January is national slavery and human trafficking awareness and prevention month. Slavery is generally thought to be a thing of the past but each year human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profit by trapping millions of people in appalling situations. Traffickers use threats, violence, and deception, among other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or provide labor and services against their will (NCTSN, 2020).
According to the United Nations human trafficking affects every country in the world. Trafficking is the act of transporting someone into a situation in which they are exploited in some manner. This includes but is not limited to forced labor, marriage, prostitution or organ removal. This realm of exploitation is known by many names including human trafficking, trafficking persons, and modern slavery (DoSomething, 2019).
Here are a few facts about trafficking:
--There are between 20 and 40 million people in modern slavery today. It is difficult to determine an exact number due to the fact that many cases often go undetected.
--It is estimated that worldwide 71% of trafficking victims are women and girls and 29% are thought to be men and boys.
--It is estimated that about 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year with a majority of the victims coming from Mexico and the Philippines.
Poverty is an extremely compelling factor when looking at human trafficking. Populations that experience extreme poverty are particularly vulnerable. The poor become a high risk population due to the desire for a better life. This desire makes it easy for traffickers to manipulate poor families and individuals. This is often done with promises of employment, education opportunities, and better living conditions (Wright, 2015).
At the Fountain of Youth we strive to educate and provide hand ups to members of the community that are struggling with generational or situational poverty. We help to teach the skills that allow participants to meet their basic needs using the resources available to them in the community while also teaching skills such as integrity, self-confidence, and problem solving skills among others. The knowledge gained by participants in the Fountain of Youth program create a ripple effect in the community. The skills they learn are passed on to friends and family as well, making it harder for these individuals and families to be manipulated not only by those in the human trafficking industry but by people that take advantage of the disadvantaged.
DoSomething (2019). 11 Facts about Human Trafficking. Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-human-trafficking#:~:text=Estimates%20suggest%20that%20about%2050%2C000,trafficking%20cases% 20involving%20only%20children.
The National Child and Traumatic Stress Network. (2020). National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Retrieved from https://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-slavery-and-human-trafficking-prevention-month.
Wright, E. (2015). Poverty and Its Contribution to Human Trafficking. Retrieved from https://borgenproject.org/poverty-contribution-human-trafficking/.