Flesh for Cash
By Maryam Hussain

January 4, 2009

Human trafficking is the transportation and recruitment of people for the purposes of forced labor, slavery, prostitution and sexual exploitation. These victims are trafficked from countries like South Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia to the United States, the United Kingdom etc. It should be made clear that many countries that are the ‘source’ may also be the destination for some people. South Korea and Vietnam, both, are examples of source and destination.
The exploitation includes forced labor, prostitution, slavery, soldier training, and early marriages. It is a very prosperous business for the traffickers but the victims themselves are not paid well, because their ‘owners’ take the largest share. Usually the victims are given just enough for their survival. The people who benefit the most are no doubt the owners.
We often tend to confuse the concept of human trafficking and human smuggling. Human trafficking enslaves the victims, their basic rights are taken away and they are highly exploited. Smuggling on the hand may be carried out with the consent of the people. On reaching their destination they are usually free to find their own way.
The trafficking victims are tricked and made false promises to. A criminal may use different tactics to make the victim agree. For example women may be promised highly paid jobs such as modeling and acting, but once they reach their final destination they are handed over to the wolves to begin their endless journey of hardships. They then realize that their ‘job description’ is very different from what they were told. But once they enter this kind of a dangerous and difficult network it is hard escape.
The trafficking of children, as we all may know is usually the result of poverty. The parents may sell their children to the traffickers in order to pay their debts or to better their financial crises. Sometimes the parents are told that their children will b travelling to other countries to gain training and better income opportunities, however this is not the case. The children are forced into slavery and prostitution.
Three months from now the FBI in America arrested a Guatemalan woman, 28 years of age. The FBI announced they had been able to shut down one of the most profitable sex trafficking businesses in the entire country. According to the report the arrested woman, Maria Rodriguez Vasquez along with her relatives and other people was able to lure a large number of girls to the United States with the promise of good jobs. Some of the girls were as young as 13 year old.
Hema (the name has been changed to protect the identity of the girl) a 12 year old was previously living in the village of Karataka, on the East Coast of India. Her parents had a farm which was destroyed due to the drought so they were facing financial troubles. Her parents sent her to Bangalore on the insistence of another man who promised her a well-paid job. When she reached her destination along with five other girls she was enslaved. She was treated very badly and was not at any time allowed to step outside the big mansion. She is however one of the lucky girls who was rescued and did not have to return to the living hell.
Another such victim, Anna, who has asked to keep her identity a secret, was trafficked to Malaysia from Philippines in early 2007. She was promised job as a waitress however the traffickers had something different in mind for her, prostitution. She was forced into signing a contract showing she was indebted to the traffickers. Due to the ‘contract’ she was not able to return to her homeland unless she paid back the traffickers. The crying Anna tells how she was forced to work up to 17 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In June 2007 Anna’s mother in Philippines became restless for her daughter. She pressurized the Philippine embassy in Malaysia to look into the matter. After tracking her down the officials asked the pimp to about Anna’s well-being. Anna was forced to call her mother and tell her she was fine and was working, if she did otherwise she would be jailed in Malaysia. She did as told but memorized the embassy’s number and later the same evening called them again. She was rescued.

Human trafficking has a devastating effect on the victims. These people suffer emotion, physical and psychological torture. They are raped, beaten and in some cases killed. But the affect is not limited to them only; it threatens the national security in a country. It is a global issue which should be dealt with. Serious steps should be taken by the governments and human rights organizations to hinder this process of exploitation of basic rights.

Wikipedia, www.humantrafficking.org www.stopthetraffik.org

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