HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS GROWING EXPONENTIALLY
Estimated number of human trafficking victims
Estimated annual revenue in human trafficking industry
(Global Slavery Index)
Even though sex trafficking gets much more media coverage, more than 70% of human trafficking worldwide is labor trafficking. (UNODC 2016)
More than 70% of human trafficking in the United States is sex trafficking. (Polaris Project 2016)
So much of the information available concerning modern day slavery has to do with viral stories or internet fads.
YOU MIGHT KNOW THESE HASHTAGS, BUT DO YOU KNOW THE FACTS BEHIND THEM?
The internet and social media sensation of the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign did much to put pressure on governments for action. People followed the story for months after the girls were abducted in April 2014, and for a time, the US and the UK sent troops in to help the Nigerian government to find terrorist and trafficker Boko Haram.
Since then, however, with Ebola, and ISIS, and Kim Kardashian, most of the world hasn't been paying much attention. Many who followed the campaign at the beginning do not know it ended, or that it hasn't. The girls have still not been rescued. Boko Haram's insurgency has recently been defeated (according to claims by the Nigerian government), but he has not been arrested. For a time, the schoolgirls' home town of Chibook was taken by Boko Haram's militants, and he released a statement saying that most of the kidnapped girls had been sold into forced marriage. On December 14, 2014, 8 months after the original abduction, Boko Haram abducted 185 more Nigerian women and children, and he has continued to wreak havoc in Nigeria since.
Check out these books for more information on #BokoHaram and the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign.
Rachel Lloyd, former human trafficking victim and founder of GEMS, summarizes the conflict about the Superbowl it in her article to the Huffington Post. Below is an excerpt- click here to read her full article.
"For the last few years, the Super Bowl has been touted as the biggest trafficking event, especially for minors, in the country. While there have definitely been some reported cases, the statistics just don't bear out this claim. The real crime is happening when no one's looking and no one cares, not when every media outlet, advocate and cop has its sights set on it. As the founder and executive director of GEMS, the nation's largest direct service provider to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked girls and young women, and as a survivor and a long-time public advocate for raising awareness of this issue, I am probably surprising some people by saying this. But, frankly, it needs to be said. Hyperbole only obscures the true issue and damages the movement's credibility. It's critical that as a field that we pay attention to statistics, ensure that the information we're putting out there is accurate, and make sure people focus on the larger systemic issues that exacerbate and make young people so vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, instead of focusing on media-friendly quick fixes and sensationalized stories."
"As a movement, we've worked hard over the last decade to get people to recognize that commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking is even happening in the U.S., and sometimes the anger and outrage at what we're seeing -- girls beaten, raped, sold and then frequently criminalized and scorned by society -- can overtake a balanced response. In a effort to get people to care about this issue, we've been less than careful with the statistics and in an effort to get the media to cover this story we've often reduced it to the most basic elements. (I've been guilty of this too.) We've focused on quick fixes and good vs. evil responses that rarely address the true causes or empower the young people that we're serving. In doing so, we've played right into the hands of those who'd like to deny that this is even happening, those who are profiting handsomely from the continued exploitation. The truth is that there are likely more girls and young women who are trafficking victims being sold on Backpage.com than there are being brought to the Super Bowl this year. We don't need to hype anything up or sensationalize it, the truth is bad enough."
Joseph Kony is the military leader of a group who call themselves The Lord's Resistance Army. The LRA are famous for abducting children in Uganda and enslaving them as child soldiers and sex slaves. Chances are that, if you've heard of him, it was through the viral video called "Invisible Children: Stop Kony" that circulated in 2012. When Invisible Children came under scrutiny as to how they were handling the funds that had been donated, skepticism grew and interest dwindled.
Joseph Kony did not begin his terrorist career in 2012 when he was first noticed by the international community. He began gaining a following in the 1980s, and was one of the first men on the wanted list of the International Criminal Court in 2005. He is still wandering free in Uganda, still evading capture and still capturing and enslaving children. For more information on child soldiers, click here. Make sure that you know the facts and not the fad.