Following the latest news from Gaza, about Maltese activist Bianca Zammit, we thought it was appropriate to commemorate her activism with ADZ. She wrote this article way back in 2003.
From the whole team we wish her a speedy recovery.
Posted 11 Mar 2003 by Bianca Zammit.
Human trafficking, a term used to define a situation where people including children are tricked, forced or threatened in order to be transported to other parts of that country or another country all together where they are coerced to work in factories or enter the sex trade. Those destined for factories become imprisoned with no compensation for their labour and become victims of an irrational schedule that allows very little time to rest. Human trafficking uses the same methods that were used in the slave trade. It is difficult to know for certain the amount of people that are trafficked each year but the United States government estimates that at least 700,000 women and children. In Bangladesh traffickers trick parents by promising a bright future for their children with job opportunities and marriage but in reality they are taken to India and Pakistan and forced into prostitution. Those women that manage to escape are detained by government officials to “protect” them. They are usually put in cells with criminals and these leads to further personal aggravation. Those women that reach their families are greeted with disappointment and shame due to their prostitution and the importance of family honor in these countries leads them to become social outcasts with any possibility of recovery from the trauma experienced extremely difficult. In 2000 the government passed a law that made trafficking illegal with harsh penalties but this law remains to be implemented effectively. Up to now police either ignored accusations regarding trafficking or are themselves part of this business.
In Russia, promising advertisements about stable job and career opportunities abroad are used as traps so that once the women that apply reach their destination they are immediately forced into prostitution. The experience of being in a foreign country where people do not understand one’s language is a very alienating condition and many times these women succumb to the orders they are given. This nightmare is increased by the further rape, abuse and torture these women are subjected to by the traffickers. If men are trafficked these are forced into agricultural or construction work with no pay. Some horrendous circumstances state that the trafficked victims must repay their traffickers the whole cost of transportation. If a victim manages to escape and return home there are no services that can aid the victim and have to face the turmoil on their own. In Russia there is no law against trafficking and cases are rarely taken into consideration. Similar above experiences are shared also in Japan where activists calculated that Yen 4 Trillion ($400 million) a year is made out of trafficking. In Japan there are no laws against trafficking and traffickers are penalized in accordance with the prostitution or immigration laws. In 1999, 127 sex slaves were freed by police officials, the traffickers being charged with trafficking. However, such incidents remain the exception rather than the rule. It is important that all governments introduce into the laws a clear definition of trafficking and a prohibition in any form of exploitation. The measures must be consistent with the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. Police officials must be trained on how to recognize trafficking and how to treat it, including how to help the victims.