This is one of the most important posts I have ever written in my life and it means a lot to me. This is about the slavery of the 21st century. It’s the most overlooked problem on this planet because no one wants to be associated with it. I am talking about human trafficking, especially of children. (Please join me spreading awareness about this topic so that our children are safe)
We live in a modern world where seemingly women have equal rights with men. But what does history tell and what do the economically poor neighborhoods tell us? Women and children are at a lot of risk. Yes, the conditions are far better than the sex slavery of the past but it is far from ideal. And this is not only a problem of the “third world” countries. It’s a problem here in the United States. 300,000 girls of average age 12-13 are at a risk of trafficking every year in the United States. What could be the reason? The biggest ones are- poverty, lack of parental education about this topic and obviously lack of awareness among teachers, children and society in general. The chart below shows how lack of education and trafficking are positively correlated.
Before I proceed, I want to instill a sense of gratitude in all the people who have complains about the petty problems they face in everyday life. Your problems are nowhere close to the problems of an enslaved child. Historically, years before regulations for women equality had come in, the situation was abhorrent. From Ottoman Empire to any other empire, men conquered lands; killed other men, raped their women and enslaved them. Women had no sense of equality. Yes, there was always a queen for a king; along with the harem the king possessed, but one woman commanding most of the resources is hardly an example of any sort of equality, let aside women equality. Then things changed over time. Democracy took over monarchy in most countries. Government made regulations to protect women and children. This was most spectacularly done in Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Women claimed independence and joined the workforce. Women can now breath freedom, chase their dreams and not be subservient to men. How true is it? This only holds true where economies and democracies function appropriately. Places where this is not the norm, women and children fall back to their backward status. So, if you are a woman or a child or a parent or a husband, and if you or your loved ones did not have to go through the horrors of human slavery and subservient treatment, have an immense sense of gratitude for what you have- a life of freedom. I am the first one to be grateful.
Examples of such slavery can been everywhere in the world, from the Soviet countries to India to the United States. There are three main ways this happens and I want to educate all parents about it with examples.
- The Lover/Pimp method: This is more common in western countries but not uncommon in the East. Groomers (lovers/pimps) target either girls of very conservative families (like Sikh girls in London) or girls with neglecting parents (usually poor but sometimes rich). They shower them with gifts, much needed attention (works beautifully with children from broken/neglected backgrounds and runaway children/orphans previously abused) and promises of future together. Then, once the girl is in the trap; based on the girl’s background; they either blackmail her with her inappropriate pictures or directly coerce her into prostitution. You won’t believe that sometimes this happens even when the child is still living with her parents . This problem can be solved by educating the parents and children about this phenomena. Children should be taught to never engage in doing anything which they find inappropriate and uncomfortable. Parents should watch out for any signs of distress in their children and should emotionally engage with them in meaningful dialogue. Conservative families should not focus on honor and shame during such times and not hide such issues from law enforcement. Doing this only encourages these goons to continue their detestable trade.
- The financial prosperity method: This is the most common in all neighborhoods of poverty and especially poor countries in general. Girls are given promises of a good future, with decent paying jobs, if they are ready to travel to other cities or even countries. These girls, with little hopes of any kind of dignified life in their poor neighborhoods; take the leap of faith to try out for a more prosperous future. Once they travel to a different place; either their passports are seized or they are truly captivated and coerced into prostitution. Thailand and Ukraine are one of the biggest destinations for such crimes. The only way this problem can be solved is by educating all these women and children about the truth of this scam.
- The plain old kidnapping: In United States, there is something called “Amber Alert”. Amber Alert is a system where everyone receives an alert on their cellphones when there is information about an ongoing kidnapping, with details like the suspect’s vehicle’s number plates and his/her description. It is named after a 9 year girl Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996. The case was never fully solved but it created more awareness about kidnapping problems. Safety of children is of utmost importance to us parents and we should do everything in our capacity to ensure it. Don’t send your teenage children to parties where they just know one or two people or such. Always have an adult supervise them if there is a strong need to go to a party at night. Teach them to avoid any kinds of drinks at a party where they are not supervised by an extremely trusted adult. Give them a tracker device so that their locations can be tracked. Call this number (in United States) if trafficking is suspected 1 (888) 373-7888.
I request all the readers to stand up and fight against this epidemic. This is one problem where social media can be highly useful because this is a problem of lack of awareness. Let’s all stand up for human dignity and safety of our children. We will NOT tolerate slavery in the 21st century.