Understanding Human Trafficking

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Combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) App

 A valuable resource in understanding current human trafficking


Human trafficking is a global emergency that requires global citizen attention. We are linked to it by our consumer choices and supply chains that keep the world moving forward. January is the month to inform and renew our commitment to ending this atrocity.

This is such a widespread issue that President Obama has declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking month. One of the first pages you see upon opening the Combatting Trafficking in Persons app includes a quote from the President on the topic.

“Yet even today, the darkness and inhumanity of enslavement exists. Millions of people worldwide are held in compelled service, as well as thousands within the United States. We acknowledge that forms of slavery still exist in the modern era and we recommit ourselves to stopping the human traffickers who ply this horrific trade.”

Our newest addition to The Toolbox, The Trafficking In Persons app introduces us to the issue with a course agenda asking basic questions including:

  • What is Trafficking in Persons?

  • Who is involved in Trafficking in Persons?

  • Why does it occur?

This introduction provides a full scan of the global issue including a map of the international scope with important statistics. One of these estimates tells us that “12 million people are enslaved around the world today.” According to TIP app’s sources, 80% of these victims are women, and 50%-- 6 million are children.

The TIP app also offers tips for victims to overcome Trafficking In Persons and legal information to apply to personal cases. Another module of the app explains push and pull factors to help understand the motivations behind TIP, which is helpful in any organizing strategy against the cause.

Take a look and tell us what you think.

Many types of trafficking exist that we probably wouldn’t think of. Here are two:

  • Debt bondage is the the most common, but least known contemporary form of slavery today. Entire families can be put under debt bondage (also called bonded labor), where usually the person or family must work for zero to little pay for long hours. In Brazil, the main areas employing forced labour are ranching, deforestation, agriculture, logging and charcoal. In Germany, there are reported cases of migrant domestic workers in diplomats’ households, in suffering conditions that amount to debt bondage. Ban Ying, an organization working for the rights of migrant and trafficked persons, has reported that these workers are given special legal provisions, but are then “lost” in the system and diplomats may pay or do as they please.

  • Sex trafficking: U.S. trafficking legislation-–passed in October 2000–includes a two-tiered definition of trafficking that distinguishes between aggravated or “severe” trafficking, and trafficking that does not involve force (International Trafficking Act of 2000). The United Nations estimates that it is a $32 billion industry, whereas other experts estimate that it’s considerably higher. The exact amount is arguable, but it’s definitely in the multi-billions (some say up to 91). In 2001, there were 150,000 reported cases sex slaves in the USA. Atlanta and Minneapolis are the two biggest hotspots of this in the USA. There is a fetizisation of international women: countries with the highest prevalence of origin (trafficked out) are Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, China, Thailand, Nigeria. Countries of Destination include: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA.

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