Author: Vassilia Orfanou
Editors: LUDCI.eu editorial team
Child sexual exploitation and human trafficking are connected and happen all over the world. Children make up 27% of all human trafficking victims worldwide, and two out of every three identified child victims are girls.
While blockbuster movies and breaking news have told stories of international trafficking and sexual exploitation for years, most trafficking cases normally don’t look like they are proclaimed. For instance, domestic child trafficking doesn’t always involve secretive border crossings. Moreover, kids aren’t always locked in dark places and international crime syndicates may not be part of the trafficking.
Domestic trafficking occurs when the entirety of the crime takes place within a country’s border, and no international boundary is crossed. Additionally, it happens in plain sight and does not attract attention. In fact, a child may only be taken across town and returned home afterwards.
In such cases, there is no grand rescue with happy endings as family members and relatives are usually involved. This is a story of where home is no longer safe heaven and adults use their power to trick and control kids, causing lasting harm.
Domestic trafficking takes place in all countries around the globe, regardless of shape, form, status, development, or any conditions. Anyone is in danger of being trapped in human trafficking through the means of coercion, force, and fraud.
In rural Peruvian communities, indigenous girls and their families are lured in with the promise of money, work, or a place to stay. What’s more, girls can be moved around the country, where they’re instead forced into sexual exploitation.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the humanitarian crisis happening because of armed conflict has left many families with few survival alternatives. With such cases, families facing financial hardships can be pushed into letting down their guard and accepting supposed opportunities they wouldn’t have.
Food security and poverty can also force some families to position child marriage as a way out as the bride’s dowry can help alleviate the family’s financial struggle. However, after marriage, some girls are sexually exploited. On top of that, child marriage can lead to early pregnancy, discontinued education, and health problems. These things can limit future opportunities for the child. Check back the following article
In India, gender, poverty, and caste discrimination can make kids vulnerable to domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation. Financial difficulties can drive children to the streets to beg for food and money, where they can become easy targets to traffickers. Check back on the tireless efforts of NGOs to save children and of IGOs efforts to rescue children from trafficking. LUDCI.eu brings the latest news on this subject and more. Check back here for more; both open and paid news are available.
Domestic tourism is another thing that contributes to child trafficking. This is because there are no laws against this crime in travel and tourism settings, leaving kids at the mercy of offenders. This has to change. Every person has a duty to learn about domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Check back the following article on how the hospitality and tourism industry can put a spot into this growing menace.
How domestic child trafficking happens
Child traffickers normally target children and lure them into sexual exploitation or forced labor through psychological manipulation, coercion, violence, threats, or even debt bondage. Most victims become romantically involved with a person who forces or manipulates them into sex work. Other victims are lured in with fake promises of jobs. Some are even forced to sell sex or get married by their parents or family members.
Note that victims may be involved in domestic trafficking for a few days or weeks, or even for several years. Furthermore, vulnerable populations and families are normally targeted by traffickers, including homeless and runaway youth, and also victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, social discrimination, and war.
Are girls and women the only victims of domestic trafficking?
This is one of the most misplaced concepts when it comes to human trafficking. Boys and men are just likely to be victims of domestic trafficking as girls and women. Nonetheless, they are less likely to be known and reported. This is because girls and boys are subjected to different types of trafficking. Girls are trafficked for forced marriage and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced labor, begging, peddling, or recruitment into gangs.
Now that the truth about domestic trafficking is in the open, it is also important for governments, organisations, the educational system (article here and here) and families to work together to stop it. Trafficking children for sexual exploitation or forced labor is a crime and cannot continue to increase in numbers and profits remaining undetected and invisible.
One of the best ways of ending domestic child trafficking is by tackling socio-economic factors driving the exploitation required to stop families from falling victim to, or even being the offenders.
If you discover or suspect domestic child trafficking, follow your instincts and do not question this twice. Report it to the authorities nearby. Call the police or reach out online at the CyberTipline.