A key to preventing trafficking is knowing that traffickers use young people’s vulnerabilities to target their victims. There are many forces and situations that cause vulnerability in a child’s life, and the increasing unemployment issue for vulnerable young people, is a growing concern.
As part of our prevention services we consistently address the facts and myths related to child trafficking. But it’s important to take a wider look and talk about all the issues that are related to, and critical for the prevention of child trafficking.
How does unemployment relate to child trafficking?
Economic pressure caused by unemployment or underemployment in a family can be a significant vulnerability that trafficker’s prey upon. Caregivers are responsible for the basic needs of children, but when they lose their job or hours are cut, children often feel the pressure to help.
Beyond providing basic needs, a job can impact a caregiver’s sense of purpose and identity, and the ripples of this can further impact a young person’s vulnerability. The lack of basic needs, the pressure to provide, and the emotional impact of both are things traffickers can use to exploit young people.
Additionally, for those looking for work, false or misleading job offers are a common recruitment ploy of both labour and sex trafficking.
These are particularly difficult times. So, how has unemployment due to coronavirus exacerbated this vulnerability?
And, what does this mean for young people futures?
This is a question many of the young people that we serve are asking their support workers. As to how this will have a long-term impact on their future employment and career development.
With the pandemic increasing the risk of labour trafficking and exploitation for people who are under pressure to work, those who do not have jobs or unable to, this risk is far higher.
Many industries are under incredible financial stress, and that stress is sometimes passed to workers in the form of exploitation. People are also less likely to leave exploitative or abusive workplaces when there aren’t other opportunities to earn money.
We know that some of these issues for young people existed before the pandemic
Therefore, as part of our on-going provision work with young people, we can start to address some of these problems in initiatives we’ve started this year. Through youth-led creative projects such as illustration, poetry and spoken word.
By encouraging young trafficked survivors to learn and discover new skills, we can support them on their journey into further education, apprenticeship programs and, employment.
But this is only achievable through collaboration and solidarity.
Through our work with local authorities, businesses, community led organisations and, your support, we can find pathways to give young people the opportunities for a better, brighter future.
These are a few of the ways that you, your colleagues and your business could help support vulnerable young people into employment:
- Equip businesses employing survivors we support to create positive workplaces.
- Help young people with job readiness, mentoring, and job training..
- Reach youth through prevention education curriculum, to understand and spot labour exploitation, and how to get help.
- Journey alongside us and our survivors, supporting their dreams and equip them on their steps towards their employment goals.