Catastrophic crime: Modern-day slavery


Stuffed into the back of large vans, victims of trafficking and modern slavery are forced to travel long distances in small spaces. Victims often view this smuggling as their only hope, believing that success waits for them in powerful, economically developed countries.

Zoe Werner, Staff Reporter

On October 23, 2019,  39 people were found dead in a truck at a United Kingdom industrial park. The bodies are believed to be victims of human trafficking, all from Vietnam. The British and Vietnamese police have identified the victims, spanning from ages 15-44. Out of the victims, ten were teenagers, and three were minors. Maurice Robinson, the truck driver, has been arrested with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

  Approximately 18,000 Vietnamese each year set out on the journey to Europe in hopes of a better future. The desperation of these migrants is preyed on by smugglers. Internationally, between 20-40 million people are involved in modern-day slavery. Of these people, about 71% are females, while the remaining 29% are male. A large number of children involved in the trafficking system originated from foster care systems. On average, teens usually enter sex trafficking at around 12-14 years old. Many victims entering the sex trade are young girls, who were often sexually abused as children. Over half of the 2018 sex trade survivors were children.

  Traffickers exploit people when they are in a variety of situations, often leaving the victim feeling hopeless and useless. Poverty, illiteracy, a bad home life, or unemployment are just a few circumstances in which these traffickers manipulate their victims. They take advantage of the vulnerability of individuals in bad situations and offer them a life that may seem better or more successful. These traffickers have such a strong desire to gain a profit that they abuse the lives and freedom of innocent people. Putting the victims into work and prostitution results in personal financial gain for the traffickers, which is the sole motivation for the psychological and physical damage done to those involved.

  Human trafficking occurs all over the world, not specific to any area, meaning anyone can be affected. Vulnerability is preyed upon by those who view others as something to be manipulated. If you know anyone who is currently involved in trafficking and/or the human sex trade, seek help immediately. Junior Mason Binker said, “Human trafficking is unequivocally negative, and all decent people should be untired in resistance against what has unfortunately become a commonplace tragedy.” Stopping traffickers may not stop the vulnerability of the victim, but it frees them and allows them to resolve and improve their situation.