The Harsh Reality We Face

From the moment we were born to now, our innocent minds have been exposed to many events. Our experience expands from simply learning how to walk to learning how to write essays. As we are continuing to grow up, we notice those differing from us and actions that are questionable, but when the youth question about these differences, society answers us with the “fact” that we are only required to care about ourselves and should not stand out. Then, we reach our adulthood and are recognized as independent. As an independent, we have to struggle to do taxes and other duties that are required from citizens. This step into adulthood is a big jump from being a minor who only has to be concerned with school. An adult is expected to know their life routine, but when they are not exposed to a variety of experiences, they run into unfortunate events that can mentally damage their overlook on life.

This applies to many people who have suffered from social issues and those who have been the victims of an unknown business: human trafficking. Human trafficking is an illegal business that involves the selling of people for profit. This business runs underground, satisfying customers’ demands. A demand that customers have is the desire for a partner, which contributes to the sexual exploitation of girls. This ongoing practice of money making must be ended because the sexual exploitation of girls goes against their basic human rights and has harmed the victims mentally and physically and their families emotionally. We must spread awareness of this issue that has existed for years, understand the situation of low-income families who are often targeted as victims for human trafficking, and figure out a way to cease the trafficking of humans.

The Horror of the Illegal Business

Because China has a one-child policy and a cultural preference for sons, men outnumber women by a lot. Because many single men want to continue their families, the selling of wives from another country like Vietnam has become a very profitable business. The demand for wives has opened up this underground business; thus, it leads to the disappearance of girls ranging from teens to young adults. These girls who disappear are sold across the borders of China for the price of a buffalo. Sometimes trafficked girls are found and saved from their captors, but tragically, many remain missing.

Listen to their Stories

Many victims and their family members have shared their perspective upon this situation, but not many of us look actively for these stories. It is important for these stories to be heard for us to be vigilant members of society. Tien, a surviving victim of being sold and forced into marriage, was a 16 year old when she got involved. She planned on escaping the pressure from her village on having a marriage and believed that her cousin would help her get a job, but her relative abandoned her on the borders of China, leaving her in the hands of a broker who had a match set up. Tien spent 4 months in the broker’s house refusing to go, but she came across another Vietnamese girl who was in the same situation. The girl advised Tien that learning Chinese would help her escape, which she could learn from a husband. After 2 years, Tien was able to return to Vietnam and had to change her SIM card so that she would not be tracked. The past continued to haunt her, but with the help of Hagar International, she was able to regain her self-confidence. She aims to become a social worker who helps others just like how she was helped by others.

Even though cases like these can have a happy ending, most do not have a perfectly tied ending. We need to listen to the story of family members who have nothing left of the one they lost. Fifty-six-year-old Do has a terminal illness and wants to see Mi, her daughter, before she dies, but Mi has been missing for 2 years. It was established that they were followed by two men while Do was running errands. After hearing about the kidnappings of three more girls, Mi’s sister-in-law would not let any other female members go outside and would only go out if her husband accompanied her. Along with others, this family suffered from their ambiguous loss, not being able to confirm the whereabouts of their relative.

Addressing Society’s Claims

In this world, it is easy to view others as “them” and ourselves as “us”. Our minds revolve around our own lives, thus making it difficult to comprehend others’ situations. Unfortunately, not everyone empathizes with the victims, as victim blaming is still prevalent in our society. “Many people still label the victims as ‘bad girls who deserve to be trafficked,’ or ‘lazy, greedy people who want to earn money’” – Dang Thi Thanh Thuy, Hagar International. The testimonies mentioned earlier have provided nothing related to these ideals. It is important to understand that these people are not at fault because no one deserves to be stripped off their human rights and be treated as nothing more than property.

As mentioned earlier, people are expected to be able to attend to their own affairs, and if they are not able to, society looks down upon them, seeing them as incapable and undeserving of help. Due to the “us vs. them” concept, victims are easily blamed and are told that they should have done something to avoid it. If we throw away the concept of “us vs. them”, then we may be able to understand the victim’s story and feel the desire to help. How can we expect these victims to be prepared for situations they have not encountered nor been taught about? Victim blaming has disregarded the criminal action and allowed reprehensible behavior like this to continue.

A Global Community Discussion

It is up to us, as a community, to decide and act upon what we believe is just. As members of the global community, we should feel inclined to act against unjust deeds. Discussions have been held around the world about supporting the victims and ending this underground business of trafficking women. A call for residents to act is a practical method of handling illegal business. One way for us to act is to look for signs that indicate that something is wrong. Signs can vary from seeing the victim appear distressed to noticing the questionable injuries the victim has. It is important to not overlook these signs, but it can be insensible to ask about injuries if given the opportunity to approach these victims. Another way for us to combat sex trafficking is to educate others and bring to light this issue. The lack of education on this subject contributes to the existence of trafficking, so for it to end, we must expose the practice and reach our hands out to those affected by this cruelty. Although there have already been some discussions on these methods of helping, the contribution of the community is necessary for change.

As part of a diverse community, we are bound to have differing opinions and ideas on this issue. We should be open to new ideas addressing these issues, so the ideas mentioned before are just examples of ways we can act. The discussion on this issue is open to talk about, so do not fear sharing new ideas of advocacy.

Leave Nothing Behind

In the end, the goal is to have nothing remaining of sex trafficking. Slavery was a practice in the past, and it got abolished in the United States during the 19th century. Ideally, the selling of human beings should not be on-going, but in the present, people are still treated as property and sold underground, invisible to the public eye. The idea of how people are born different and deserve to be treated poorly is a terrible part of the past that remained. The new practices like human trafficking were formed from these remaining ideas and concepts of previous practices like slavery. Thus, it is important for these concepts to be addressed for this injustice to end.


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