The Beginning to an End

Where does this systemic issue of human trafficking even begin? If we take a look at the situations that people live through prior to entering the forced sex or labor industry, then we can see that most of their past is comprised of poor living conditions. These people are so vulnerable that they are almost willing to do anything to receive the proper “care” they need. In the case of Vietnam, we can look at the history and the progress they’ve made. Poverty is a direct correlation to human trafficking. In order to keep cases of human trafficking down, we need a solution to keep poverty rates down.

Since 2010 the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines was 20.7%. The most recent data captured was in 2012 and the poverty headcount had dropped to 17.2%. At the same time in 2010, more than 85,000 workers travelled abroad to work. The government had reported that there were fourteen cases of labor trafficking, 153 cases of sex trafficking were prosecuted, and 274 individuals were convicted for sex trafficking offense. If we take a look in 2014, the Global Slavery Index shows us that 0.3592% of the population is involved in modern day slavery. Compared to 2010, the population involved in human trafficking was much higher. Already we can see the correlation between poverty and human trafficking. What are the next steps?

Diminishing the prevalence of human trafficking in Vietnam means we need to do something to improve the quality of life of those who can’t afford or who just don’t have it. The ability to decrease poverty rates is one of many solutions needed to take. If we take a look at countries like India, Nepal, and Ghana, Kevin Bales has done research to find that the solution to ending poverty coincides with ending human trafficking; there is no way to end poverty without ending human trafficking. In the case for India, Bales writes in his book, “Ending Slavery,” that a rescued boy, Ashaf starts a movement to end human trafficking in his little village, Bochi. Under Indian law, Ashaf had benefits kick-started the beginning of the end. With $5,400 put into the village, Ashaf and the other boys were able to make a productive asset. It’s the saying that goes, “it takes money to make money.”

It only took a community of antislavery activists that had already been through this hell to make a productive village. Vietnam can look at India as an example. If the people of Vietnam or even the government took time to make sure their people are employed and well-abled to support themselves first, then there is a solution in the making. Programs that help train recent survivors with their technical skills can help them get so far. A survivor making their own money is a symbol to them as their own freedom. Being able to offer this feeling by reducing poverty is the key to ending human trafficking.

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