Central America is an impoverished region rife with gang violence and human trafficking - the third largest crime industry in the world - as a major source of migrants heading towards the United States.
“Human trafficking is when someone is taken from Nigeria to another country to be a prostitute. Or, to do other illegal jobs that are not good for humanity,” said Kingsley Chidiebere, a commercial motorcycle rider in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.
After his father passed away two years ago, the burden of caring for a six-member family rested on the shoulders of the now 19-year-old Farhad Hossain. He had no clue how he would support his family and pay for the education of his four younger siblings.
Haseena Akhtar was only 13 when an agent told her parents that they could earn a good amount of money by letting her marry a Kashmiri man. The man was, however, three times older than Akhtar, the agent said.
Six years ago Mary Njambi* received news of a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity far away from her poverty-stricken village situated in the heart of Kiambu County, Central Kenya. She was 20 years old, a single mother and out of work.
In 2017, Zubedah Nakitende’s electronics shop was robbed with thieves taking her entire stock. But she had heard from a colleague about lucrative jobs in Jordan and decided to take on work as a domestic helper, earning an income of 740 dollars a month.
Hope Oyiza, a Nigerian human trafficking survivor has said the Nigerian authority in charge of preventing the trafficking of persons, as well as punishing offenders, is lagging behind in her duties because many of the officials collect bribes from arrested human traffickers. Then, release them.
The United States is no exception to the practice of modern day slavery—a crime for which it is rarely held accountable at the United Nations.
The darkest underbelly of human existence hides right in front of us – modern day slaves are the foundation of the third largest criminal economy on the planet.
Human trafficking for sexual exploitation has been steadily increasing in Canada. The most recent statistics indicate that 2016 had the highest recorded rate of human trafficking, with one police-reported incident for every 100,000 people in Canada. Despite these staggering numbers, reported cases make up just a small part of a larger, secretive industry where most incidents of sex trafficking fall under the radar.
Mubeen Ahmad was nine years old when his mother sold him into service to a mechanic for the petty sum of few thousand Indian rupees. His mother had found it hard to support the family after his father, a labourer, was killed during one of the anti-India protests in Jammu and Kashmir in 2008.
On a bus in Cotonou, Benin’s commercial capital, four Nigerian girls aged between 15 and 16 sit closely together as they are about to embark on the last part of their journey to Mali, where they are told that their new husbands, whom they never have met, await them.
“They forcefully took us away and kept us like prisoners,” Lydia Musa, a former Boko Haram captive who was abducted at the age of 14 during an attack on her village in Gwoza, in Nigeria’s north eastern Borno State, tells IPS. Musa and two other underaged girls were captured and forced to marry Boko Haram fighters in spite of their protests that they were too young to marry.
"They mislead the workers, tell them that they will be paid well and pay them much less. The recruiters and the employers deceive them," complained Marilyn Gómez, a migrant farm worker in Mexico.
Women and girls from Myanmar are increasingly being trafficked as “brides” to China, a human rights group found.
Modern slavery and human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries and one of the biggest human rights crises today, United Nations and government officials said.
The United Nations, which diligently monitors human rights violations worldwide, believes that centuries-old slavery still exists worldwide.
While natural hazards like hurricanes, exacerbated by climate change, are causing people to migrate, it’s conflict, violence and persecution that have forced more than 68.5 million people
from their homes today, exposing them to higher risks and increased vulnerability, especially women and children.
After an exhaustive study of modern day slavery, the Geneva-based International Labour Organization (ILO) concluded there are over 40 million people who are victims of slavery, including 25 million in forced labour and 15 million in forced marriages – with at least 71 percent of them comprising women and girls.
The media globally tends to have a bias to negative, sensational and headline grabbing stories and events and this certainly applies to reporting related to human trafficking in the third world. With the abundance of stories around sweat shops, massage parlours and organ trafficking networks happening ‘somewhere else’, the West is generally desensitised, lacks empathy and fails to fully appreciate the scale of the problem which sits right under their noses and in plain sight.