At staff meeting today we watched, Not My Life. A film about human trafficking and modern slavery. Narrated by Glenn Close, this documentary explores the cruel inhumanity of trafficking and slavery around the world today. I recommend it for anyone wanting to get a clear picture of the types of trafficking and slavery, whether in Africa, India, Cambodia, Europe, or the United States.
Somewhere in the movie someone defines sex trafficking as supported by,
force, fraud, and coercion
You might think that force and coercion are the same but here is how I hear those words:
force: the physical power to control another person
fraud: deception often makes it possible to get more cooperation without using as much force
coercion: psychological efforts to get someone to do what you want. It is one thing to kidnap someone. It is another to convince them to act in ways that they would never choose to do. Coercion could be physical but sex traffickers rarely stand over their slaves and make them act out with those who buy them–at least after the first times. No, coercion is often psychological. If you don’t do this, I will kill your family. No one will want you now. Force starts the process, coercion keeps the victim entrapped.
Why is this helpful? Because these three items can be found anywhere. It is far too easy to believe that trafficking happens elsewhere or is something that only a monster does. Well, that last phrase is true…but we all know a little about force, manipulation, and deception. These features are found in everyday life.
Want to do something about trafficking? Stand up against force, manipulation (coercion) and deception everywhere you see it–in yourself, in others, in systems.