Human Trafficking: What We Know, What We Don’t Know

It’s been a long time, but I am back to my regularly scheduled blogging program. Sessions started back the beginning of this month and while I’ve had many great classes until now, the one that I found most interesting was the assignment we did this past Friday.

Jerry Leisure – International Director for Compassion 2 One and Nick Sumner (MET- Trafficking division) spoke to us about human trafficking.

After the in-class discussion, we broke up into teams to try to come up with new ways of helping the fight against human trafficking. We had to come up with at least three ideas that we felt we could implement towards the cause. Afterwards, each team would present their ideas to the class and they would be judged by Jerry, Nick, and Dr. Beaumont, kind of like an Apprentice type thing.

We were supposed to be in teams of around 5. My team ended up with seven, which was fortunate because we came up with some really good ideas.

To begin, we went into the Town Center to find out what people know about human trafficking.

They know virtually nothing. The general assumption is that human trafficking involves the kidnapping and sale of women and children who are then forced into the sex industry. Which is correct, but that’s not all there is.

In addition to the sex slaves, human trafficking produces slave labor, as well as illegal harvesting and sale of organs. One of my teammates noted an instance where a young man met a woman in a club. She lured him back to her place where people were waiting to harvest his organs. They took what they wanted and left him dead in a bathtub.

Human trafficking is far reaching and effects us all.

During our survey of the Kingston population, I realized that one of the biggest problems with the belief that human trafficking only involves sex, is that it becomes easy to dismiss as a problem faced by others. There are no brothels, no prostitutes here, therefore, we have no part in it. But this is not the case.

Women, children, and even men can fall prey to traffickers.

My team’s goal was to bring awareness to how vast the problem is and offer ways people can help in the prevention of human trafficking.

Our first focus was on Awareness. For this we decided the best way to educate people was through media. We would all forms of media, including but not limited social media, print media, and videos. Through these we would be able to get people to understand that human trafficking is much bigger than people and show little things that they could do in daily lives that would make a big difference.

One of the things I’m constantly coming up against when talking about any public issue is that the problem seems so insurmountable that people don’t think they can do anything about it. We talked to a gentleman about switching his coffee to one endorsed by Fairtrade. He said he could do it, but didn’t see the value in it.

We would want people to understand that they don’t have to be a big organization to help with a big problem. There are tiny things that we can do that may mean nothing to us, but make a huge difference to someone else. People think if it’s something easy than it’s not important. But no one starts with a bucket of water. We start with drops that add up. It may be that we only save one child at a time. But if you can imagine being that one child, you can understand how important these steps are.

Talking about prevention led us to our other idea. Human trafficking education in schools. This would be taught the same way schools teach sex education. Student would learn what human trafficking is and how ways to keep from becoming a victim.

Our last idea was to take footage from the CCTV cameras all over England that show people being taken. The clips would be edited together along with the name of the city to show the rest of the public that this happened everywhere and anyone can be a victim of it.

The judges liked idea one and three the best. They really loved the CCTV. The only problem they said in implementing it would be the time it takes to get court orders for the footage, finding the footage, editing and all that.

Another team won the competition overall, but it was still a really fulfilling day. Jerry was really impressed by the ideas that came out and thinks some of them they may be able to use.


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