A girl, identity obscured, who escaped trafficking

World day against trafficking in persons

Men, women and children are being trafficked. We’re tackling the root causes

The shocking news that Olympic star Sir Mo Farah was trafficked as a child, announced the same month as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 July 2022), raises awareness of this widespread crime. 

What is trafficking? 

According to the United Nations, UNODC, "Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” 

How do traffickers choose their victims? 

UNODC’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020 states that traffickers target the poor and marginalised. Globally, one in every three victims detected is a child, but, in low income countries, children account for half of the victims detected, most of them trafficked for forced labour.”  

Disasters and conflict, like war in the Ukraine, also make people vulnerable, forcing them away from support networks and potentially making them more exposed to traffickers. Covid has also particularly exacerbated the vulnerability of at risks groups, particularly children. 

Graphic of forms of exploitation when trafficked
Graphic of forms of exploitation when trafficked, courtesy of UNODC, Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020.

How many people are human trafficked? 

Aimyleen Gabriel, World Vision UK’s Senior Child Protection Programme Adviser, explains that it’s difficult to say just how many millions of people at any one time are victims of human trafficking. “This is not surprising due to the elusive and complex nature of trafficking. What we do know is that one in every three is a child. Women and girls are also more likely to be trafficked.”  

How World Vision is combatting human trafficking  

Aimyleen continues, “Trafficking is a complex issue that requires a strong, multifaceted approach and partnership with government, communities and children themselves. At World Vision, our work aims to tackle the root causes of trafficking by a combination of multi-sectorial approaches ranging from prevention to protection and advocacy work. 

“By supporting children and their communities in the most at risk areas, we can identify potential victims and: 

  • report signs of trafficking 
  • advocate for children’s rights 
  • provide the things they need such as emergency assistance and essential care to keep families together  
  • and help stop trafficking.  

“As well as that, we’re always on hand to provide education about the rights of victims of trafficking, including the rights of those who are trafficked to the UK.” 

It's not just girls who are victims of trafficking - men, women and children can all be targeted
It's not just girls who are victims of trafficking - men, women and children can all be targeted

Does World Vision work make any difference in tackling human trafficking and other evils? 

Yes. For individual children, World Vision’s work with children’s forums and children’s clubs - teaching children about their rights, that they can have a voice and be empowered - is making a life-changing difference. Not just against human trafficking prevention and with survivors of human trafficking, but also child labour and marriage. Read Khushboo’s story and Anuradha’s story

At a strategic level, we lead the PACE (Partnership Against Child Exploitation), a partnership of organisations that are working together to combat the exploitation of children in the worst forms of child labour, including domestic labour like Farah faced when first arriving in the UK. 

Nayeem works against trafficking and other evils
Nayeem works against trafficking and other evils

Young people are empowered 

I ran to Mita’s house when I heard she is missing. I talked with her mother and rushed to the nearest police station. We searched for her everywhere! Finally, after seven days we found her. I felt like, I found my own sister back in my home!"  

Nayeem, 17, is a World Vision child forum leader from Bangladesh, a country where child trafficking, child marriage, and child labour are devastating children.  

Still a child, Nayeem has helped to rescue one child from being trafficked and stopped 37 child marriages. 

He fights to ensure justice for girls and thanks to his efforts, two convicted child rapists are in prison.  

It wasn't easy for him to summon the courage needed to face these challenges. An orphan who lost both parents at a young age, he lives in a slum with his uncle and aunt. As an introvert he was terrified of speaking in public. But then something happened. 

Nayeem, who works against trafficking
Nayeem, who works against trafficking

Discovery 

One day, I noticed some boys my age having a meeting. What they were talking about made me curious.” He asked and discovered that they were members of the Child Forum.  

Excited, he started to attend the sessions and meetings. “I did not know about children's rights before. However, after attending the sessions, I discovered that I, too, was a victim of child labour and abuse. 

 

However, after attending the sessions, I discovered that I, too, was a victim of child labour and abuse - Nayeem

He found his voice. He actively participated in various training sessions on child safety, child journalism, and an "It takes me" campaign. He began to participate in leadership activities. The boy who struggled to speak in public started teaching others how to speak with confidence.  

It used to be frightening 

Through child forum's activity in eight schools, he and his friends altogether trained 1,300 children about child safety, child law and child rights. Through this work, he has enlightened his family members and many other families in his community on children's rights. 

It used to be frightening to see the police but now, as I have to deal [with] crucial situations, I grew good connections with several government officials, from police to ministers.” 

I have a dream…no violence against children! - Nayeem
Nayeem researching
Nayeem researching

He was threatened by many “gangsters” but that didn’t stop him. He says, "It is always challenging to bring changes. If someone dreams to do a noble work, hundreds [of] obstacles will come in front. But I have a dream, to establish a new future where there will no violence against children! People encourage me, and that is my strength to go further." 

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