• Les Gazzette

By Mehek Shaikh

We live in a world where human beings are traded for forced labour, sexual slavery or commercial sexual exploitation in exchange for money. This is referred to as 'Human Trafficking'.

The maximum number of victims of trafficking are children and women. They are forced to do things they don't want to but, they have no option as the traffickers threaten their loved ones. They use psychological intimidation to control the victims.  Poverty is one of the reasons that create vulnerability to trafficking. If a family fails to repay their debts, the children or the women of the family are taken away. They are tortured in several ways. They are beaten up by the traffickers and sexually exploited. They are locked up in a room where they are left to starve.

Millions of women and girls live in the long shadows of human trafficking. Three out of four females are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The kids are forced into begging, petty crime or drug dealing. They are also forced to take part in armed conflicts.

Trafficking leaves both visible and invisible scars. Women are forced to sell their dignity for money. Children give away their childhood in the fear of the traffickers. Trafficking victims definitely suffer from physical abusive and violence but also are victims of depression, anxiety, psychological abuse, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self injurious behavior and suicidal ideation.

A lot of steps have been taken to prevent this. The US has a 24 hour National Human Trafficking Hotline ( 1-888-373-7888 ). India prohibits bonded and forced labour through Bonded Labour Abolition Act, the Child Labour Act and the Juvenile Justice Act. Section 366 (A) and 372 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits kidnapping and selling minors into prostitution respectively. The traffickers are imprisoned for a term which is not less than 7-10 years and are also liable to fine.

Traffickers come from troubled homes. The people who didnt have a figure to reflect upon as children, end up having no human values. Therefore, it is very important to educate children and provide them with a path to follow.

Human trafficking is an atrocious crime that shatters ones self confidence, their life, families and dreams.

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