World Day Against Trafficking

Today is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which like all international days, is intended to raise public awareness about global problems—few of which are as pervasive and universally revolting as human trafficking.

The graphic below from the United Nations does an excellent job of revealing the many forms and contexts of human trafficking, most of which is driven by sexual exploitation. The focus on Jeffery Epstein and his despicable ilk risks narrowing or sensationalizing a crime that is shockingly far more common, in all segments of society, often right in front of us.

Image may contain: text that says 'MEANS ACT Recruitment Transport Transfer bouring Receipt of persons PURPOSE Exploitation, Exploitat induding Prostitution of others Sexual exploitation Forced labour Threat or use offorce Coercion Abduction Fraud Deception Abuse of power or ulnerability Giving payments.or benefits TRAFFICKING Slavery.or similar practices Removalo organs Other types.of exploitation'

Traffickers and their clients come from every background and have been outed in virtually every industry, from pornography to sports. Many are outwardly normal or even likable; some are rich and powerful, but many are not. Plenty of them are sleazy or creepy, but many of them are popular and even respectable members of their community or society as a whole. Their victims could seem like willing friends, partners, or employees, and may even be manipulated into believing they are.

All these factors make this scourge of humanity harder to fight. We would all do well to be vigilant and look beyond the narrower and more sensationalist forms this crime can take; it’s a lot closer to us than we think.

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