Human trafficking is modern-day slavery

  • Published
  • By AF Commanders' Call Topics
  • U.S. Air Force
The most insidious trait of human trafficking is not the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force.

It's not the other forms of coercion--abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or the exploitation of another human being's vulnerability that makes human trafficking such a menace.

It is not the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another, for the purpose of exploitation, that makes human trafficking so destructive.

Nor is it the sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the illegal harvesting of organs that makes human trafficking so toxic.

The most insidious, menacing, destructive, toxic trait of human trafficking is that it hides in plain sight.

Most of us deny or ignore its existence. Some don't even know what it is and what it means. Is it surprising to know that trafficked persons live and work in our communities, producing the goods and services we use every day?

Human trafficking isn't a border problem. By definition, trafficked persons don't need to be transported from one place to another. By definition, trafficking is forced labor. Persons are enslaved and can't leave because of threats, physical and sexual abuse, imposed debts, fear of law enforcement and immigration consequences, unpaid wages and shame.

According to the U. S. State Department's 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report, "Social Scientists estimate that as many as 27 million men, women and children are trafficking victims at any given time." Of these 27 million, less than one percent is identified.

Human trafficking can be overwhelmingly complex in terms of human rights, organized crime, international economics and homeland security. Its detection can be as simple as recognizing the indicators of human trafficking, posted on Department of Homeland Security website, and alerting the authorities.

A non-profit organization, Global Freedom Center is advancing the cause against human trafficking throughout the world.

The Air Force, with bases and installations worldwide, is uniquely positioned to impact human trafficking prevention through training to recognize human trafficking, by knowing how to help trafficking victims without endangering oneself or the victim, and by knowing each link in the supply chain that provides food, clothing and daily services.

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