Hope Dies Last is committed to identifying and addressing the underlying causes of human trafficking and exploitation. To see multi-generational change we need to work on many levels in society to empower those who are marginalized and to protect those who are vulnerable.
"In our day...wars and conflicts have become the prime driver of trafficking in persons. They provide an enabling environment for traffickers to operate, as persons fleeing persecutions and conflicts are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Conflicts have created conditions for terrorists, armed groups and transnational organized crime networks to thrive in exploiting individuals and populations reduced to extreme vulnerability by persecution and multiple forms of violence." 1
"The lack of education for much of the worlds children is of grave concern, and continues to impact not only the life’s of the children themselves, but the development and progress of entire nations. If a large majority of a countries children are not educated, the prospect of the future business, political, religious and government leaders of is marred for many generations…Children and adults who are illiterate or uneducated are more susceptible for victimization and therefore decreases life expectancy." 2
"In some countries and areas, among them Central and Eastern Europe, rapid, sweeping social upheavals or armed conflicts have led to severe economic problems and the collapse of social protection systems. For many – not least those employed in sectors traditionally reserved for women – these developments have meant fewer income opportunities and growing poverty. Many men have lost their traditional roles as family breadwinners and turned to different kinds of abuse, thus laying an even heavier burden on women." 3
"Tragically, it is well documented that children are at significantly greater risk of abuse after their parents’ divorce. More than seventy reputable studies document that an astonishing number – anywhere from one-third to one-half – of girls with divorced parents report having been molested or sexually abused as children, most often by their mothers’ boyfriends or stepfathers. A separate review of forty-two studies found that the ‘majority of children who were sexually abused … appeared to come from single-parent or reconstituted families.’ " 4
The root causes of human trafficking are the underlying factors that make a person vulnerable to human trafficking. When you impact any of these you work to close down the avenues that traffickers use to exploit their victims.
"[Women]… are so desperate to leave the country, and driven by desire to rise above poverty, that they are willing to take the extreme risk anyway and “sign up” to work in prostitution. Vladimir Ubeivolc from the anti-trafficking organization, Beginning of Life, in Chisinau, said girls he has worked with have reported by their actions and words that, “it is better to be a slave in Europe, than to be free in Moldova”. Many women around the world buy into the Pretty Woman illusion of prostitution as a glamorous job, and dream of escape from a place where they feel they have no future." 5
"Individuals who have experienced violence and trauma in the past are more vulnerable to future exploitation, as the psychological effect of trauma is often long-lasting and challenging to overcome. Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war and conflict or social discrimination may be targeted by traffickers, who recognize the vulnerabilities left by these prior abuses. Violence and abuse may be normalized or beliefs of shame or unworthiness lead to future susceptibility to human trafficking." 6
"Addiction has a complex relationship with human trafficking: it can exacerbate a trafficked person’s vulnerability, be part of a captor’s means of coercing a captive person to submit, be part of a captor’s means of incentivizing a captive person to remain captive, and be used by the captive person as a mechanism of coping with the physical and mental traumas of being trafficked." 7
"Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious crime and an abuse of an individual’s fundamental rights and dignity. It involves the exploitation of vulnerable persons traded by criminals as commodities for the sole purpose of economic gain. This crime often has a transnational character; it comprises victims of all genders and age and, due to its nature, is often hard to discover and investigate. Human trafficking is a major problem in the EU..." 8
Links to further reading:
1. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf pg 8.
2. Cassandra Clifford, Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation https://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2007/06/24/194/
4. Elizabeth Marquardt https://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Worlds-Children-Divorce/dp/0307237117
5. Laila Mickelwait http://exoduscry.com/blog/general/city-focus-chisinau-moldova/
7. Commentary by Hanni Stoklosa, Marti MacGibbon and Joseph Stoklosa. http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2017/01/ecas3-1701.html