We all know that slavery isn’t a thing anymore. Well, what if we say it’s not really like that? The ancient ways of enslaving people might not exist nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that some don’t treat others like cattle and slaves. In fact, they do, and we call it human trafficking. It’s happening across the globe, and everyone needs to do their part to stop it.
But why would someone do such an awful thing, you might ask. Well, there are two main reasons why modern slavery exists. They include commercial sex and labor. Namely, sex trafficking means that people sell young men and women across continents to work as prostitutes. On the flip side, labor trafficking is pretty self-explanatory.
This practice is horrible and unacceptable in the 21st century. Yet, it still goes on, even with laws and legislations all over the planet that prevent it. As such, we — as regular people — need to join the fight and help out in any way possible. One such way is to help survivors of human trafficking, and that’s what we’ll talk about in the following few paragraphs.
The Life After Trauma
Although they might be safe from immediate harm, survivors of human trafficking experience many problems after they are rescued, including both mental, emotional, and physical issues. Such horrifying experiences leave scars for life, regardless of how strong of an individual one might be.
Mental trauma is one of the common concerns a victim of human trafficking might experience. The main reason for this is that their captors dehumanize them, making them think they have no power or say over actions they can partake in. This leads to serious psychological effects, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and much more.
Another common issue is physical trauma. Sexual slaves are often raped and beaten if they dare oppose their captors. Such experiences leave visible marks and injuries across their bodies. Furthermore, most sex slaves have underlying sexual health issues, like STIs or other infections, due to a lack of proper health care.
Life after trauma is also hard because of ostracism. Namely, this means that victims either choose not to connect with their friends and family due to shame, or their friends and family don’t want to connect with them. Additionally, victims of this crime can also lack the skills to live independently, so they require time to adapt once more to normal life.
Things That You Should Do
Luckily, there are many ways to help human trafficking survivors beat their mental and physical issues and reintegrate into society. The first and obvious thing we should do is learn what they are going through. As such, the chances of spotting red flags in their behavior will be much higher.
But it’s not just about knowledge. Listening to them is as important as anything. From allowing them to share their feelings to simply providing them company — it’s key to be there for them, both as a presence and as someone who can hear them out. This will also allow them to understand that your goal is to help, not exploit them.
Other actions you can take include the following:
- Offer help straight from the get-go;
- Private conversations;
- Lower your expectations about their recovery;
- Challenge their low and wrongful opinions about themselves;
- Empower them;
- Support their strengths;
- Don’t underestimate their fears;
- Validate their feelings.
Things You Shouldn’t Do
In essence, you shouldn’t do anything opposite to what we’ve just mentioned. This means that helping victims of human trafficking can’t work if you don’t listen to their feelings. Moreover, you shouldn’t overestimate their state and stimulate them to do anything prematurely. No matter how helpful you might think your actions are, any rash decisions can make their state even worse than it is currently.
Additionally, exposing them to the public can be counterproductive as well. Due to their horrifying experiences, being in the spotlight can work opposite to what you’re trying to accomplish. They need time to readjust, so acting as if they’ve just gone through a bad breakup isn’t going to cut it. Victims of human trafficking lived in a literal hell. As such, they require your full patience and acceptance, not the opposite.
How Will the Victims Recover From the Help?
Like any other recovery, the one from being a human trafficking victim is a long one. It can take up to several years sometimes. Moreover, some individuals never fully recover. The trauma they lived through is so terrible that they can’t cope with living a normal life anymore. But don’t let that put you down. Helping them isn’t in vain, regardless of the outcome.
Since listening to them is one of the main ways of helping victims, it’s only fair to explain how it helps. Namely, acting as an ear will provide them with a feeling of comfort. It allows for them to open up in a safe environment. You’d be surprised how much it means to be heard when you were suppressed and enslaved for so long.
On the other hand, it’s key to challenge bad opinions they might have about themselves. Due to being in such a submissive position for so long, it’s common for victims of human trafficking to not value their worth. But that’s where you come in. You are there to encourage them to feel better about themselves, which is more than necessary to start over again.
Why Should You Care For These People?
It’s okay to question why we should all care about victims of human trafficking. This topic isn’t in the mainstream media as much as it should be, so many people don’t know how to feel about it. Nevertheless, the answer is simple — we should care about them because no one else will. They are vulnerable without anyone by their side to help them pull through.
And as if this wasn’t enough, human trafficking is against basic human rights. It’s a crime against humanity, meaning that it’s wrong on every level. Stripping a person from their freedoms is a backward and vicious practice. Moreover, it takes the whole world back into the past, to some of the worst and darkest times of our existence.