World’s largest Haven of Refugees

World’s largest Haven of Refugees

According to United Nations, the number of displaced refugees has increased to millions since World War II. People from war torn countries are fleeing their homes to seek refuge to other peaceful nations. In 2014, there were “almost 60 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) around the globe”. This number has increased rapidly in the last two years. Despite the fact, many displaced victims are encountering challenges in finding a home to stay. The high number of refugees and countries involved is a good sign to recognize this as a global crisis.

Although we don’t hear this often, I want to address about a number of places which hundreds of refugees have called home- the Daadab and Kakuma Refugee Camps in Kenya. Dadaab is the largest Refugee Camp located at the boarder of Kenya and Somalia. The camp was originally built as a transition temporary shelter to house 90,000 refugees after the war broke in Somalia. This year, the camp will reach it’s 25th year anniversary since formal establishment. As of today, there are over 350,000 refugees at this camp per United Nations statistics. Some refugees have lived in the camp for more than 5 years.

Through Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), these refugees are assisted to resettle to other countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and other selected European countries. The Kakuma Refugee Camp was established in 1992 to help refugees that were fleeing from war and persecution in Sudan. Since then, it has expanded to help refugees from Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi. The Kakuma camp has assisted hundreds of thousands refugees. The Kenyan government has played a big role by opening a door to these refugees under humanitarian grounds and its hospitality nature. The majority of refugees affected include vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities and those that have gone through sexual exploitation. Statistics point to World’s largest Haven of Refugees approximately half of these victims being children. If these camps did not exist, the situation for people seeking refuge could have been much worse. These camps have supported many refugees and provided them with access to asylum and international protection. From many stories I have heard, there is a strong urge to address the long-term solution for this humanitarian crisis.

The only way to achieve this goal is through unification from all continents. The main body that has been supporting the refugee population is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supported by UNICEF, the World Food Program and other organizations. This collaborative effort is the key reason to many refugees having a chance to preserve their basic human rights.

The existence of the Dadaab and Kauma camps in Kenya came to mind after recent articles where refugees are sent back to their home countries as they attempt to seek refuge and freedom in developed countries. There is a backlash from many countries that formerly welcomed refugees with few restrictions. Although the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps have helped many families resettle peacefully, there are few challenges. The camps are located in semi-arid areas. Once a refugee is admitted to the camp, they have limited movement; they cannot leave the camp without permission. Nowadays, things have tightened more due to security reasons whereby when a refugee desires to leave the camp, they have to go through an intense vetting process. A family shares their point of view of the current situation in Dadaab: “On one of the walls of a neighboring family’s hut an out-of-date calendar shows a green meadow, contrasting to the surroundings. Massive deforestation has left Dadaab devoid of almost all vegetation.

An insatiable appetite for charcoal and wood for the construction of houses has stripped the ground bare. The golden brown soil stretches as far as the eye can see.” Life is never the same going through displacement from one’s residence. However, being at least secure from the terrible hostilities so many individuals have experienced, and having a place of refuge (no matter how poor the condition) ensures lives are at the very least, saved.

This Article was Contributed by Ruth Njoroge 

Our Answer to Refugee Crisis – H.E.R Iraq

Our Answer to Refugee Crisis – H.E.R Iraq

H.E.R Iraq Blog PostWe are often struck with dumbfounded belief, as we try to comprehend the sheer immensity of the plight that has become appropriately termed the “Global Refugee Crisis”. With over 60 million human beings identified as being refugees, or persons who have been forced to flee their homes to escape war, persecution, or disasters of nature, we ask ourselves – how did it ever come to this? 60 million… that is approximately one out of every 122 persons on Earth being forced to suddenly leave behind what what they have for years referred to as home. Imagine if you or I suffered this fate, imagine if one fine day we are suddenly forced to flee for the safety of ourselves, our children, our families? We leave everything behind, our life savings, possessions, our very spirit and existence – our dreams, hopes, our plans for the future shattered in one fell swoop

For many of us this is a scenario too horrific to imagine, and yet for so many millions, this has become a daily reality with no immediate signs of relief. Even within the presumably safe haven of refugee camps, women and young girls are being sexually exploited, and young boys are forced into child labor or inadvertently led to crimes and further destructional forms of behavior

How has it come to this? What has the world been doing, watching on silver screens the violence that occurs constantly around the globe. What have we been doing, going about our daily lives, in all respects basically ignoring this problem which has spread like a vicious, unrelenting cancer in our society

Global terrorism, government corruption, it has become the case of the strong too often and too mercilessly preying on the weak. What do most people in our society desire anyway, other than leading simple lives of peace, and quiet? What ill have they done to deserve such treatment and disregard from the world? And now we receive stories of UN Peacekeepers themselves committing acts of trafficking, of sexual exploitation – wherein lies the hope if the people that claim to protect us are themselves committing the crimes they promised to fight against? In the picture attached to this message I stand with Mrs. Perikhan Shawky, Iraq’s Consul General in Los Angeles.

A brilliant, lively, courageous and fearless woman, Mrs. Shawky’s story of oppression and struggle through the Saddam regime moves and inspires even the most tame of hearts. Our meeting lasted hours, as we discussed over Kurdish tea and sweets our duty and obligation to devote our lives towards the betterment and safety of our peoples

ISSHR Founder Rajiv Uttamchandani meets  Mrs. Perikhan ShawkyHow may we use technology to provide education, protection, and hope, to the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced?

How may we unite a country so divided in political and religious agendas?

What can we do, to serve and preserve justice in a region where war and oppression have become… normal

– Rajiv Uttamchandani, Founder and Chairman

In response to the global refugee crisis primarily originating in Syria and Iraq, the International STEM Society for Human Rights has commenced with strategizing important initiatives to be implemented in the Iraqi / Kurdistan region. The International STEM Society for Human Rights’ H.E.R. Iraq Chapter represents our future operations in the country and is dedicated primarily to aid the Yazidi population and other refugees in their recovery process by providing technological tools which provide education, psychological support, mentorship, and a connection to the global populace whereby individuals can become global activists towards their individual plights and the human rights cause overall.

Summarizing The Problem

(Source: Human Rights Watch)

The conflict between the extremist group Islamic State, or ISIS, and government forces, including allied militias, dominated the human rights situation in 2015. ISIS executed hundreds of civilians and forced women into sexual slavery. Pro-government militias engaged in widespread destruction of homes and shops after the battle. Government forces carried out allegedly indiscriminate air and artillery attacks . Both ISIS and militias used child soldiers. Enforced disappearance and torture remained rife. ISIS prevented civilians from leaving conflict zones, and government authorities sometimes prevented people fleeing ISIS access to safe areas or prevented their return to their homes.

Despite over 4 million refugees and internally displaced persons currently living in Iraq, there exists no program which provides comprehensive education and psychological support to traumatized victims. The Yazidi population especially, with literacy rates close to only 8% for women and 40% for men, further place them at a dire state with little hope for healthy recovery.

Our Mission

Preserve Universal Human Rights End Violence Against Women Increase Awareness of Yazidi Genocide & Support for Recovery of Yazidis Empower & Educate Iraqi Refugee Population To begin with addressing the current refugee crisis, the International STEM Society for Human Rights shall:

I. Provide virtual education, security measures, and psychological support through the provision of smartphones / tablets / laptops to refugee girls and boys who have experienced the worst form of physical and psychological trauma.

A. ISSHR will begin a pilot program by September 2016 by providing 10 laptops, smartphones, and/or tablets to select Iraqi refugees residing in camps through the city of Duhok.

B. Security measures will be given in the form of smartphone applications which provide quick alert systems to grassroots NGOs and organiza- tions who provide immediate psychological support.

C. Education will be provided through laptops and/or tablets, with content and focus in the form of technology literacy, English literacy, vocational skills, music, art, and reading / writing.

D. The primary goal for this form of education will be to empower refugees to fight for their cause, to become contributing and responsible citizens to their society, and to become global human rights activists, working independently or with NGOs to preserve universal human rights.

E. Education and psychological support / mento ring will be provided virtually through laptops and/or tablets, and will be coordinate with both local and international professionals who are able speak Arabic / Kurdish and are formally enrolled in this program.

F. Education will be provided in the form of both online (virtual classroom) and offline (apps/ programs) and ISSHR will develop appropriate software to aid in this process.

G. Select members of ISSHR will host regular Skype sessions (with appropriate interpreters) with the refugee girls and boys to empower them to become leaders to their cause, and to continually engage in dialogue / feedback to ensure their proper ownership of the program as well.

II. Visit schools throughout Iraq and provide Assemblies / Talks which emphasize on universal human rights and empowerment for the local population. The focus of these visits will be to officially collaborate with Iraqi schools and expose them to an international network of schools already collaborating with ISSHR through the H.E.R. Challenge / Clubs program.

III. Promote awareness of the Iraqi crisis and the Yazidi genocide through ISSHR’s existing programs / Clubs with a global network of schools in the Philippines, India, the United States, and soon other countries as well. Students may then volunteer with local Iraqi grassroots level NGOs through virtual means facilitated by ISSHR.

A. Students may record video testimonials and sign petitions to encourage international com- munity support for the rescue and healing of especially Yazidi girls and women still in ISIS captivity.

IV. On a larger scale, ISSHR shall seek to collaborate with the Iraqi government to ensure safety of women and children in the country, and to motivate / empower youth to become human rights activists working with government to ensure a good future for Iraq and its peoples.

The Superfood of WAR- Food Insecurity: A Strategic Weapon of War in Syria and Iraq

The Superfood of WAR- Food Insecurity: A Strategic Weapon of War in Syria and Iraq

the Superfood of war
“In total, wars where the aim is to subordinate, expel or eliminate a whole population, control of food becomes the means of choice to impose submission, flight or death.” – Action Against Hunger 

When we think of war, specifically weapons of war, food is often not the first to come to mind. The use of food as a strategic weapon during war, unrest and conflict has been used for centuries. These calculated methods have had and continue to have a tremendous impact.

Every strategic weapon of war can and should be analyzed in-depth. The focus on food insecurity within this article is by no means discounting the severity of any other type of weapon of war. The focus on Syria and Iraq does not discount the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) from other countries across the globe.

In 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that forced displacement exceeded all previous records

“for the first time topping 60 million, meaning that one out of every 122 persons on Earth has been forced to flee their home.” bird_twitter_new_single

“It was believed that famine resulted from a combination of natural disasters and mass poverty. Biafra taught otherwise: Hunger was a weapon of war.” -Action Against Hunger

In September 1968, the International Red Cross began treating victims of the war in Biafra. They quickly realized that they were treating malnourished children starving from the intentional infliction of hunger: “What use were doctors if they did not warn the world about the murderous use of a food blockade as a weapon of war? If we remained silent, we would be accomplices to the systematic massacre of a population.

From 1991 – 2002, the Revolutionary United Front used food deprivation and the halt of agricultural production as weapons of war during the Civil War in Sierra Leone.1 ISIS has been strategically limiting the supply of food and overtaking agriculture production as one of their calculated methods to target Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities.

Within the 17-year span between 1999-2016, ISIS has continued to grow in size by joining with multiple insurgents and recruiting individuals. Two major factors leading to their explosive growth were in 2011 when the U.S. military pulled out of Iraq and the start of the Civil War in Syria. March 15, 2016, marked the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Civil War, entering its sixth horrifying year.

In January 2016, U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, referenced the atrocities of civilians in the besieged town of Madaya, Syria at a news conference stating, “I would say they are being held hostage – but it is even worse. Hostages get fed.” Mr. Ban stressed, “the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.” The U.N. and partners have been working tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance, including the delivery of food. However, they were only able to deliver food to a very small percentage.

Various estimates range from a reach of 5 percent to less than 1 percent of individuals suffering from dire food insecurity.

Refugees and IDPs increased drastically when ISIS began its genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities as a self-proclaimed caliphate in 2014. ISIS began to strategically use food and agricultural infrastructure as a weapon. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. reported in 2014 that ISIS controlled 40 percent of Iraqi wheat and took control of wheat silo operations in Syria. Families who owned farms in both Syria and Iraq, who did not have their land and homes destroyed, had few options: flee, follow the harsh restrictions imposed by ISIS, enslavement, torture and/or death.

Syrian and Iraqi citizens face numerous hardships as refugees and IDPs. The increase of refugees in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt has strained resources. In September 2015, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, Muhannad Hadi, responded to the news that WFP had to cut its food assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan due to funding, “It’s devastating to hear a mother saying she ties scarves around her children’s bellies so they don’t wake up feeling hungry.”

The desperate need for food causes negative and unsustainable coping mechanisms. The U.N. reports that refugees are extremely vulnerable facing protection risks, and many have resorted to child labor and early marriage as living conditions deteriorate and all valuables are sold for food and basic needs. Increased human trafficking is seen along with sexual violence. The U.N. reports that financial constraints account for 39 percent of nonattendance in Jordanian schools for refugee children, with 19 percent of adolescent boys dropping out to work. The removal of the most basic human needs will remain a calculated strategy in war, and IDPs along with refugees in neighboring countries will continue to face the same repercussions. These negative, unsustainable coping mechanisms are a direct result of food insecurity.

The international community continues to work together to address not only the current situation, but also the future resettlement of refugees. The U.N. estimates that 1 in 10 Syrian refugees will need resettlement assistance. In both Syria and Iraq, agriculture remains key in the livelihoods of millions, both in conflict and post-conflict. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva stated, “Most of the displaced hope to return to their lands as soon as the conflict is over, but the impacts of conflict on food security often last long after the violence has subsided.” Syria and Iraq endured extensive damage to farmland, crops, livestock and agricultural infrastructure.

Farmers continue to leave their homes behind, due to financial constraints and ongoing conflict. Post-conflict, the U.N. and partners have recognized the numerous challenges faced by Iraqis and Syrians to fully rebuild and restore their farms and agricultural infrastructure.

In February 2016, WFP announced that funds pledged at the “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference” allowed them to fully reinstate their food assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt from March until the end of 2016 and to those within Syria from April until October 2016. Each month, the WFP feeds 4 million people across Syria and 1.5 million Syrian refugees who fled to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.bird_twitter_new_single

Not only is food used as a weapon of war, but also directly causes increased risks and threatens the future of all refugees and IDPs. bird_twitter_new_singleMany organizations are working to provide food and clean water to refugees and IDPs such as UNHCR, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, CARE, Islamic Relief USA, International Orthodox Christian Charities, Life for Relief and Development, Mercy-USA, World Vision, among countless others. You can help those in desperate need through donations, volunteering and advocacy. The simple act of sharing information has tremendous impact. The conflict has no end in sight, and the strategic use of food as a weapon of war will continue to inflict horrific challenges for one out of every 122 people worldwide.

This Article was contributed by Alexandra Lively in H.E.R Journal Vol 3


Human Rights: Did You Know?

Human Rights: Did You Know?

The term human rights basically means that every individual should share and enjoy the same freedoms and fundamental rights — in other words, the fact that you exist as a human being means that you have the right to life itself, which includes those things needed to survive such as food, clothing, shelter, and so forth. The human rights concept can actually be traced to ancient times; for example, the Ten Commandments, which prohibit murder and theft, thereby recognizing the right to life and property.

The old adage, “treat others the way you would like to be treated” can also apply to a discussion on human rights.

It is only when the rights of others are taken away, or abused, disregarded, and ignored that human rights becomes an issue. Unfortunately, the rights of humans have been violated since the beginning of time.

In 1944 a lawyer, Raphae l Lemkin introduced the term genocide to describe Adolph Hitler’s policy to persecute and exterminate a particular group of people, killing more than 6 million Jews. The Greek root word geno- means family or tribe and -cide means to kill, hence, the word genocide. In 1951, the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide came into force as international law, making genocide a crime. The Convention defined genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.” (Ethnic cleansing is another term, which is often associated with genocide.)

Since the time this famous document – the Convention was created, there have been other acts of genocide, and many other abuses of human rights, from war crimes and torture to the growing number of weapons of mass destruction (for example, nuclear bombs, chemical and biological warfare), landmines, and cluster bombs; from child soldiers to refugees; from women and children’s rights to terrorism; unfortunately, the list goes on and on.

Some of the lesser known facts

According to international law, the definition of war is an armed conflict between two or more governments or states. A more common definition is a large, prolonged conflict among political or ethnic groups. In an era of medical breakthroughs, no cure has yet been found for war. National Geographic- “Genocides and other mass murders killed more people in the twentieth century than all of the wars combined.”Twitter Button

By 1945, the Nazis had killed almost two out of every three European Jews. The Nazis did not only target Jews, they also killed homosexuals, mentally and physically disabled people, political opponents, Gypsies, people whose religion they did not agree with or accept (for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses), and more. About 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel after the Holocaust.

In 1941, in reference to the atrocities being committed by the Nazis, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated that “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.” (Three years later, lawyer Raphael Lemkin introduced the term genocide.)

Refugees flee their country because of fear (of persecution, threats, war, and more). More than 75 countries are affected by landmines but no one knows exactly how many are in the ground, the most landmine-contaminated countries include: Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chechnya, Colombia, Iraq, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. For over 40 years cluster bombs have killed and injured civilians during and after conflicts. Unexploded cluster bombs continue to kill and injure for days, months, even decades after a conflict.

Further more,

“Every year nearly 1 million young children and women are sold into sexual slavery”Twitter Button

Nearly 30% of the victims are between the ages of 9 and 15, and some are as young as 5 or 6 years old. A US$12 billion industry, protected by corrupt officials and an indifferent public, it continues to grow. Two to four million young women and children will be sold into slavery in the next 12 months.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for nonmedical reasons. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about 3 million girls are at risk for FGM annually.

What can be Done?Twitter Button

Here is a narration on an effort to abandon female genital cutting (FGC) and child-forced marriage. Molly Melching Born in the United States, Molly Melching went to Senegal in 1978 as an American exchange student from the University of Illinois. Upon graduating, she decided to stay in Senegal, where she then joined the Peace Corps and created the first radio program for children in different languages. Her work took her to different villages and she began to realize that much more work needed to be done. During the 1980s, she expanded her efforts and in 1991, Melching founded Tostan, a nongovernmental organization whose mission is “to empower African communities to bring about sustainable development and positive social transformation based on respect for human rights.” Tostan means breakthrough in the Wolof language.

Molly Melching and Tostan have become increasingly well known around the world for their endeavors to partner with African communities in an effort to abandon female genital cutting (FGC) and child-forced marriage. Since 1997, 3,307 villages in Senegal, 298 in Guinea, and 23 in Burkina Faso, as well as villages from three other African countries, have joined forces, abandoning the harmful practice known as FGC. In addition, more than 2,460 communities in West Africa have abandoned child marriage. Recognized for these accomplishments, Molly Melching was presented with the 1999 Humanitarian Alumni Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the 2002 Sergeant Shriver Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service. FGC and child marriage are sensitive topics for a number of reasons especially for Western countries and also because these are century-old traditions that require respect and understanding from outsiders. Molly Melching and Tostan have found a way to reach out to African communities and change the lives of thousands of women.

Article contributed by by C.D. Shridhar in ISSHR Journal Volume no.2 

HUMAN TRAFFICKING – The Plague of our Time (continued)

Continuing from the previous post…… Read Part 1 Here

Believe it or not, there is a deep connection between commerce and #human trafficking. It has been for centuries.Twitter-Icon

Lets’ take a look at supply chains. Suppliers and corporations cut production costs by demanding cheap labour, often exposing workers to poor and dangerous conditions. Forced and child labour are common in many industries. Due to the complex nature of global supply chains, many companies don’t know the origin of the components and ingredients in their products. This makes it difficult to guard against forced labour in their supply chains and easy for labour exploitation to remain hidden. But companies can decide to increase their efforts to guard against labour abuses in global supply chains and there are now legal instruments and guidelines that enhance corporate responsibility to fully respect human rights, companies have a duty to apply them.

Salaries play an important part, very low salaries increase vulnerability and the desire to search for a better life, which might lead to taking risks. In a number of countries the minimum legal wage is below the living wage. In such countries, when companies apply the minimum legal wage, “We all have a responsibility as the products we buy have an impact on the lives of the people who make them.” they don’t go against the law, but they are keeping workers in a state of poverty which as a consequence pushes them to respond to job offers, abroad or in the same country, and therefore take the risk of being trafficked.

Companies should strongly encourage suppliers to pay a living wage. There should be a balance between making a profit as a company and ensuring that your workers enjoy a decent life. But consumers also have a say in the story, we all have a responsibility as the products we buy have an impact on the lives of the people who make them. As individuals we should demand more information on where and how our products are made and put pressure on companies to provide transparency. We can choose to support the efforts of companies protecting workers rights. We can choose certified products that aim at respecting human rights, no system is perfect but these are strikes in the right direction. It is only by joining forces that we will fight trafficking efficiently.

Again, we all need to remember:

#Humantrafficking is everyone’s responsibility, we are all connected to one another and should take care of each other as human beings.Twitter-Icon

It is in our hands to create a world where no one is ever sold or exploited.

Estimates of the number of human trafficking victims range from 21 to 36 million people.Twitter-Icon

The wide range illustrates the difficulty of knowing exactly how many people are affected, and is a consequence of the hidden nature of the crime.

This article was contributed by Sylvie Bianchi, consultant on issues of violence against children and women and human trafficking.

Read more in the Feb Issue of H.E.R Journal

HUMAN TRAFFICKING – The Plague of our Time

HUMAN TRAFFICKING – The Plague of our Time

HumanTrafficking - Plague of our TimeFeatureSlavery still exits, today it goes by the name #human trafficking” Twitter-Icon

It is everywhere, in the cities we live in, in the purchases we make, it is often hidden and can be very hard to identify. Human trafficking has many forms, the most common ones are labor exploitation and sexual exploitation, but there is also forced marriage, forced begging, forced petty theft, domestic servitude, forced conversion, harvesting and selling of organs… Human trafficking is the exploitation of someone’s vulnerability through manipulation or coercion for the financial benefit of someone else. It is a grave violation of human rights and a very serious crime. Human trafficking can happen to anyone, anywhere, all it takes is a change in life circumstances, like losing a job, or seeking one desperately to get out of poverty, or falling in love with the very wrong person.

The most vulnerable group is composed of women and girls living in poverty. Building environment of self-sufficiency through education and awareness is key.Twitter-Icon 

Being aware that trafficking exists and how it can happen is essential to prevent potential victims from falling into traffickers’ traps. From Amal, who goes abroad with the promise of a contract in an accounting firm and ends up in extremely brutal forced prostitution, to Manan, who at the age of 6 is taken from his family to work in a mica mine in India and sees his best friend, age 7, die in the mine due to a collapse, to Teodora who is forced into prostitution by her mother-in-law and partner using her child as a weapon to threaten her, to Nadia who is being abducted by armed forces, raped, sold to men as a sex slave and forced to change religion, to Mark, who, regardless of his decent education, ends up in forced labour in Europe after loosing his job… Those are real stories of real people who have suffered horrendous abuses, who at some point in their lives were rescued or managed to escape and are now trying to build themselves a new future.

There are millions of victims and the number is increasing every year. If we really want to address human trafficking and get rid of it, it will take a holistic approach that brings together many actors and actions. We need to look at the root causes of trafficking and why it exists.

Vulnerability is a key factor – But let’s face it, #humantrafficking exists because there is a demand for it,  Twitter Buttondemand for cheap goods, inexpensive labour or sexual services and that demand needs to be addressed.

Amongst the root causes of trafficking you will find: family violence, violence against women and children, poverty, lack of education opportunities, lack of job opportunities, childhood abandonment, fragility of attachment bonds, non-respect of children’s rights, labour rights and human rights in general… Family violence for instance tends to be trans-generational, unless a person has had the chance and the strength to elaborate, reflect, digest and heal from abusive relationships, he or she has a high chance to repeat scenarios, identifying either with the abuser or with the victim and the cycle goes on. A number of victims of trafficking, particularly in sexual exploitation, have a history of violence during childhood or at some point in their lives, they often lack self-confidence.

It is important to look at the gender dimension of #humantrafficking too. Twitter-Icon

We have to consider and work on issues of respect and gender balance, women and girls being the primary target of traffickers, especially in sex trafficking. What if users of sexual services asked themselves what is the true story behind the face of the person offering the service? Do they know that many victims are acquainted with their traffickers and that in some cases the trafficker is even the victim’s boyfriend? Hard to believe that someone would fall into prostitution out of love, especially when you know that for the trafficker all that matters is the money he is making out of his girlfriend(s).

Various recent studies in Europe show the development of the “lover boy” technique that traffickers use to trap vulnerable girls into prostitution is expending and it’s very alarming. Of course men and boys also fall victims of human trafficking.

It is all a transaction, nothing more, nothing less. Human beings become commodities.

#Humantrafficking is everyone’s responsibility, we are all connected to one another and should take care of each other as human beings.Twitter-Icon

It is in our hands to create a world where no one is ever sold or exploited.

Estimates of the number of #humantrafficking victims range from 21 to 36 million people.Twitter-Icon

The wide range illustrates the difficulty of knowing exactly how many people are affected, and is a consequence of the hidden nature of the crime.

In the part two of this post we continue to discuss how our industries and corporations are exploiting this vulnerability.


The Horrors of Human Trafficking

Blog_PictureHuman trafficking presents to us one of the harshest and most tragic realities of our time – the reality that human beings, mostly young women and girls, are bought and sold for slavery and/or sexual exploitation. We are faced with atrocious numbers representing this heinous crime, with over 21 million people being trafficked annually (more than 80% of whom are trafficked for sex slavery), and over $32 billion of profits being reaped by traffickers at the full expense of the dignity and innocence of countless children, women, and men. Read more