An Op-Ed

By Anika Anna

Human trafficking refers to illegally trading a person for either exploitation or commercial gain. Victims of this crime are denied of natural human rights. Often times, human traffickers force victims into labor or prostitution. According to Homeland Security, human trafficking is the second largest profitable transnational crime. This crime is becoming popular because of its low risks and high profits. Annually, human trafficking produces billions of dollars in profit. There are many forms of human trafficking which need to be restrained in order to make sure that no individual is deprived of his or her natural rights. 

Certain factors that cause human trafficking are poverty, violence, oppression, and lack of human rights, education, and opportunities. Human traffickers make people suffer from such conditions their subjects because the traffickers are easily able to mislead them with false hopes, promises, and opportunities. Human traffickers often tell their victims that they will provide their victims with opportunities to help improve their incomes and financial conditions, provide for their families in villages, or escape from conflict such as war. Often, human traffickers lure the victims into traps and then place them into different types of human trafficking. 

The different types of human trafficking are labor, sexual exploitation, and organs, cells, and tissues. Victims trafficked for labor are placed in conditions of slavery. They are forced to work for jobs regarding agriculture, fisheries, construction, and domestic servitude. Victims, women and children, trafficked for sexual exploitation are taken away from their homes to other countries and put into sexual slavery and inhumane conditions. Also, the traffickers keep their victims in constant fear, which discourages the victims to fight back. Victims trafficked for organs, cells, and tissues are targeted for their highly demanded organs, especially the kidney. According to Interpol, a network of police forces from 190 countries, in many countries, the wait for organ transplant is very long which gives traffickers the idea to start illegally removing and selling organs from victims. Traffickers involved in this type of trafficking make a great amount of profit because the demand for organs is high in many countries due to endless diseases and health problems. 

Experts have estimated that about 21 million people are victims of human trafficking globally. The United States spends less than $150 million annually on anti­trafficking actions, which can be described as a drop in a bucket. There are programs involved in ending trafficking but they are not all financially supported. United Way Worldwide —the world's largest charity— wants the next elected U.S. president to make anti­human trafficking a priority. According to the Huffington Post, this charity has one question for all the presidential candidates: "How much money would they put towards ending trafficking?"( New Group Wants Every Presidential Candidate To Explain How They'll Combat Trafficking by Stella Dawson). 

Human trafficking is an important issue in society because it limits humans their basic rights and places people in inhumane conditions. In order to reduce the number of people being trafficked and to stop the spread of this profitable crime, people have to help contribute to discovering solutions to this social issue. 
One way to help is to fundraise money to end human trafficking. For example, The United Way Worldwide, which has 2.6 million volunteers from 40 different countries, raises about five billion dollars in donations annually to fight such social crimes. Organizations that raise money for anti­trafficking purposes use the money to help save the lives of victims and help settle the saved victims into everyday life. Donations are also used to understand new trafficking patterns and techniques. Many donors and anti­trafficking organizations are suggested to analyze and help provide the benefits and advantages the traffickers falsely promise their victims so that they are working in a way known as “working in parallel” to traffickers. Also another way to contribute to the end of human trafficking is by buying products that are not produced from people involved in human trafficking. For example, the United Way plans to purchase products and services that are slave free. Furthermore, a very effective way to put an end to the spread of human trafficking is by educating people on this matter. Informing people about what is human trafficking, how people are victimized, and ways to end trafficking allows people to become aware of and help put an end to this crime.