Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination! Observed annually on March 21, the UN adopted this day in response to when police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in South Africa. The UN General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate racism.
Is Racism Related to Trafficking? Yes.
Although apartheid has ended, racial tensions remain an issue the international community grapples with to this day. We have written before about how racism and other forms of ethnic discrimination contribute to trafficking:
Not only do sex trafficking victims suffer from the abuse and trauma of being trafficked, when they are children of color, they are often further victimized by a system that is less likely to see them as victims, and instead is more likely to view them as criminals and sexual deviants. Children in prostitution should be seen as victims in need of help, regardless of how they got there, if for no other reason than of being under the age of consent. Instead, child prostitutes who are racial or ethnic minorities are more likely to be targets of harrassment and arrest, and when arrested, are more likely to encounter harsher punishments.
What You Can Do
If you are interested in learning more about how racism plays a role in trafficking here are a few helpful sources:
“The Racial Roots of Human Trafficking” by Cheryl Nelson Butler
“Race, Class, Gender and Deviancy: The Criminalization of Prostitution” by Ann M. Lucas
“The Race Dimensions of Trafficking in Persons–Especially Women and Children” – UN World Conference Against Racism
Talk About It More
If you feel so moved, you can share things you’ve learned about the links between racism and trafficking to help others see it’s not just a stand alone issue, but that it plays a role lots of other problems we care about–including protecting vulernable children from abuse and exploitation.