Human Trafficking Preys on the Poor
We rejoice when news reports share stories of human traffickers being captured and their victims rescued. And with good reason. Ideally, the goal is to end the heartless exploitation of humans that has become a lucrative and prevalent industry. But, while freeing all victims of human trafficking is the ultimate goal, another strategy to end this dark industry is prevention.
Trafficking is a complex phenomenon often driven or influenced by social, economic, cultural, political, and other factors. Although every situation is different, human trafficking spans all demographics, but some vulnerabilities make people more susceptible to victimization and human trafficking. While it’s unrealistic to believe that we can eliminate all the potential situations that lead people to become victims of human trafficking, focusing on them may mean fewer trafficking victims.
Decades of research and practice have shown that preventative measures, such as early detection, can significantly reduce disease and keep otherwise fatal consequences at bay. For example, by identifying early signs known to lead to diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, scientists have been able to prescribe lifestyle changes or medication to control or even eliminate the worst-case scenarios.5
Poverty: A Root Cause of Human Trafficking
Applying a prevention strategy to end this dark industry leads directly to one of the root issues fueling human trafficking: poverty.
It’s challenging to get an exact estimate of the number of people caught in the web of human trafficking due to its illegal and sinister nature, but the numbers are in the millions. And human trafficking is big business, generating global profits of approximately $150 billion, with nearly $100 billion coming from commercial sexual exploitation. With that financial incentive, traffickers are not likely to disappear.
Populations experiencing extreme poverty are especially vulnerable due to their circumstances and desperation. A manipulative trafficker plies them with empty promises of employment and educational opportunities for a better life. Sometimes it may be a person’s only hope. But, in reality, the trafficker does not follow through on any of those promises. Forced into prostitution or hard labor, they’re now in an even worse position.
The dire consequences of extreme poverty can leave people with no shelter, no food, no medical help, and no options. It’s a life of total despair and desperation, making people easy targets for human traffickers—a mother who will do anything to feed her children, a teen just released from an orphanage with no money and no support, or a woman escaping an abusive situation. There are even cases where families sell their young daughters to traffickers to raise money to feed their other children.
Extreme poverty robs people of their dignity and hope. Providing shelter, food, and healthcare can make people less vulnerable to the manipulations of human traffickers and restore hope. When those in need can depend on organizations such as The Orphans Hands for shelter, food, and healthcare, they don’t have to rely on the empty and dangerous promises of human traffickers.
The Scriptures call us to consider others more significant than ourselves—including those with emotional or physical disabilities, those suffering from illness, the widow, and the orphan. From these Scriptures on taking care of the poor, we learn that God calls us to help those who can never repay our acts of kindness.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow, and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. — Proverbs 3:27-28
The Orphans Hands provides a practical way to help make people less attractive to traffickers by offering provisions to sustain them. Meet some of our kids and read about their stories. There are so many ways you can help. Contribute or purchase our collection of clothing and books to offer direct support. Even simply sharing the message with friends, family, and associates can help.