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The theme for July 30, 2022: “Use and abuse of technology”

July 30, 2022: World Day Against Human Trafficking


By Ashden Brooke Robinson: undergraduate student: B.S. majoring in Criminal Justice, University of Missouri Saint Louis (UMSL); Gateway Human Trafficking Intern. Edited by Roy Joachimstaler.


“Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women, and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims.” (United Nations)

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly had adopted the Global Plan of Action to fight against human trafficking by urging governments all around the world to take coordinated and consistent efforts to defeat this scourge. World Day Against Trafficking is marked annually on 30 July to help bring awareness against human trafficking, its victims and survivors; who are being trafficked and taken away without consent.

The “3P” paradigm of “Prosecution, Protection, and Prevention” continues to serve as the fundamental framework around the world including the United States to combat human trafficking. This approach is reflected in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Protocol) and in the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (TVPA). Furthermore, the addition of the fourth P of “Partnership” with our community partners and agencies is key to our success in fighting against human trafficking.

The theme for the year 2022 is “Use and abuse of technology” that raise attention to the positive and negative impacts technology has on anti-trafficking efforts. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, technology has played an increasingly significant role in human trafficking. The hotline found that traffickers exploited individuals through technologies such as webcams, text-based chats, and phone lines, and that traffickers feel more emboldened due to the lack of physical contact between them and the individuals they recruit (Contreras and Chon). Recently, the hotline identified a 22% increase in online recruitment into trafficking schemes and reported the internet as the top recruitment location for all forms of trafficking (Polaris).

Most notably, the analysis found a significant increase in the proportion of potential victims for whom Facebook and Instagram were the sites for recruitment into trafficking (120%). There was a 125% increase in reports of recruitment on Facebook over the previous year and a 95% increase on Instagram (Polaris).

The key findings of Polaris’s Analysis of 2020 National Human Trafficking Hotline Data are:

  1. Human trafficking is profoundly adaptable.

Shut down one venue and traffickers will find a new one. Wherever there are vulnerable people and communities, there will be someone who finds a way to exploit them.

2. Human trafficking is highly personal.


Despite the explosion of concern – some of it fueled by misinformation – about complex child sex trafficking schemes and kidnappings, data shows victims usually know and trust their traffickers.

3. Human trafficking does not happen in a vacuum.


Virtually everyone who ends up in a trafficking situation has a clear and identifiable vulnerability that a trafficker preyed upon. These vulnerabilities show up in roughly the same proportions every year – including the year the pandemic began and lockdowns were at their peak. This data points to massive failings in a range of systems, from the macro, like criminal justice and economic inequity, to the specific, like foster care, immigration, health and housing.

Human trafficking can happen to anyone at any time; it can come in many different forms and occur under many different situations. Some of the forms of human trafficking are:

• Exploitation and prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation,
• Forced labor or services,
• Involuntary servitude or practices like slavery
• The removal of organs which can be sold for money. This is also known as human organ harvesting.

Some of the circumstances under which human trafficking can occur are:

• Threat
• Use of force
• Coercion,
• Forms of abduction,
• Forms of fraud
• Forms of deception
• Using the abuse of power one’s position of vulnerability
• The giving or receiving of payments to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, all for the purpose of exploitation

If you believe you may have information about a trafficking situation:

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free (Note: removed word “hotline”) at 1-888373-7888. Note: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.

Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733. Message and data rates may apply. Chat with the National Human Trafficking Hotline via www.humantraffickinghotline.org/chat

References:

United Nations. (n.d.). ‘World Day against trafficking in persons’. United Nations. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.un.org/en/observances/end-human-trafficking-day

‘World Day Against Trafficking 2022: Theme, history and why the day is marked’. Firstpost. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.firstpost.com/world/world-day-against-trafficking-2022-theme-history-and-why-the-day-is-marked-10969421.html

January Contreras, ACF Assistant Secretary and Katherine Chon, Director. ‘Technology’s Complicated Relationship with Human Trafficking. Administration for Children and Families. July 28, 2022. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/blog/2022/07/technologys-complicated-relationship-human-trafficking

Polaris. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://polarisproject.org/2020-us-national-human-trafficking-hotline-statistics/

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