you believe to have been trafficked and who to contact in the UK.
I’m guilty myself at rolling my eyes at people who join in a trend for a charity they know nothing about but on the flipside it might trigger something for someone. I’m not going to start asking people to take some kind of selfie or do a challenge but I think if the least you can do is raise awareness, at least you’re trying. One more person aware and understanding of a bad situation can only be a good thing.
This is a little sombre and not my usual sort of post I know! It’s long and depressing and maybe no one will read it but it’s worth saying something. Of course we all have issues in our own lives and others to support , including those struggling in our hometowns, but it doesn’t hurt to help someone else too! Think of it as making someone else, somewhere, smile :)