Human trafficking is a subject many people don’t clearly understand. Some people picture human trafficking as involving bundling someone and moving them from point A to point B. At least on transport they are correct, as Human Trafficking is defined as “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labour or sexual exploitation”.  Human trafficking involves 3 main parts which are:

A- action- which includes recruitment of victims, transportation and receiving of victims

M- means – how these people are recruited and transported. This could be done through coercion, fraud or force.

P- purpose- this why traffickers engage in this. And the purpose includes forced labour, sexual exploitation, organ harvesting.

When people hear of human trafficking it sounds like other people’ problem but it is everyone’s problem and anyone is a potential victim.

Traffickers target the most vulnerable in the community mostly, but it is important to highlight that there are professionals and graduates who have been trafficked. So, trafficking knows no class. And most trafficked victims are trafficked by people they know and these could be family or friends.

An example of how people are recruited is through bogus work agencies that will promise people better opportunities in the diaspora. Candidates will be told that the employer will foot their bills and all they have to do is get on a plane and go and earn good bucks. That’s the 1st sign. Anything that’s too good to be true is too good to be true. When they reach their destination their passports and other forms of identification are taken away and they are told that they need to work to pay back flight, food, accommodation and many any many more made up expenses.

Without their passport they can’t go anyway and most times they will be in a country where’s they do not have friends or relatives and most likely won’t speak the local language. Also to further control their victims, traffickers will not allow their victims to go out by themselves. To repay the traffickers victims will be asked to work in factories, domestic servitude or in prostitution. To make sure that victims stay in line traffickers use violence on them or threaten to kill them or their families.

Others are invited to go abroad by families for better education or work, only to be asked to do something totally different from what they were promised and the same tactic is used of taking passports away while using violence and threat as a control tool. Depending on the trafficker some are paid below minimum wage while some are not paid at all.

There are also cases of people who are tricked to fall for traffickers then travel as wife/husband. When they arrive they could be asked to sleep with other men by their ‘husbands’.

If someone is made to work in factories, as domestic worker or in prostitution I would say they would be the lucky ones as compared to those who are recruited for their organs. People are being killed and their organs harvested to be sold on the dark web.

People easily fall for these lies because they would believe that their prayers for a better life would have been answered, not knowing that they have fallen victims to these organised criminals. Also the fact that most people who recruit these victims will be known to them removes any doubt or fear from these victims.

It is therefore important to have full details of what job/ opportunities you are being recruited for. You need to verify this with some independent individuals who might be knowledgeable in that field or even conduct organisations such as the Red Cross or consulate for the intended destination country. Gather as much information as you can on the work agency and do your own searches on who they helped in the past. It’s easy to fall into trafficking when you are desperate. Desperation is a person’s worst enemy as it clouds one’s judgement.

There are people who just disappear from the radar and families would be guessing that maybe they crossed the boarder into neighbouring countries to find work, but then if there is no communication from these people how would families know what really happened to their loved ones. Traffickers take advantage of the current situation in the country and know that they won’t be much effort invested into finding missing people as people are known to leave their homes searching for greener pastures.

You live once and it is your duty to guard your life with your life. But if you find yourself in such a situation and in a foreign land go to the police as soon as you get a chance and only if it’s safe to do so. Importantly in most countries there are charities like the Red Cross, Care International or places of worship who would most certainly help you or signpost you to those who can, depending on where you are.

Some people don’t realise that they have been trafficked but if one’s passport was taken from them and their movement is restricted then they could be victims of human trafficking. If that’s the case then they need to seek assistance from some of the organisations mentioned above or police.

If you need help but not sure please comment below and will work to find you help regardless of where you are.

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