“Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity. It’s a disgrace that people are treated as objects, deceived, raped, often sold many times for different purposes and, in the end, killed or, in any case, physically and mentally damaged, ending up thrown away and abandoned” - Pope Francis (Source: Catholic news Services Dec 12, 2013).
Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.
Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, women and girls comprise 71 per cent of human trafficking victims, the report states.
Myanmar is a source country that revealed significantly of country where there are higher rate of out of school, worsen poverty, lack of job opportunities and faced with internal arm conflict. The need to hunt for job has no option. Rather, people are trapped into forced migration, labor exploitation of both the adult and child, forced marriage, and prostitution. However, the accurate data analysis of trafficking is not assessable.
“Human trafficking does not have age or sex limit. We should be very careful with people who become very nice to us, it can be girlfriends, boyfriends, even our relatives”, said Mr. U Win Myint of the Anti-Trafficking Task Force in Yangon Region, implying that everyone can be a victim of human trafficking. Mr. U Win Mint also emphasized the importance of proper public awareness on the issue and invited all people work hand-in-hand to prevent it happening in our country, community, even family.
Ms. Rosy (Changed name), a human trafficking survivor from Myanmar, was invited to share her heartfelt story of how she was trafficked and exploited to work in a rubber plantation in Mya Wa Di border (Myanmar, close to Thai border) after her husband was bribed using beers. She managed to escape after she was connected with the task force.
Fighting human trafficking is not a sole responsibility of one person or one institution as stressed by Mr. Jirawat Chenpasuk of Caritas Thailand that trafficking is transnational crime. Thus, it is imperative to collaborate, strengthen our collective voice, and maximize our resources.
Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) organized Blue Heart Campaign on a World day against Human Trafficking with a straightforward objective “To educate people participation to end modern slavery”. The event was held on People’s Square and People’s Park of Yangon, Myanmar on August 6, 2017 and was able to attract around 800 people from various ages and groups to support the campaign, including Anti- Trafficking Task Force of Yangon, Myanmar, Sisters of Good Shepherd Community, Caritas Members and Partners (Cambodia, Vietnam, Macau, Singapore, Spain, Thailand) and mass media.
Besides stickers, t-shirts and posters, the attendants also learned more about the cause, impact and ways to prevent human trafficking through games and songs by popular local singers who share their concerns on human trafficking. There were booths hosted by different agencies, such as KMSS, GMS-Anti Trafficking Task Force of Caritas in Asia Region, ISSARA Institute, IOM, GSMF, FED, RATNA MAHAL Education Care Group and the Anti Trafficking Task Force of Yangon Region that provided more information based on their experiences respectively.
This special occasion is hoped to raise public awareness and to empower the vulnerable people, particularly women and children, and strengthen their ties with many key stakeholders who are working in combating human trafficking.