In a 2014 study surveying 1,102 men, women and youth age 10 years or older who were receiving post-trafficking assistance services in Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam, the respondents were asked whether they had ever heard of human trafficking before they had left home. Fewer than half (44.1%) of all participants (from the various countries of origin) reported that they had previously heard about “trafficking,” though Thailand was the country with the highest proportion of nationals who had heard about trafficking (65.4%).
When we conducted our Social Impact Assessment (2015-2016), we were able to catch a glimpse into whether we have been able to help our students identify potential trafficking situations. They were given a question in which they were asked which of the following situations constituted trafficking, and the possible responses included one potential sex trafficking situation, a definite labor trafficking situation, and two other kinds of illegal migration.
Our results were that 73 out of 75 respondents (97%) were able to identify at least one of the trafficking situations. Of those, 53 (71%) identified BOTH the labor trafficking and sex trafficking scenarios as exploitative. (For those who are curious, 17 respondents identified the labor trafficking and not the sex trafficking scenario, and 3 respondents identified the sex trafficking but not the labor trafficking scenario).
Our students are clearly aware that trafficking is a problem and can identify at least some potentially abusive circumstances. While there is always more work that can be done, we can feel confident that our students have a leg up on trafficking awareness.