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Human Trafficking on the Increase

Trafficking On The Increase
There are some issues which do not hit the main headlines in the same way as Brexit or the US Presidential elections do, but are nevertheless as important, if not more so. One of these, is Human Trafficking, something that is increasing dramatically on a world-wide scale.

Ruth Dearnley, CEO of Stop the Traffik, an international anti-human trafficking organisation, sets the scene: “In the ten years that Stop the Traffik has been active, numbers involved in trafficking humans has increased. The buying and selling of people is the fastest growing crime.” Ruth explained why: “If I was to take a bullet I can only use it once, if I take an illegal drug I can only use it once. But if I take a person, I can exploit that person 10,20,30,40,50,60 times a day, that person creates an incredible profit. In the end, human trafficking is all about money. …There is a misconception about trafficking as being only to do with sexual exploitation. But I can use a human in all sorts of ways. I can take someone, lock them into my home, and use that person to be a servant. These people are very hard to find as they are being kept behind locked doors. I can put somebody on a street corner and sell them for sexual services, or children for labour for example. People are unaware that that little boy standing on the street corner is actually been managed by a gang master round the corner. …I can use people as slaves in factories, I can use people working in the back of a shop who we never see, the list is endless.”

In the context of the EU and its effectiveness in clamping down on trafficking, Ruth said: “Traffickers are looking for profit. When people are on the move, like migrants, they are much more vulnerable. …Throughout history we have always had people moving. The question is, how do we intercept the traffickers. There is a need for governments to take action, both individually and collaboratively to be able to look into what they can do. But it is not just their role, it is also the role of the community. Change should be carried out from the community upwards, because only at the community level that it is possible to see what is happening. The way traffickers work is they sell dreams, they sell something that is too good to be true.”

Is the problem that we cannot change the way that capitalism works? “I don’t think that the problem is capitalism. The problem is money, and the amount that can be made from trafficking. The way out of this is to for everybody to come together and work together and solve this problem. What can you do? Is there something odd which you see, and should you report that? The answer is yes, and that is why we have launched an app for your smartphone, because nobody knows the true picture, we need more information. Traffickers are connected, they are seriously organised, at the moment, we are lagging behind. We need to build a picture, we need to work with different communities. We need to share what we know. We need to share and work alongside financial institutions, with law enforcement officers, with community leaders, But the people who actually know what is going on are you and me. If we see something or feel that something is not quite right, we can put that information into the app. When you collect that data on a large scale, you being to see the overall picture. Governments are playing a role, we have seen this in the Modern Slavery Act in the UK which came out in 2015, but no government initiative can work unless we empower ordinary people to help.”

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