(World Day Against Trafficking in Persons)

Undoubtedly, human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. Increasing inequalities coupled with the desperation of millions of vulnerable people, all aggravated by the Covid-19 crisis, provide human trafficking networks with the perfect breeding ground to carry out one of the biggest and most heinous acts of sexual or labour exploitation. 

The majority, more than half, of all victims of human trafficking are people from developing areas, especially impoverished areas or, where appropriate, areas of war. In this context, trafficking networks for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which is undoubtedly the most abominable of all, recruit their victims by promising them a better future when, in reality, it is all a deception to make huge profits at the cost of objectifying and dehumanising those who fall into the trafficking networks by treating them as mere merchandise, as mere «disposable» objects of consumption. 

According to data from UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), trafficking in human beings, especially for the purpose of sexual exploitation, continues to affect women and girls in particular (49% women and 23% girls) and, to a lesser extent, men and boys (21% men and 7% boys). Worst of all, very close to our cities, in broad daylight and sometimes with the knowledge of the authorities, there are victims of human trafficking who are being systematically exploited to the point of exhaustion with the complicit silence of those who could prevent it if they really had the will to do so. A silence that, moreover, contributes to continue stigmatising, singling out and criminalising the victims as responsible for a crime for which they are never guilty.

No victim is in a human trafficking network of their own free will. We tend not to want to differentiate between «consent» and «will» without thinking that, in situations of extreme need, death threats or environmental pressures, a person may agree and, therefore, «consent» to sell their body as an object of sexual pleasure or to work tirelessly in conditions of slavery but, on the contrary, we never think that, without those circumstances that place them in a situation of extreme need or vulnerability, they would never do it voluntarily. Therefore, no one wants to be a victim of sexual or labour exploitation. Enough of criminalising and blaming victims whose only «crime» has been to live in areas where hunger or war are rife. No more lies. 

Despite efforts to combat trafficking in human beings, trafficking networks still enjoy widespread impunity, both in the countries of origin, where recruitment takes place, and in the countries of destination, where they are exploited to pay off a «debt» that never ceases to increase day by day. The demand to all governments of all nations is clear: put an end to trafficking in human beings for whatever purpose and wherever it takes place in the world. 

Let us not forget that human trafficking is an attack on the inviolable human dignity of every person, a violation of the human rights of the victims and, for this reason, a crime against humanity that must be pursued to the end. 

Human beings are not objects of consumption, they are not merchandise, nor can they be subjected to the yoke of sexual, labour or any other kind of slavery. Human beings are neither bought nor sold.

Because life and human dignity are priceless. 

Let us put an end to human trafficking. 

Let’s do it now.