Interpol freed 350 people, but there are about 21 million victims of human trafficking in the world
About 350 victims of human trafficking were rescued in an operation organized by Interpol in South America and the Caribbean. Human trafficking moves more money than illegal oil trafficking, illegal mining, trafficking of wild animals or smuggling. That means that not only is it an extremely lucrative business, but many people are victims of this crime. While 350 might seem like a considerable number of people, it is not even 0.01% of the estimated population that is a victim of human trafficking around the world.
Whether 15 or 2, the rescue of these people is a great achievement in terms of human rights. In addition, there are particular things about human trafficking that make this form of organized crime difficult to combat. According to Interpol, some victims do not recognize their situation as they receive more money than they would earn in their places of origin, so it is difficult to gather evidence and process cases where traffic is suspected. Other victims are simply manipulated and intimidated into providing false information to the authorities.
This time victims were rescued in Brazil, Venezuela, and several Caribbean islands, but human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal markets, according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI), an organization that analyzes illegal money flows, and there is no country immune. "With thousands [of people] seeking to cross borders in search of work, traffickers are targeting the most desperate and vulnerable members of society with promises of a better life", the agency said in the official statement on Operation Freedom.
Traffickers use attractive job offers to cheat their victims. When an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are offered $ 1,500 a week for working in a bar in the United States, six hours a day, and two days off, think that there are hundreds if not thousands of people who could be hired for that job and for less money. Of course, criminals will make a description much more elaborate and convincing, but you have to keep the perspective of things and evaluate carefully.
If you see offers on social networks or employment pages, check the contact details of the company. It is preferable to mistrust ads without an address, an institutional email or a web page where you can verify the information of the vacancy. Also, be suspicious of anyone who asks for photos or videos as part of the application. Even if the work has to do with advertising, modeling, or anything like that, sending photos to strangers is a terrible idea.
In general, if you are offered work in another city or another country and promised to have all the expenses of the trip payed for, it is better to be weary. The traffickers are clearly interested in taking the person to the workplace, but once the victim is in an unknown place he or she is more vulnerable, and even more so if they do not speak the language, as has happened to many.
Of course, it's not about being paranoid, but it does not hurt to be careful with those things. Fraudulent job offers abound and at best they can simply make you waste your time, but there are also bigger risks and millions of victims of human trafficking.
Latin American Post | Paula Bautista
Translated from "La trata de personas es más común de lo que cree, no caiga en falsas ofertas de empleo"