“No one could hear us”
“In the morning, there would be 12-14 men and, in the night, around 15 men... After working the whole day, we would be taken to a building in the middle of nowhere to get rest. There was only one window in the entire room. All the girls were kept there. But because the place was so secluded, even if we would scream or shout for help, no one could hear us.’’
That’s part of Samira’s story.
She was trafficked as a teenager and endured a traumatic ordeal which will live with her forever. See her full story further down.
But Samira is not unusual. On the UN World Day Against Trafficking (30 July 2021) let’s remember that there are as many as 20 million people who have been trafficked – and 30% are children.
Child trafficking: modern-day slavery
Child trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Children are trafficked for purposes such as domestic labour, armed groups, criminal activity, and even adoption. Some are made to have sex with multiple people every day, like Samira. Even if they escape, the physical and emotional trauma has a long-term impact – the fear, abuse and stigma that children can experience may make it difficult for them to reintegrate in society and rebuild their lives.
How can this happen?
It’s hard to understand how it can happen. Humanitarian crises, such as violent conflicts and natural disasters, sometimes result in children being separated from their families, making them easier targets for traffickers.
In other instances, traffickers will prey on parents’ fears, giving false promises of a brighter future for their children. Parents may hand over their children not just for money but in the misguided hope that their children will escape poverty and have a better life, with more opportunities.
Trafficking is lucrative. According to the International Labour Organisation, it is the fastest growing and second-largest criminal industry in the world, after drug trafficking. Trafficking in people generates over US$150 billion a year.