G'day guys,
Most of us live in fairly stable societies. However, many millions of people do not. They are subjected to all sorts of issues that would never cross our doors. Human trafficking is one of them. I have a fair view of this subject, purely because I met an Australian lawyer in Bangkok many years ago and we have remained mates. His job? Involved in preventing the trafficking of humans in South East Asia; especially kids.

What is it?
Human Trafficking is the deplorable act of transporting a person against their will for the purposes of exploitation. It is a form of modern day slavery in which the basic rights of the victim are repeatedly and continuously violated. Human trafficking is a crime involving the cheating or deceiving of people into sexual servitude or labour for the purpose of their exploitation. It affects individuals, families and entire communities, in almost all parts of the world. 

The International Labour Organization estimated in 2005 that 9.49 million people were in forced labour in the Asia-Pacific region, with a significant proportion thought to be in the Mekong region, which includes Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Within the Mekong region, the crime of human trafficking is widespread, yet little is known about specific trafficking patterns and trends.

Most trafficking victims are women and children from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. They are commonly lured with the promise of employment opportunity in a restaurant or factory, only to be stripped of their papers upon arrival and forced into sexual servitude or bonded labor. A trafficker may use force, deception, coercion, fraud, or other forms of intimidation to obtain, harbor, and traffic their victim.
 The United States Department of State estimates that “600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors”. This figure fails to account for victims who are trafficked within national borders, likely representing a significant portion of all trafficking victims. In fact, if domestic trafficking were to be included, up to 4 million persons per year would be considered victims of human trafficking.

Globally, this modern day slave trade represents a ten billion dollar a year industry. The vast majority of trafficking victims are sold into prostitution, sexual servitude, or other forms of sexual exploitation. Human trafficking to support bonded labor is also widespread, as is the trafficking of children to serve in military conflicts in various regions of the world. 

Travelling to a foreign country is a privilege of the wealthy. We should not lose sight of this fact in order to conduct ourselves in a manner that is respectful of local customs and beliefs. This is especially true for travelers visiting developing countries.

Tourists from industrialized countries should take the time to think of their effects in the larger picture. It is arguable in many cases as to whether the tourist dollars spent by wealthy travellers actually outweigh the damages caused by thoughtless actions towards the local culture and social fabric.

The practice of sexual tourism is a case in point. Each year, thousands of men from North America, Europe, and wealthy Asian countries travel to countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand to engage in sexually abusive practices with underage prostitutes.

 Now, you might like to see this video about exploitation in Brazil:


Clancy's comment:  Although I live in the 'lucky country', we also have experienced exploitation. Asian women have been conned into working in brothels. How they were granted visas by my government is beyond me. I guess the exploiters are fairly smart characters, eh? People who should be hung out to dry ...

I'm ...

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