The Challenge to Fight Against
Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking
Written by Christina Miller on January 30, 2014 in General
Although January—National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month— is coming to an end, our commitment to this issue carries on. At the beginning of the month President Obama challenged us to “address the underlying forces that push so many into bondage.” What are these underlying forces and cycles that keep repeating? What exactly is this battle that we are fighting?
Human Trafficking is an epidemic that sweeps the world—it exists both across the globe and in our neighborhoods. From a U.S. perspective, it’s easy to imagine slavery was eliminated when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Yet millions are still held in bondage even within a country defined by independence and freedom. President Obama has called this a modern-day global tragedy that tears at our very social fabric. At Plant With Purpose, we are taking steps year-round to fight human trafficking through addressing the root causes of poverty. As we heal the systemic issues, we can prevent exploitation and restore integrity to individuals and families.
Of the six countries we partner with, Thailand is a major source, destination, and transit country for sex trafficking and forced labor. The majority of trafficking victims have immigrated to Thailand from neighboring countries due to extreme poverty. Upon arrival, they are coerced, forced, or tricked into unfair and abusive work. The most common industries are sex-trade, fishing, garment production, factories, and domestic work.
Internally, many Thai women and children living in poverty are forced into prostitution. Ethnic minorities from the northern hill tribes are especially vulnerable. People from this region are prevented from obtaining citizenship due to complex regulations and social prejudice. Without the rights of citizenship, they are limited and unprotected, making them easy targets for oppression.
It is becoming more and more evident that the cycle of poverty is deeply interwoven into the system of slavery. People living in rural communities are unable to live off their land, are driven into the cities, and end up in the slums. Their prospects for survival become slim and they are either forced into slavery, or tricked into believing servitude will help their situation. As people’s resources are limited, families are forced to break apart, and the cycle continues.
This presents a real challenge to “recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery.” It pushes us to evaluate how our resources of knowledge, skills, and partnerships can contribute to this fight. Join us tomorrow as we share how Plant With Purpose is accepting this challenge by working alongside rural communities in Thailand.