Human trafficking is still a big issue worldwide, but here's five strategies combatting it

Unfortunately human trafficking is one of the world's most profitable industries for criminals and is especially apparent in Latin America, the Caribbean islands and India, where 6,877 human trafficking cases were reported to the National Crime Records Bureau in 2017, up 25 percent from one year prior.

Many children get into the vicious and demeaning cycle of human trafficking by growing up in poor families and being located in impoverished states, such as Assam, Bihar and West Bengal. These children, usually girls, then get sold into sexual slavery and endure exploitation with little hope of ever escaping and with almost no hope of ever having their captors punished. In 2015, trails were completed for 384 of the 5,003 child trafficking cases in India, with only 55 ending in a conviction.

Throughout Latin America especially, there are many source, transit and destination countries for trafficked people, where organized crime groups send both adults and children to do horrendous acts.

Human trafficking in Canada

Peel region, consisting of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, has a higher rate of trafficking incidents per capita than any other region in Canada, with most victims being women under the age of 24, report Peel Regional Police. According to The Globe and Mail, Peel Region Council introduced a strategy in June to increase prevention methods and provide more resources for victims and though provincial and federal governments have stepped in to help too, it's still not doing enough to bring the numbers down.

Most authorities throughout the world have struggled to effectively tackle this growing issue, but there are some forward-looking strategies being implemented to help fight this, which we are highlighting in honour of World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Tell the public

The biggest issue with child trafficking is that both parents and children don't know when they're sending their children into these situations, until it is too late. Some Latin American countries have begun public awareness campaigns targeting populations that are most likely to fall victim, such as Peru, which is making the public aware of traffickers' methods in a program called So They Don't Find You.

Provide empowerment

Throughout South America, governments have begun realizing the power of utilizing industries to their advantage to help identify and report human trafficking operations. Truckers Against Trafficking in the US is an organization that trains commercial drivers to report human trafficking to a hotline, including a program that trains these drivers to be on the lookout for suspicious signs.

This model has proven to be successful and is being replicated in Mexico currently under the name Guardians of the Asphalt, which aims to provide drivers with the knowledge of how to spot and when to report trafficking.

Training public servants

The police play an important role in dismantling human trafficking operations but other public servants can play a role in stopping these crimes, too. US-based organization Polaris has begun training code and liquor enforcement officers on how to recognize human trafficking in commercial venues, which have the potential to increase the amount of people patrolling for these crimes.

However in Latin America, there is poor enforcement of regulatory frameworks and laws which make this strategy difficult to pursue there. A significant number of victims from this continent do end up in the US, meaning this approach could have an effective outcome for those ending up stateside.

Working together

Human trafficking is a transnational crime which makes it important for governments to work together in stopping these crimes. Interpol is one example of this when, in 2016, the organization collaborated with 25 Central and South American countries to take down several crime networks, including 134 suspected traffickers and freeing 2,700 victims.

Operations of this size are not usually commonplace, but smaller operations can be successful as well. In 2018, an Interpol operation uncovered a trafficking ring exploiting women from Venezuela for sex work in Spain.

Find the money trail

Money laundering is a large part of the human trafficking industry and tracking illicit finances through banks can be an effective way to thwart these crimes. Countries are beginning to move their attention to watching the flow of large sums of money in and out of banks in attempts to prosecute criminal organizations, many of which make these finances from forcing workers into the sex trade.

Beyond reporting suspicious transactions, financial and commercial businesses can eliminate slave labour and human trafficking from their supply chains by making their suppliers comply with anti-human trafficking laws and regulations.

📸: OSCE 📈: Statistics Canada