WASHINGTON, DC — Human trafficking is among the most difficult and problematic issues the world has always been suffering and is still suffering from today. This ongoing matter is unfortunately present in many countries all over the world. Human trafficking affects all categories, independent of race, gender, age or even social class. It can also take many forms, from forced sex workers to underpaid laborers deprived of all their rights.
The victims are usually the most vulnerable members of society. These are mostly women and children living in poverty. This shows the relationship between human trafficking and the precarity in which some are living. As a result, fighting human trafficking can fight poverty. EverFree, an organization that aids trafficking victims, is making a difference. The work of EverFree entails addressing the root causes of human trafficking as a means of prevention in addition to helping people who were victims of human trafficking already.
Facts About Human Trafficking
Today, the victims of human trafficking are around 40 million individuals all around the world making this modern slavery very profitable for the traffickers whose total benefits attain more than $150 billion annually. This illegal traffic consists of selling and trading human beings, forced activities and work such as labor (including sex workers), marriage or organ removal is considered human trafficking and represents the majority of the traffic with around 25 million victims, according to World101.
Forced laborers mainly experience exploitation in the private sector (16 million people), most of them working as domestic workers and in the construction field. However, sexual exploitation remains the type of human trafficking making the highest number of victims, representing 79% of the total number of victims.
Another very profitable form of human trafficking is organ trafficking, traffickers trade the organs of desperate people in need of money, this illegal activity represents 10% of the organ transplant sector, World101 reports. Although all genders, ages and races are concerned by these crimes, African and Asian women and children are their principal victims.
Human Trafficking and Poverty
Poverty is one of the most important factors leading to human trafficking, traffickers often take advantage of the precarious situation in which their victims are living. In fact, people living in extreme poverty are ready to do anything to improve their economic situation, even if it affects them or their children.
In many cases traffickers promise the victims of modern slavery a decent job, sometimes in a foreign country, that will allow them to make money and help their families back home. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and victims face a totally different reality in which their employers end up exploiting them, imposing an enormous amount of work with sometimes no remuneration.
This is often the situation in which migrant workers are, among the victims of forced labor almost one in every four laborers is a migrant, according to World101. With the actual crises happening around the world, due to wars, poverty or even environmental catastrophes, the number of displaced is increasing. Those people often have low resources to survive and become thus more vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation issues.
Concerning the women and girls who are victims of human trafficking, many of them come from parts of the world with general conflict and instability and already existing gender-based violence and discrimination. Men exploit these women in their countries and impose sex work on them, forcing them to marry and work. When it comes to men, human trafficking is mainly concentrated in men-dominated sectors such as agriculture and construction.
EverFree: Healing and Preventing
Of the millions of victims of human trafficking, less than 1% of them receive proper care and support to be able to continue their lives freely. The Borgen Project spoke with Kelsey Morgan, the founder and executive director of EverFree. It is an organization that helps victims and survivors of human trafficking on their healing journey. The organization started operating in 2021. However, it is the result of several experiences the founder already had in with the survivors of human trafficking since 2013.
The work of EverFree deals with human trafficking in two ways. According to Morgan, its work “not only seeks to heal and restore survivors through high-quality aftercare. It also works to address the root causes that fuel exploitation. This includes poverty and the lack of economic self-sufficiency that many vulnerable girls and women face.”
EverFree makes sure that each individual is able to achieve his dreams and goals. It does this by providing scholarships, supporting businesses and providing career counseling and other aids that will allow individuals to get out of poverty. This could help the people find true freedom by making them aware of human trafficking issues and providing them with adequate support so that do not find the propositions of the traffickers attractive.
When asked about success stories, Morgan reported two stories of women who have flown from forced labor and sex work and with the help of EverFree have been able to start a new life free and focused on their goals.
Like for many other organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the work of EverFree, due to the repeated lockdowns volunteers to move freely around shelters. The economic crisis that came along with the pandemic also has its impact on EverFree’s programs.
However, this did not stop the organization from working on new projects. One of the projects is opening a new shelter for women and girls who survived human trafficking in Belize. This is the first-ever shelter of this kind in the country. Hence, despite the challenges, EverFree continues to expand its work to as many individuals as possible and provides victims and potential victims of human trafficking with enough resources to live in freedom.
– Youssef Yazbek