WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
Child trafficking and exploitation happen because numerous factors — some cultural, some structural or governmental, some personal — combine to create situations and environments in which injustice can take root and spread. For example:
People in poverty can be especially vulnerable to exploitation. They’re promised help, but the help is only an illusion. Sometimes, on the other hand, perpetrators don’t even have to use deceit, because victims’ families believe they have no choice but to sell their children into trafficking in order to make money to survive.
Human greed is a powerful motivator. When an individual’s greed outweighs their moral reservations, they are more prone to do something drastic to get what they want. This could include trafficking or exploiting children for financial gain.
TROUBLED FAMILY LIFE
A home life full of violence and abuse, or where children and young people are neglected or go without basic support systems can cause a child to look for love and approval from any adult who will offer it. It can cause the young person to run away from home, which is an incredible vulnerability.
CULTURAL ATTITUDES AND MYTHS
A culture that normalises the sexual objectification of children allows trafficking and exploitation to become more prevalent, and it also makes them less likely to be perceived as problems. Normalising the view of children as sexual objects fuels the demand behind trafficking and becomes a barrier to legal and social action against it. Some societies even maintain that sex with children is good luck. Others believe it will cure AIDS.
The Internet allows illicit activity to remain largely anonymous. Email and international message boards keep buyers unnamed and safe from prosecution. Likewise, traffickers have an easier time remaining in the shadows. The popularity of social media has exposed children to traffickers and abusers in entirely new ways. Children are often groomed on these sites, and can even be exploited by someone that they have never met in person. Stricter regulations protecting children online are desperately needed.
The most basic rule of economics is that demand drives supply. As demand increases, suppliers seek to meet that demand by trafficking more children.
Some material is adapted from www.nmci.org.