Human Trafficking — the Dark Side of Globalization

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The ease with which we can now travel, send money, and communicate has dramatically reduced the costs of shipping human beings — into prostitution and forced labour. Our recent post highlighted Hatti and Maiti Nepal and their work to help those trafficked in Nepal. The plight of Nigerian children trafficked through Manchester is reported here.

Now, Emma Thompson and Sam Roddick have teamed up to highlight this modern slavery at a UN forum which meets in Vienna in February (go to UN.GIFT). They are backing an art installation that dramatically explores globalization’s dark side.

7 cargo containers illustrate what happens to women sold into the global sex trade. Each container — by a different artist — shows the stages of the trafficking process, starting with hope and then descending into fear and despair.

The installation was first shown last September in London’s Trafalgar Square, to much praise (video here). Emma Thompson is Chair of the Helen Bamber Foundation, which helps the victims of human rights violations and raises awareness of human trafficking. (Helen Bamber herself worked to help concentration camp victims).

Last week, 11 Romanian children were taken into care after being seized from alleged child traffickers (who were using them for crime on Britain’s streets, including Manchester, in a modern version of Oliver Twist). Go here for why kids in Romania still get a hard deal.

The choice of containers for the exhibition is inspired. Globalization would not have been possible without the container. The introduction of this humble steel box from the 1950s onwards allowed a much faster turnaround at ports, thereby dramatically cutting the costs of global trade. Now it is used to smuggle people.

Abandoned containers have been turned into homes by the poor. But now the construction industry is starting to use them to build affordable homes (there is one housing development in London). And a new school in Cape Town is built using containers (go here)

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3 Responses to “Human Trafficking — the Dark Side of Globalization”

  1. Tushar Says:

    United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking website http://www.ungift.org aims to be an extension of UN GIFT activities worldwide. We would like it to evolve into a vibrant online community where people exchange views, showcase their work, talk about their experiences and strengthen the fight against human trafficking. With your help we can make it a valuable resource and a tool to take this fight forward. The organized crime of human trafficking needs a fitting organized response.

    United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was formally launched in London on 26 March 2007. It is designed to have a long-term impact to create a turning point in the worldwide fight against human trafficking. 27million people are trafficked each year. UN.GIFT intends to take action against human trafficking in all its manifestations – commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labour, organ trade, camel jockeying, forced marriages, domestic labour, illegal adoption, and other exploitative work – through creating partnerships at a global level with all sectors of society.

    The ultimate goal of the Global Initiative is to contribute to ending human trafficking– estimated to have a total market value of about $32 billion worldwide. UNODC has a two-pronged strategy for achieving this goal – increasing public awareness of the problem and coordinating existing but disparate efforts by international and national groups, governments and non-governmental organizations and by concerned individuals to end the practice.

    Numerous regional GIFT events will culminate in Vienna with a Global Forum against Human Trafficking from 13th to 15th Feb 2008.

    The objective of The Vienna Forum is to raise awareness, facilitate cooperation and partnerships among the various stakeholders. It will bring together representatives from Member States, UN system organizations, other regional and international organizations, the business community, academia, non-governmental organizations and other elements of civil society. The Forum will allow for an open environment to enable all parties involved to take concrete steps to fight human trafficking, within their spheres of action.

    The Forum will be a catalyst for solution-seeking ideas and address three overriding themes on human trafficking: 1.Vulnerability: why does human trafficking happen;
    2. Impact: human and social consequences of human trafficking;
    3. Action: innovative approaches to solving complex problems.
    · It is time to join forces to prevent human trafficking.
    · Give this global problem a global solution.
    · Rally under the banner of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.
    · Get involved!
    · Together we can save people and put traffickers behind bars.

    Tushar

  2. Nellyann Suchla Says:

    Why not enforce economic sanctions against the countries that don’t enforce their laws and agreements regarding human trafficking to the fullest? Or why not pull the corporations out of these vulnerable countries and help the people out without economically exploiting them, why don’t we talk about what the real problems are instead of fighting the symptoms? Why are the people at the top not being held accountable for those under their jurisdiction? It’s all nice and dandy to come of with little theme statements and little initiative task forces that only run after the problem instead of cutting the problem at its root…;let’s get to the root of this and uncover who is really responsible for this global phenomenon…like seriously…open your eyes, open your mouth and use your mind, body and soul to say and do what needs to be done…we know what it is, where it is, where it goes…and deep down after removing all the layers, we know who’s responsible…we should stop wasting time and be more pro-active….and less cowardly in standing up for humanity, for ourselves…..

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