For many years, my academic research has revolved around the data of human trafficking; trying to determine how we can improve data collection and trying to quantify the size of the problem to determine if it can be adequately resources.
However, in a discussion with a friend with earlier this week we were exploring the corporate impact of human trafficking and how it can lead to an umbalanced economic model in which there is no cost for labour (since labour and means or production always have an associated cost in economic models), and by skewing labour costs, businesses that use trafficked labour are not only committing a crime, but they are creating an imbalance in the local economic model (potentially putting competitors out of business). This is an serious concern in emerging economies where imbalanced economic models may result in political instability and expansion of corrupt practices. All that to say that the discussion was on a very different level than my regular academic research about data surrounding offenders and persons being trafficked.
Then one evening at the end of the week I was speaking with a the daughter of a friend, and this young woman had been in a bad relationship with a troubled young man. However as I started to peel back the layers of the relationship, she had mentioned that his friends were asking their girlfriends to have sex with men for money so that they could get away together (classic “Romeo” operations). Fortunately this is a strong-willed young women with a strong support network and as extricated herself from the relationship. However, many young girls are not so lucky.
So the events of this week continue to remind me about the many facets of human trafficking, and how each of us can be impacted by this issue, and that we still have much work to do in this field to learn, to understand and to combat human trafficking in all our communities.