Human Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery

Human trafficking is in its simplest form the trade dealing in human beings. It involves the selling and buying of human beings by fellow human beings either across borders or within the same area code. The people being traded can be acquired either by voluntary means or unscrupulous means. In both cases, the victims are unaware of the true conditions of their servitude and rarely realize the amount of danger they are into at the beginning.

Victims of human trafficking upon reaching their destinations are then exploited in a number of ways such as forced labour with little or no pay, prostitution, slavery and or servitude, and in worst case scenarios removal of vital organs. The United Nations through its (UNTOC) United Nation’s Convention against Transnational Organized Crime body and the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking is trying hard to fight the trade and bring those involved to justice.

The acts of trafficking start right from acquisition of the victim, transportation, stay, and final destination of the victims. Anyone who knowingly or unknowingly comes into contact with the victims from when they are acquired to their final destination and every step in-between has become involved in this illicit trade.

Cause of the problem
Poverty coupled with greed are the main factors behind the rampant spread of human trade. The victims are usually lured with the hope of a better life in a more developed country or place and see it as a way to lift themselves and those they love out of abject poverty. They will then find themselves in a strange land away from family and security at the mercy of traffickers who will claim their very lives.

The main reason people want unidentified individual to work for them is because they are trying to cut costs and therefore make more money i.e. forced labor. On the other hand, prostitution is one of the world’s most money producing activities but no one would do it willingly, so those involved prey on the less fortunate to get the females and males they need.

The greed creates the demand, and the poverty ensures the supply.

In the fight against this trade, those pioneering the endeavor have faced some problems:

  • The UN itself is riddled with accusations and counter accusations of involvement in the trade. From Serbia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, reports that UN officials not only bought the prostitutes that were said to be trafficking victims but also involved in the primary act of trafficking them.
  • While some countries such as USA, UK, Canada, and Scandinavian countries take a clear stand against it, other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Cambodia, Sudan, and India prefer to turn a blind eye to what is happening and continue to assure the UN that nothing is wrong despite evidence claiming otherwise.
  • And finally usually those involved are important people in their countries and no convictions or even trials are ever realized. This has been a major deterrent as the trade is global and keeping track of the offenders is difficult for the UN alone especially when the countries of the perpetrators would rather nothing was said or done.

How to deal with this illicit trade as an individual?

  • For those who are human enough to look past their own selfish desires, if you come a cross a situation involving especially young and teenage girls or boys that strikes you as suspicious, report it to the police. Do this immediately, not tomorrow or later, immediately, as they might have moved them by the time you report it.
  • Parents and primary care givers should watch out for their children, even the grown ones (18-25) as they can easily be abducted. One should remember that most children are sold by people they know such as relatives, neighbors or teachers.
  • And as an appeal to country leaders, please try and keep track of the goings on in your countries. Negligent security systems make it easier for the perpetrators to traffic their victims as there are no strict laws to monitor them.

Human trafficking is a newer version of slavery and should be stopped. While those participating may have no remorse for taking away the lives of young persons, the rest of us should support all the initiatives that have been put in place to fight this evil. This is not a situation you would want your children or anyone you know to be in, so help stop it so it can not happen to them.


  1. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime home page.
  2. Gender Based Violence and Peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, September 2010, Jelena Prosevski
  3. UNODC report on human trafficking exposes modern form of slavery.
  4. Africa Renewal, Vol.19 #1 (April 2005), page 16 Tough UN line on peacekeeper abuses Action initiated to end sexual misdeeds in peacekeeping missions By Michael Fleshman

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