There isn’t only nice stories and beauty in our new definition of space and time brought by globalization. The increase in cross-cultural exchanges is probably what globalization has best to offer. Odious social effects are sadly too many. We will try to take them one by one and help raise awareness of things we rather not see, but still exist.
Globalization has resulted in an unprecedented flow of capital, goods and services, and labor across the entire world. We always make a big deal out of capital flows and emerging markets but what about the flow of people seeking work outside of their home countries or people transported against their will ?
“Human trafficking represents perhaps the worst form of labor exploitation and can be regarded as one of the dark sides of globalization” (Jones, Engstrom, & Hilliard, 2007, p. 107).
Really, who cares ?
Human trafficking is the fastest growing and the second largest criminal enterprise in the world. As you read this, 27 million people are trapped In slavery among which, 13 million are children. Slavery supposedly was abolished centuries ago…
Let’s be honest: as with many other important social issues, when we are forced to face it (once in a full moon..), we feel disgust, fear and hopelessness.
It lasts for a few minutes, maybe hours for those of us who are less busy.
Once we are back and plugged into facebook reading the status of our friend saying their dog loves apple pie, all this seems just like a bad dream.
This can happen to you, today.
Now, do not think that because you live in France, Canada or America you are not concerned.
“people and children are not just trafficked out of Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa into Western countries such as the U.S., England and Canada, but the opposite is also true. There is a huge market for young, white girls in the developing countries. Criminals who do business in human sex trafficking also abduct girls from Western countries and force them into sexual slavery in countries where they have no rights.” About half of the missing women and children in western countries are suspected to be exploited into slavery in other countries.
One day, your own child, sister or friend can come across the path of a criminal in search for new flesh. The mere thought of this happening should be enough of a reason for EVERYBODY to realize that this is OUR PLAGUE and not only theirs. Human trafficking is pernicious, well equipped and organized. It can strike anywhere, anytime. The only reason why we don’t see it is because it is meant to be invisible and very well-organized: it requires humongous financial and technological resources to stay underground and avoid public scrutiny.
What if tomorrow, the poor country…is yours ! (if you think it is not likely to happen: read the news)
Not only is the mobility of capital, the openness of political borders, and the deregulation of trade a facilitator, but the impact of globalization on wealth distribution is a direct trigger as well.
Supply countries are those where living standards sometimes do not include a ceiling or enough food everyday. These countries see their victims dreaming about a better life in a richer country and hope for a respectable job. They only end up being trapped, most of the time, through abduction, violence and threats, when initially thinking they were going be better off.
Young and naive people who hold unrealistic visions of Paris or New York are especially vulnerable and the best targets. Criminals would shout and offer opportunities of becoming models or waitresses to set easy traps for their pray and lure them into their web.
This is a short cut, nevertheless true: since the distribution of wealth is pretty much indexed into financial markets direction, and we all know how stable they are, you can think of your country as the next potential supply country.
Wherever we are, the balance of wealth is not immutable.
Abduction is not always necessary to trap people into slavery
Everyone who has traveled outside their own country can recall at least one anecdote of being treated differently because they were foreigners.
Depending on where you are in the world, whether corruption is well established or not, or how strong your self-protection power is, you are more or less exposed to becoming a victim of discrimination as an immigrant. Being treated as an outsider when you are an immigrant can be more than just an unpleasant feeling. Sometimes, the protection and rights offered to immigrants compared to citizens actually differ and can be the root cause of dangerous situations in the future.
Either through social ostracism or quasi-legal exploitation, harm to immigrants can range from racism behaviors to mere human rights violations.
What can we do about it ?
There is an important need to give a human face to international migration as well as a need to develop rehabilitation programs for all the victims of human traffic resting in shelters, emergency rooms, and mental health facilities. We can all help by at least raising awareness.
See below to find resources and organizations that fight against human trafficking- These exists in every country.
Relevant to TIP
|TIP Focal Point|
|Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (A/RES/55/25) (2000)
United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons
|Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children
Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
|African Union (AU)
|Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children (2006)
(Being updated for 2011-2013)
|Association of Southeast Nations
|ASEAN Declaration Against Trafficking
in Persons, Particularly Women and
ASEAN Trafficking in Persons Handbook
on International Cooperation (2010)
|Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
(in Russian only)
|Agreement on the Cooperation of the CIS Member States in Combating Trafficking in Persons, Human Organs and Tissues (2005)
Programme of Cooperation of the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States in combating Human Trafficking (2011-2013)
|Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT)
|COMMIT Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Against Trafficking in Greater Mekong Sub-Region (2004)
Second COMMIT Sub-Regional Plan of Action (2008-2010)
|UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP)|
|Council of Europe (COE)
|COE Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005)||Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA)|
|Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
|Declaration on the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (2001)
ECOWAS Initial Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons (2002-2003), extended until 2011
Joint ECOWAS/ECCAS Regional Plan
of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children
|European Union (EU)
|Brussels Declaration on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (2002)
Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and
Protecting Victims (2011)
|European Commission Anti-Trafficking Coordinator|
|International Labour Organization (ILO)
|ILO Convention No. 29 on Forced Labour
ILO Convention No. 105 on Abolition of Forced Labour
ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour
|League of Arab States (LAS)
(in Arabic only)
|Arab Framework Act on Combating Trafficking in Persons (2008)
Arab Initiative to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2010)
|Organization of American States (OAS)
|Work Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Western Hemisphere 2010-2012
[AG/RES. 2551 (XL-O/10)]
|Coordinator Against Trafficking
|Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
|OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (2003)
Platform for Action Against Human Trafficking (2007)
|Special Representative and
Co-ordinator on Trafficking in
|Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) (Puebla Group)
|Regional Conference on Migration Plan
|Southern African Development Community (SADC)
|SADC Regional Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons (2009-2019)||N/A|
|South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
|SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution (2002)||Regional Task Force|