Last week I was privileged to attend a conference on Human Trafficking here in Phnom Penh. This was something that I new little about but have a keen interest as many of the girls who work for us have been trafficked (that means sold into their work, most often by their families). The purpose of the conference was to initiate dialogue between the South East Asia countries and the EU.There were about 80 in attendance with 18 different speakers. The main forms of trafficking are forced labour and sex work, with a growing trade in human organs being sold in Asia. There was general agreement that there was disagreement (!) with many minor issues such as specific wording and terminology but this paled into insignificance with the overall agreement that more needed to be done and will be done to unite these two continents to combat this atrocity. Here are just a few facts…
It is the fastest growing crime since the 1990’s.
21 million people are in forced labor in the world of which 68% are in forced labor work and 22% are in forced sexual labor work.
The sale of organs is the third biggest reason for the trafficking of people.
In 2013 54,000 people were smuggled to Europe from China and Vietnam.
South East Asia is the No 1 area for exporting victims.
136 different nationalities are trafficked to 118 different countries around the world.
This crime is driven by poverty….it is the illiterate and vulnerable who are targeted.
As someone who works with those who have come out of trafficking I was one of the few at the conference who was able to see the results of opportunities of freedom for people. This is all one BIG mess and something that many in the Western world are unaware of but as the figures show it is a crime that is on the increase and a crime against humanity. However much time, effort and money it takes I know first hand that it is all worth it. There is no price you can put on someone’s freedom, although the scars of being trafficked probably last a lifetime…..