Article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (Palmero Protocol)
Human trafficking is the world's third largest organized crime, surpassed only by weapon and drug trafficking. However, it's quickly picking up speed, generating $7 billion a year in criminal proceeds. The "profession" of trafficking is gaining popularity across the world, due to the fact that little money is needed to start and prosecution for participants in the practice is rare.
Ideal victims for trafficking are either runaways or refugees, no matter their background or race; however, many traffickers hunt for people in ethnic minorities in rural, impovershed areas. According to available statistics, at least 80% of people illegally trafficked are girls and women, primarily due to the fact that sex exploitation is a fiercly growing business. Child traffickers take advantage of families living in poverty, promising good jobs for the children and a regular income if the parents agree to sell the trafficker their children. Sadly, it's not until after the children have been employed and enslaved that the parents realize they have been manipulated and deceived. Although men are slightly less at risk of being bought, sold, and enslaved than women and children, they are often the ones who are given the unskilled manual labor, sold again into sweatshops, or become soldiers in countries foreign to them.
Some causes of human trafficking include lack of employment opportunities, profitability, political and economic instability, high demand for slaves and prostitutes, low prosecution of traffickers, conflict between countries [prompting a high demand for trafficked child soldiers], and social discrimination.
Human trafficking isn't just a distant humanitarian issue- it happens everywhere, including the U.S. These aren't just statistics and numbers we're looking at. These are billions of lives, beating hearts and minds that know nothing but injustice and degradation. Every trafficked human has a story to tell, talents that are untapped and hideously underused, and a body that deserves better treatment than what they're given. Children are being trained to fight and kill enemies without giving a second thought; young women sold as prostitues are becoming mothers as early as age eleven, and some have been sexually abused so much that they are now infertile; men are starved, beaten, and forced to do manual labor in sweatshops.
It has to stop. And you can help. Visit http://stopthetraffick.org/ to find out how you can be a part of a movement to put an end to the illegal trading of humans.
To help employ Ugandan children caught in the political heat of war, visit http://invisiblechildren.com/ and buy a bracelet made by one of hundreds of beneficiaries involved.
Change is possible, but we can't do it alone. Promote Stop The Traffick and Invisible Children and gather your friends and family to help continue the fight together. People shouldn't be bought and sold.