Child trafficking is a taboo topic, but the child trafficking system is closely related to many aspects of modern life. Child trafficking is less a symptom of personal immorality or depravity as it is a result of a global system of international trade, lax labour laws, and crippling poverty.
The first step to stop child trafficking is to be educated about what human trafficking is and how it applies to children. The second step is to stand up and fight for policies that reduce the root causes of human trafficking.
1. Understand that human trafficking is a form of slavery that reduces victims to a commodity to be bought or sold for sex, labor, and many other purposes.
2. Know that human trafficking effects children of all genders, ages, ethnicities and national origins. Boys, very young children, and children from all walks of life are often victimized by the human trafficking system.
3. Recognize that for children human trafficking can involve forced prostitution, child pornography, and child marriage. But it can also involve forced labor, forced conscription as child soldiers, being forced to carry or sell drugs, forced begging, and illicit international adoption. Not all children who are trafficked are victims of sexual exploitation, although many are.
4. Spot the signs of child victims of human trafficking. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and drug addiction/dependence are all common reactions children have to being forced into uncommon and cruel circumstances.
5. Realize the impact of human trafficking-- 1.2 million children are being human trafficked at any given moment.
6. Advocate for policies that prevent poverty so poor families are not forced to send their children to work.
7. Fight for gender equality for women and girls around the world to build societies where women are not exploited due to gender.
8. Raise the call to support and implement international labor laws that protect everyone, especially children, from exploitative work.
9. Demand equal access to free, high quality education for both boys and girls so every child can stay in school.
10. End the criminalization of victims of human trafficking. Too many children are “doubly victimized”. They are trafficked into a foreign country against their will, and then escaping trafficking only to be thrown in jail for being an “illegal migrant”.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Stand up and fight for a more just society for all children!