By Fanny Shum Chan
Every human being is a free person, whether man, woman, girl or child, and is destined to exist to achieve the good of all in equality and fraternity. Any relationship that does not respect the fundamental conviction that all persons, regardless of sex or age are equal and does not recognize that they enjoy the same freedom and dignity constitutes a serious crime against humanity.
As women’s month has ended in March, it is important to raise awareness on human trafficking. The evolution of humanity is full of wars and conflicts. Many times, our personal alternative to resolve conflict is through violence and imposition. That is why the United Nations was created in 1945 to ensure social stability and world peace.
The culture of peace consists of a series of values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and prevent conflicts. They try to elevate their causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiations between people and nations, taking into account a very important point that are defining human rights, but also respecting various other cultural values according to the treaties signed between nations.
Millions of people across the world cross borders to escape armed conflicts, violence in their countries of origin or even escaping from poverty. Their despair leaves them in a state of vulnerability conducive to the vultures of human trafficking; which turns the suffering into commodities.
Human trafficking is a crime without borders in a world where it deprives impunity. Trafficking of people has claimed at least 12 million victims in 2015, according to the United Nations. For its part, the International Labor Organization accounts for almost 21 million victims of forced labor in the world. This figure includes victims of trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. It is not only a crime, but it has also become a transnational business, which annually generates millions of dollars for those who profit from the detriment of the dignity of millions of people around the world.
Women, men and children from all corners of the world are converted into tradeable commodities and subjected to daily exploitative situations. The most well-known form of trafficking in persons is sexual exploitation, but many victims are also forced into indentured labor, domestic servitude, child begging and organ harvesting.
One in five victims of trafficking are children; who are used for begging or forced labor, child pornography or sexual exploitation. They are also recruited as soldiers in areas of armed conflict. Two-thirds of the victims in the world are women. They are lured under false pretenses such as work or possible asylum from their war-torn home. Once they arrive their passport are confiscated and they are forced to pay for entrance into the country via sexual or physical labors. Most people involved in trafficking resort to blackmailing or ransoming the people they bring in. Men and boys are also victims of this crime but in a much smaller proportion than women. They are forced into forced labor, begging, sexual exploitation and recruitment.
All parties concerned, whatever their scope, have a moral as well as legal duty to eradicate this serious violation of human rights and to work to ensure that all people live together in a framework of freedom, equality, harmony and peace, in accordance with the values inherent in our human condition. With the support of academics, moral, religious leaders, and using the influence of a worldwide movement and social networks, we must expose these hidden crimes by using the current technology and the collaboration of national and international institutions, such as the United Nations. We have the moral imperative that our generation be the last to fight the trade of human lives.