This month we are tackling the subject of child trafficking trough the lovely book, Anybody’s Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young. Did you know, according to a UN report from 2012, there are 2.4 million people throughout the world who are victims of human trafficking at any given moment? In this annual US$32 billion industry, 80 percent of victims are being exploited as sexual slaves.
Children are at risk because of their vulnerable characteristics; naïve outlook, size, and tendency to be easily intimidated”. The International Labor Organization estimates that of the 20.9 million people who are trafficked in the world (for all types of work) 5.5 million are children. 5.5 MILLION!
4 Ways A Child Can B Sold Into Slavery:
In gang-controlled trafficking, the victim is controlled by more than one person. Gangs are more often turning to sex trafficking as it is seen as safer and more lucrative than drug trafficking. A victim controlled by gang trafficking may be sexually exploited by gang members as well as sold outside of the gang. They may tattoo their victims to show their ownership over them.
In familial trafficking, the victim is controlled by family members who allow them to be sexually exploited in exchange for something, such as drugs or money. For example, a mother may allow a boyfriend to abuse a child in exchange for a place to stay. Often, the mother was a victim of human trafficking herself. Usually, it begins with one family member and spreads from there. Familial trafficking may be difficult to detect because they often have a larger degree of freedom, such as going to school. They may not understand that they are being trafficked or may not have a way out.
A forced marriage is a marriage where one or both participants are married without their freely given consent. Servile marriage is defined as a marriage involving a person being sold, transferred or inherited into that marriage. According to ECPAT, “Child trafficking for forced marriage is simply another manifestation of trafficking and is not restricted to particular nationalities or countries”.
A forced marriage qualifies as a form of human trafficking in certain situations. If a woman is sent abroad, forced into the marriage and then repeatedly compelled to engage in sexual conduct with her new husband, then her experience is that of sex trafficking. If the bride is treated as a domestic servant by her new husband and/or his family, then this is a form of labor trafficking.
In survival sex, the victim is not necessarily controlled by a certain person but feels they have to perform sexual acts in order to obtain basic commodities to survive. They are considered a victim of sex trafficking if they are below the age of consent and are legally unable to consent to the sexual acts.
In the words of writer, Linda Thomas, “In our society people should not be able to order a girl for sex the same way they can order a pizza and have it delivered to their home.”