Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial or sexual exploitation or forced labor: a modern-day form of slavery.
According the Ohio Human Trafficking Commission:
- More than 1,000 Ohio children are estimated to be trafficked every year in the sex trade, over 3,000 Ohio youth are at risk of becoming victims.
- Average age of victims is 13 years old.
- Toledo is the fourth largest recruitment site for minor sex trafficking in the country.
- Ohio is ranked 42nd for children's vulnerability to homelessness, which in turn contributes to a higher vulnerability to child sex trafficking.
Globally over 30 million people are living in slavery.
People become vulnerable to traffickers as a result of many factors that are common in people of all ages in every town, village and community.
Victims of trafficking often experience:
- Low self-esteem
- Violence or abuse
- Financial challenges
- Poverty – housing or food insecurity
- The influence of peers involved in illicit activity
- Lack of access to quality education
- Unstable employment
- Displacement by disaster or war
As communities of faith we must be committed to challenging the systems (cultural, economic, political) that create both vulnerability and the opportunities for exploitation. Human Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
As United Methodists, "We deplore all forms of commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery, and we denounce such business and support the abused and their right to freedom." (Social Principles, P.161.H)
Monday, January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Click here, to see what your church can do.