Human Trafficking is a form of slavery. It happens when human beings are sold and bought, often for the purposes of sexual exploitation. It includes people (mostly women and girls) being recruited, transported, transferred, harboured or received. These actions are accomplished by means of force, the threat of force, or other forms of coercion. It is always involuntary because even when consent is achieved, it is through some form of fraud, deception, abduction/kidnapping or abuse of power/vulnerability (adapted from the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, 2000).
Who is Being Trafficked?
90% of people sexually trafficked are women and girls. Members of society who are most at risk of sexual trafficking are women, the poor, youth, widows/abandoned wives, orphans/abandoned children, and those with histories of (sexual) abuse.
Why it Happens
Pull factor: Demand for sex. There is a global marketplace made up of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of brothels, bars, strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services, and street corners where (mostly) men purchase people for sexual acts.
Push factors: Poverty, high unemployment rates, domestic violence/childhood abuse, discrimination against women, desire for a better life and a way to help their families. These factors make women and girls more vulnerable to entry into the global sex trade.
Local pimps, family members or other small-time criminals can be involved in human trafficking. In Canada, gangs and larger organized crime networks are significantly involved in the sale and distribution of humans for exploitation. Traffickers may be male or female, family members or trusted associates, and affluent and seemingly upstanding members of the community. Recruiters and traffickers are often women and sometimes relatives; almost always known and trusted by targeted victims. Traffickers use various methods to trap victims and exploit vulnerable persons for profit or personal gain.
The Salvation Army’s Response
The Salvation Army recognizes the inherent human dignity in each person, and has a long history of efforts to protect that human dignity; with a special emphasis on the most vulnerable members of our societies. The Salvation Army is passionate about ending human sex trafficking and ensuring that the human rights of trafficked persons are respected.