In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day dedicated to raising awareness of sexual slavery and human trafficking worldwide. Although it is a U.S. initiative, the United Nations has recently highlighted this topic and is working towards global awareness. The growth rate of this industry is alarming.
Human Trafficking can be defined as: The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor.
The most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls. The second most common form of human trafficking is forced labor (18%).
Statistics are often hard to come by in this field because trafficking is an illegal industry. Estimated figures include the following:
• Victims of trafficking often come from vulnerable populations, including migrants, oppressed or marginalized groups, runaways or displaced persons, and the poor.
• There are 21-30 million people in slavery today.
• Eighty percent of trafficked persons are women and children.
• Worldwide, almost 20% of all trafficking victims are children.
• The average cost of a slave around the world is $90.
The Impact of Holistic Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Numerous benefits result from the provision of holistic care for the children we serve. Immediate physical needs are met. Education is provided. Social and emotional skills improve, and spiritual growth is fostered. However, some of the more lasting benefits occur not only by what holistic care provides, but by what it prevents. Most efforts against trafficking come in the forms of prevention, rescue and aftercare. At Back2Back, we work primarily in prevention and some aftercare.
Orphans and vulnerable children are prime targets for exploitation – tempted by promises of money or a place to live, when the reality of those promises is something very different. In other cases, children are sold by relatives, or simply raised as a slave, having been abandoned as a baby. Holistic care offers children secure and loving homes with caring adults to protect and nurture them. In turn, it prevents many children from living on the streets vulnerable to exploitation.
We are committed to standing in the gap for the children we serve. At times, this relationship starts early in childhood when the child transitions to a children’s home due to death, poverty or abandonment. At other times, we meet children and young adults who have experienced some of the worst the world has to offer. At one specific home in Mexico, Back2Back invests in the long-term care, healing and restoration of young women who have been rescued from trafficking and exploitation. Through the Hope Program, we are committed to walking alongside these young women into early adulthood, providing higher education, mentoring, counseling and discipleship.