The Dirty Business of Child Trafficking Series: Another Form of Slavery
In my opinion, Americans for the most part, have a different view of slavery than the rest of the world. We can be a slave to our job, to our family, or to the government. But we don't tend to think of slavery as an institution anymore. Why? Simply put, our everyday lives are not affected by it, and when we are not affected by something, it is not a priority. But since child trafficking is slavery, maybe those of us who don't see it as a priority need to open our eyes and put a stop to it.
I admit, until recently child trafficking was not a priority of mine either. Oh, the threat was always there. My mother drilled the thought of someone stealing us away if we strayed too far from home into our heads at a very young age. It terrified her. Not because she had been a victim, but because she could put herself in that situation. Her father, who was unable to care for his family during the Depression, gave his children to an orphanage. Because of that experience, she could rationalize what it would be like to have your freedom taken away, and to be forced to obey someone bigger and stronger and who was given the legal right to do what they wanted.
Slavery is defined as the practice of owning a person as legal property and forcing him/her to obey. The definition of child trafficking is different only in the fact that the child is not the legal property of whoever has them.
A child who is stolen from his/her family, enticed by the promises of money, shelter, or food, or even sold or given up by a family member is viewed as the personal property of the procurer. That person now has the power over the child to demand anything and everything. And demand is just what they do. Children, and I am talking about all kids from birth to 18 years of age, may be forced to do all types of work as child slaves.
UNICEF's website states that these kids may be forced "to work in sweatshops, on construction sites, in houses as domestic servants, on the streets as child beggars, in wars as child soldiers, on farms, in traveling sales crews or in restaurants and hotels. Some are forced to work in brothels and strip clubs or for escort and massage services."
In other words, children are used for everything imaginable and even one of the most unimaginable--the prolific sex trade.
I know this little blog is not going to change the world. But I do hope it raises awareness of the enslavement of children through child trafficking. Please take a moment out of your busy day and check out http://www.unicef.org/protection/ to learn more. Next week, I will attempt to show you the world of the child soldier.