How do you count the number of humans forced into slavery in the 21st century? You can’t. After all, human trafficking is the greatest hidden crime going on right under our very noses.
Human trafficking represents the basest of sins. The enemy of our souls appeals to the most depraved parts of hearts and minds. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world.” (I John 2:16) Satan is the ruler of this world. He perverts the value of life and subjects one to another for greed, lust, and pride.
Human Trafficking Defined
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:
- sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age;
- or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion .
A victim does not have to be physically transported from one location to another for the crime to fall within this definition.
Forms of Trafficking
Human trafficking takes many forms. If it is possible to make money, man’s depravity through Satan will traffic another human for any gain.
- By far, the greatest amount of human trafficking is for the sex trade.
- Children are trafficked as beggars, laborers, or to be used for child pornography (It is estimated one in five human trafficking victims are children)
- State-sponsored forced labor (It is estimated China has detained over 1 million Uighur Muslims in forced labor and “reeducation” camps)
- Labor trafficking (Africa and the Middle East have higher rates)
- Debt bondage (often family members are recruited to help work to pay off debt)
- Forced child marriage (According to UNICEF, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday)
A Global Sin
Yes, trafficking is a global sin, but do not underestimate America’s perpetuation of it. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) America is deeply entrenched in human trafficking, primarily for the sex trade.
Signs of Trafficking
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has a list of indicators that you can use to help identify victims. These indicators include:
- Appearing malnourished
- Appearing injured or having signs of physical abuse
- Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and law enforcement
- Responding in manners that seem rehearsed or scripted
- Lacking personal identification documents
- Lacking personal possessions
Human trafficking can happen to anyone, but some people are more vulnerable than others. Those at specific risk include recent migrants or those who have relocated. Children and teens are especially vulnerable, especially if they are runaways or homeless. Traffickers create dependency through a victim’s vulnerabilities, addictions, loneliness or debt.
Making a Difference
Making a difference takes on different looks. Part of any mission should be to get the individuals out of the trafficked situation. But that can’t be the end of things. The second part of any mission should be some type of placement into a shelter, a home, and some type of employment so that each person can care for themselves.
Being fully rescued extends beyond just an exit out of the trafficking circumstance. It has to include some type of assistance to get back on track with life again. Another part of any mission should be the inclusion of restoration and healing through counseling, group work, and related aftercare.
Please help us help them. Don’t let their voices be silenced any longer.