Despite all of our progress in defeating slavery, it still exists in the world and even in the U.S. Obviously it is no longer legal, so it’s no longer right in front of us. But look a little closer and you will see that there are people suffering. Adults and even children are being forced to work for many reasons. A large number of people in South Asia today have to work to pay off a debt, a practice called debt bondage. Some very poor families are convinced to sell one of their children under the idea that the child will be "better off". The child can then be sold as a slave. Some people are just kidnapped and sold off. We like to think the problem will be fixed by outlawing it, but there is only so much the law can do. We need to better educate adults and children on how to prevent being sold off as a slave.
Learn More:UNODC-Human Trafficking
A much more disturbing form of human trafficking is sex trafficking. Victims of sex trafficking are captured and forces to engage in any sexual action their captor wants. This includes prostitution, pornography, stripping, and outright rape. How do victims get into this situation? Sometimes they are kidnapped or even sold by their parents, but often the trafficker lures them in with with false promises or fake compassion. Before they know it, the victim is now a slave. The most common people affected are young women, but literally anyone could be a victim. Unfortunately, this horrific action is actually the most common form of human trafficking, victimizing millions of people.
Once a victim is captured, it may take years before they can escape. Some victims are threatened so much that they don’t escape even if they can. One example of this would be Tanya Nicole Kach, author of Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid. According to her, she became so brainwashed with threats that her captor let her go outside and she came right back.
Tanya Nicole Kach
To this day, children are being used for military purposes. One of the most infamous recruiters of child soldiers is the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony. Kony has forced over 60,000 children to become soldiers and often makes these children kill their own family.
Child soldiers are used because they are far more vulnerable than adult soldiers. They are easily kidnapped, require little food, and are less likely to reject orders. In other words, child soldiers are the choice of people who can’t handle adult soldiers and instead take vulnerable children from their families.