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Human trafficking most frequently evokes thoughts of the global sex trade. But a new World Vision report calls attention to labor trafficking, which is often hidden from view but is among the most damaging forms of child exploitation.
Human trafficking is often associated with the sex trade. But a new report on human trafficking in Asia's Mekong region indicates that the sale of people into slavery in industries like fishing, food processing, and domestic work is the most common form of trafficking and needs increased public attention.
World Vision's report (pdf), "10 things you need to know about labor trafficking in the Greater Mekong sub-region," lays out 10 facts about trafficking in an effort to broaden dialogue, and raise awareness about who becomes enslaved, and where.
The document is based on findings from other reports, as well as case studies collected by World Vision in the course of its efforts to fight trafficking across the region. It notes that, across the Asia Pacific region, there are an estimated three people trafficked for every 1,000 inhabitants. Globally, for every person forced into the sex trade, nine are forced to work.
"Trafficking for labor exploitation is generally not considered as severe a crime as trafficking for sexual exploitation, and there is a high level of impunity for offenders," the report says.
"Victims of labor trafficking are often not identified as such, and instead are detained and deported from the country where the exploitation took place. As a result, the majority of trafficked persons do not have access to assistance or justice, and the traffickers remain free to exploit others."
Among the ten truths are the following:
"Governments are slowly addressing the issue of trafficking for labor," says Abid Gulzar, trafficking program policy manager for the Greater Mekong region, who helped produce the report.
"But let's face it: This is the 21st century, and slavery of any form should be eradicated. Many of us are, for example, eating fish or shrimp that was caught or processed by the victims of trafficking."
The "10 things" report also comes with a list of recommendations about how to fight labor trafficking:
The report also urges consumers to learn more about where the products they use or eat come and contribute to the fight against labor trafficking.
Download the full report (pdf), "10 things you need to know about labor trafficking in the Greater Mekong sub-region."
Pray for children and families who have been devastated by labor trafficking, and pray for the political will to effectively fight this tragic practice around the world.
Contact your members of Congress today. Urge them to support reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This legislation provides key tools in the fight against global human trafficking, but it must be renewed every few years. The current version of TVPA expires on September 30, 2011.
Give monthly to support children affected by trafficking and exploitation. Your monthly gift will help provide assistance like safe shelter, food, education, trauma recovery counseling, and more.