Mariah is the Program Manager of End Slavery Now. Currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati's DAAP program with a degree in Digital Design.
As the person who manages the general email account for ESN as well as its social media outlets, I get a lot of requests. Many of those requests are from students doing reports on human trafficking, and they ask for answers to a variety of questions. Below are some of the most common questions I get.
Why is human trafficking happening?
Money, money, money. Everyone is looking for work, and employers know they can exploit that vulnerability in people to make a profit for themselves.
Is this a new problem, or has it been going on for a while?
Slavery has always existed in the world, and people have always fought against it. As people have fought against it, slavery has had to take on new forms and new names. For example, we used to sell slaves at auctions in public squares in America, but once that became illegal, the slave masters had to find a new way of making a living. So, the trade went underground and has changed into a new form today that we call human trafficking.
Is this a local issue or worldwide?
Trafficking has been documented in every country in the world, so it is definitely a worldwide issue.
How does human trafficking happen?
Trafficking involves force, fraud or coercion. These means open up a variety of ways in which someone could be trafficked. Most often, people think about relatives or kidnappers selling people to a trafficker, but other ways include being tricked into debt bondage, being threatened or just being manipulated and lied to.
I address some of the most common ways in this blog post.
Who is responsible for human trafficking?
I’m not sure there is one person to blame for trafficking. Everything is primarily driven by economics. Traffickers don’t enslave people because they hate them; they enslave them in order to make money. Governments enslave people in order to make money as well. You could even say that we, members of the general public, are responsible because we perpetuate the cycle of forced labor when we buy slave-made goods or decide not to participate in efforts to change business supply chain practices or government policies.
What areas of the world do you find human trafficking to be most prevalent?
It is most prevalent in Southeast Asia. Countries such as India, Thailand and Cambodia have some of the largest numbers of slaves. Other countries enslave a larger percentage of their population. Examples include Uzbekistan, North Korea and Mauritania.
What are some of the risks when rescuing human trafficking victims?
We do not work with trafficking victims directly, so my answer is based on hearsay. The main risk in rescuing someone is making sure that they do not get re-trafficked. Taking someone out of that situation only for them to go back in can be worse than having never been rescued. We talk about six phases of abolition and only one of those is rescue, but you need the other five pieces in order to have lasting freedom for a survivor.
Other risks could be that the victim doesn’t know they are a victim and doesn’t want help. This could put rescuers in a dangerous situation with the traffickers. There is always risk when heading in to take people out of a situation because the traffickers obviously do not want you to do that.
How can other people help end human trafficking?
There are so many ways people can fight slavery in our world today! We have so many ideas on our act page.
End Slavery Now Questions
What do you specifically do at End Slavery Now?
I (Mariah) am the Program Manager for End Slavery Now. I am in charge of leading and marketing all our digital efforts. Anything that is put out by our brand, I am in charge of. We are an entirely digital platform with the goal of engaging the public in the fight to end slavery. We provide people with tangible actions they can take in their lives to fight slavery.
What are some ways that your organization works to help end slavery?
Our organization is focused on education. I say education rather than awareness because we target people who already know trafficking exists in some form or another. Our goal is to get the public to take tangible actions towards ending slavery; these actions go beyond sharing a social media post or marking a red X on their hands.
What is the most common form of human trafficking your organization works with?
We deal mostly with forced labor. Most of the world’s slaves are held in a forced labor situation, and most are adults. We want to help people see how they can grow the demand for slave free products and the fact that we need to change the way we shop in order to truly end slavery.
About how many child cases do you receive every year?
We are not a service provider, so we do not deal directly with cases. We educate the public on products made using child labor and provide consumers with alternative buying options.
What are your experiences with human trafficking?
If you mean real life experiences of encountering a victim, I have none. I have worked in this field of education for two years but have never met or encountered a victim myself that needed help. I have met plenty of survivors over the years and have been inspired by their stories.
If you have anymore questions you'd like answered please email email@example.com
August 23rd is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Honor it by planning a trip to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH.
Follow this bi-weekly podcast for education on trafficking.