Victims of Human Trafficking
Victims of human trafficking share the trait of vulnerability. As a result, many are lured by promises of loving relationships, stability, lucrative jobs and education. These promises turn out to be false. While sharing a trait of vulnerability, the victims have a diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and a varied level of education. The traffickers are masters of manipulation and are able to lure the victims through promises of job opportunities, exciting and romantic relationships and other psychological coercion.
While the victims span from a wide demographic, some familial vulnerabilities lead to a higher susceptibility to victimization. They include homeless and runaway youth, sexual assault, conflict, domestic violence victims and war (Reid, Baglivio, Piquero, Greenwald & Epps, 2017).
Most if not all victims of human trafficking are of good health particularly because they are trafficked for reasons that need them to perform a job. A sickly victim would probably be killed or abandoned somewhere because he or she would be of no value to the traffickers.
Social and Cultural Issues
Every society and culture is affected by trafficking in persons whether as a country of destination, transit or origin for the victims. The exploitation may take the form of sexual exploitation, prostitution, servitude, slavery, removal of organs or forced labor (Reid, Baglivio, Piquero, Greenwald & Epps, 2017). Due to the nature of the modern societies, all these incentives exist in every society.
Most victims are economically vulnerable populations and this makes them targets for exploitation. With a promise of a steady income or a higher standard of living, are easily lured into servitude and slavery. On the other hand, in the destination countries, those who fuel human trafficking are relatively wealthy individuals who may be buying people for various reasons including servitude and organ harvesting. They are therefore capable of funding the traffickers therefore keeping them in business.
Needs and Role of Human Services
Human services may help people in this situation by setting up effective support structures. Although human trafficking affects the whole world, the fact is that some countries are more affected than others. For example, destination and origin countries are more affected by human trafficking than transit countries due to the nature of the crime. Transit countries can place a few officials within international airports but countries of origin and destination have deeply entrenched networks and cultures that support the vice. Taking Saudi Arabia for example, there are a lot of African immigrants there, with a majority of them having their travel documents held by their employers. It does not help that there are different laws for citizens and immigrants.
With a majority of the trapped immigrants not knowing where to seek help, many just struggle for long or are altogether trapped for good (Reid, Baglivio, Piquero, Greenwald & Epps, 2017). For these countries that are aware than they are destination countries, they can set up elaborate support structures such as a police wing for cases of human trafficking alone. Moreover, they can set up centers where runaway victims can seek shelter and also establish toll-free hotlines for victims to report their whereabouts. The embassies in the host countries can launch hotlines and programs solely dedicated to tackling issues of human trafficking.
Amrab, Tasha and Habib are young girls from Ethiopia. They arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2014 after being promised by a rich relative who is said to run a recruitment firm. Tasha and Habib are sisters and Amrab is their cousin. Growing up in Ethiopia in a poor family was hard. They could not go to college after high school and their parents were finding it hard to provide for them in addition to their four younger brothers. As a result when their relative who operates a recruitment firm promised the young girls jobs in the Saudi Arabia, they immediately packed and went away. After arriving in Saudi Arabia, Amrab and Habib were hired immediately as house girls by a wealthy Saudi man. Tasha was supposedly hired by a friend of the wealthy man as a house girl but they have not seen her since that day they arrived.
Amrab and Habib have not been paid any money and the only thing they get is food. Their boss keeps all their documents with him including their visas. Their job starts early in the morning and ends after everyone has gone to sleep. Their work involves washing clothes for the entire family, cleaning the mansion house and attending to an old woman who lives with the family. The wife to the wealthy man keeps a constant eye on them. She doesn’t let them handle a lot of money, only giving them little when they are going out and she accompanies them. Habib has a phone but she hides it because she suspects that it might be confiscated too. Habib and Amrab have considered running away but they figure that they may not get far without money or travel documents.
Looking at the case of these two young women living in servitude, I see that they have several problems. First they need money. Secondly they need someone in the outside to know their plights. Thirdly, they need to get in touch with the Ethiopian embassy in Saudi Arabia. The first problem cannot be tackled because there is no manner of getting money to the two. However, the other two problems are manageable. Due to the availability of social media, the two girls can send a message to a couple of their friends on Facebook and send voice messages to their contacts in Ethiopia through Whatsapp. Their friends and family back at home can then elicit the Ethiopian government support so that they can get in touch with the embassy in Saudi Arabia.
The other option available is that the government can apprehend their human trafficking uncle who can then lead them to the whereabouts of the girls especially Tasha. The uncle keeps a paper trail of his business and should be able to reveal the whereabouts of the girls. If this is done swiftly, the victims can be traced and rescued before they are completely lost in the servitude. Although the uncle may try to escape Ethiopia, the government has the ability to liaise with its friendly neighbors and Interpol to arrest him wherever he is found. His arrest would not only facilitate the recovery of the girls but would also dismantle the human trafficking ring in Ethiopia that the uncle has been running.
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