Ahh… the demand of human trafficking; that’s a rough one. Sure, we like to think that someone else is responsible, some un-named other, some bad guy, someone who sits in a dimly lit room, brooding over ways to take over the world; but we’d be wrong. We, the normal, the hideously average, we are responsible for human trafficking. As much as it hurts to think about, its us.
Lets have a bit of imaginarium here, you’ve watched/read The Hunger Games right? I love that mischievous scamp Katniss, not just because she’s amazing with the bow & quick-witted with the put-downs, but because she really puts domestic human rights abuses in perspective. When you read/watched her life, in her universe, who did you side with? I bet if you’re like me, you sided with Katniss & friends, you saw the poor town, saw the oppression & you related to it. I bet at one point you even thought “man, I’m just like her, everyone is always trying to keep me down”. You probably related to the government oppression, the abuse etc. I bet you thought that you were like Katniss huh?
Then you saw the opulence of the capital, how clueless people were, gallivanting around in their expensive clothes, throwing away food, flaunting their good-fortune, and really using the people from the districts as a commodity, a means to an end, rather than viewing them as human beings.
I bet you identified with Katniss, but if you’re reading this we’re (myself included) more like the people in the capital. We’re often clueless, we use people, we view them as commodities, and we’re the reason that human trafficking and the majority of human rights violations occur. It’s rough to handle, to go from feeling like you’re the oppressed, to realizing that you’re the oppressor. I’ve had numerous people flip out on me & tear me apart because of it (don’t shoot the messenger)
Human trafficking occurs because of demand. It is a crime of economics and human rights violations. If there was no demand, there would be no supply.
So where does demand come from?
Us, the global consumers of the world!
We demand inexpensive commodities; manufacturers are more than willing to provide us with that. If things can’t be made cheaply enough, off shore it where people can be freely exploited and few say anything about it. Don’t even think about justifying exploitation by saying “we’re helping them out”, Nike sells shoes for hundreds, how much of that goes to the teenager assembling them?
We demand inexpensive and exotic food: growers are more than willing to provide us with that. For domestic food, we can import & exploit workers, for exotic food, we can exploit them in their lands.
We demand cheap, meaningless, sex: traffickers are more than willing to provide us with that. If you want to spend $300 an hour to sleep with a kid, you better believe that there is someone willing to come up with that kid.
It’s rough to think about, that we, the fairly affluent are responsible for travesties because of our consumer tendencies. But, unfortunately we are.
So how do you reduce demand? We’ll, you’re going to have to decide if the human factor is more valuable than your everyday luxuries. Can you live with ethical shoes? Can you pay a bit more for ethical chocolate? Are you able to control yourself & not buy commercial sex?
It’s a rough question, are you willing to give up a bit of your comfort for someone else. I know some people are, some aren’t.
Look what happened in The Hunger Games when the oppressed finally realized that the capital was living fat off of the districts…
Food for thought