Human trafficking has gained worldwide attention in recent years. Activists, citizens, celebrities, students, and faith communities have come together to raise awareness and support for organisations that are fighting to end slavery.
According to the most recent data, there are 40 million people enslaved worldwide, and 152 million children are victims of child labour
What The Numbers Mean
Women and girls are disproportionately affected, making up 71% of the total number of people trafficked, 99% of the people forced into the commercial sex industry, and 84% of forced marriages.
Our Myanmar site has seen an increase in victims of forced marriages coming into our shelters. The statistics are staggering. In 2016, an estimated 15.4 million people were living in forced marriages. Unsurprisingly, 84% involve women and girls. One in three forced marriages are children, and of those, the vast majority are girls. Of the 15.4 million, 6.5 million of these cases occurred from 2012-2016.
Due to poverty, landscape, and war-torn weakened borders shared with five different countries, the population of Myanmar is uniquely vulnerable to this kind of trafficking. Many women we meet, have been tricked into marriage by people they believe to be job brokers. Sadly, they don’t find out until they have relinquished their passports, crossed borders, and find themselves alone in a foreign country unable to speak the language and deemed illegal immigrants. If they are fortunate enough to escape, most are arrested and held for Immigration violations.
It’s been challenging to connect with officials in foreign countries and advocate on behalf of this population, but we have been working hard, and are happy to be making inroads. Over the last year, we have established ourselves with Immigration officials in several neighbouring countries, and are helping them identify trafficking victims so they can get them to the proper channels.
In light of the recent data, organizations like the International Labour Organisation are calling for greater efforts to fight slavery. The task at hand is immense, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We can tell you from experience that every small act matters, and that as inconsequential as it may seem, every little thing you do on behalf of the voiceless, makes a difference.
What You Can Do To Help…
To help, Eden has made it easy to get involved. One of the easiest things you can do to help the women in our shelters is to buy a piece of our jewellery. It’s that simple.
If that’s not enough for you and you want to do more, follow us on social media, share our posts with your social circles, and speak up about human trafficking. You can directly donate (https://beyond.org/donate/eden.php) You can host an Evening of Hope jewellery party in your home.(https://edenministry.org/pages/host-a-party) Internships are also available. To learn about current intern and volunteer positions check here (https://edenministry.org/pages/intern-volunteer).