30th July, World Day Against Human Trafficking.
This year, the theme "Victims' Voices Lead the Way" highlights the voices of victim-survivors. As we commemorate this day, let us listen to their voices, let us empower them to heal.
The UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) campaign portrays survivors as key in the fight against human trafficking. As we increasingly adopt a trauma-informed and victim-centred approach in our care for victims/survivors, we learn from their experiences and turn their suggestions into concrete actions that leads to a more victim-centred and effective approach in combatting human trafficking.
Celebrations for this year was hampered by the Covid-19 induced Movement Control Order, banning social gatherings.
We created a series of videos depicting stories of survivors, how victims are targeted and how we can help by identifying the indicators of exploitation.
How do human traffickers target their victims ?
– a compelling factor in the human trafficking industry. Human trafficking occurs in every country in the world, and it is a thriving industry driven by poverty. Those living in poverty, driven by their desire for a better life - traffickers capitalise on this desire by offering promises of employment and better living conditions. They are drawn, only to find they've been deceived - they are not given the work or the terms & conditions promised, many are not given valid work permits, making them even more vulnerable to exploitation. The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on the poor, as more lose their jobs and new opportunities are scarce, rendering them even more vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers.
Victims’ Voices – Labour Trafficking
Many domestic workers find themselves in situations of servitude, caught in a hapless cycle of unpaid wages, imprisonment by their employers, threats of being turned over to the authorities if they dare to escape. In many cases these workers are abused both physically and psychologically. Most come from impoverished families and their simple dream was to earn a decent income just to put food on the table. ; or put their children through school.
Victims’ Voices – Sex Trafficking
When foreign women are rounded up during a raid by authorities, many think 'Oh they deserve it.' 'Why do they insist on coming in to the country illegally and resort to doing THAT work?' In fact, this is far from the truth. Many are lured by false promises, made to think they are going to be working at a supermarket or restaurant. They are NOT willing victims. This is what happens when the right person turns out to be the wrong choice.
Awareness : Recognising a victim
Human trafficking is not an issue that is familiar to most. The general perception is that it happens to foreigners; it does not happen close to home, therefore, it is not something to be concerned about. It would be easy to close a blind eye to the injustices and exploitation that are happening to the victims of human trafficking.
We have to recognise what is happening, we need to open our eyes and reach out to the oppressed, the abused, the marginalised so that we can help them. In recognising the indicators of human trafficking and exploitation, we ensure that we ourselves do not unknowingly engage in activities which exploit others for profit. Let us speak out against human trafficking and stand up for the oppressed