A Problem That Can Be Fought

According to the UN global initiative to fight human trafficking, the trafficking of human being is the fastest growing form of international crime and the third largest criminal industry after drugs and arms trafficking. In some cases no doubt, some of the same people are perpetrators. A recent study by the International Labor Organization found that globally the illegal profits generated by human trafficking is $150 bn or 3 times what it was thought to be. It involves 21 million people, and about two thirds of the profits, ($99 bn) come from commercial sexual exploitation. The rest comes from forced labor, including domestic, construction and mining.

Once the shock and cringing are over, the part of the report that ought to stay with us is what we can do to combat this. Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, describing the persistence of slavery as one the modern economy depends on, says “ We have to realize the problem is one that touches us all… in a globalized economy we all buy products likely to be tainted by forced labor. That is why the governments need to take concrete steps to address forced labor across the world.” He suggests, for example, introducing extraterritorial legislation to make business executives responsible for slavery in their supply chains, and supporting a binding protocol strengthening international standards against forced labor.

The point is being horrified is not enough, we must understand that no matter what governments individually and together decide to do, that these are problems can be fought.