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Risk Of Being A Victim Of Human Trafficking

Who Is Most At Risk Of Being A Victim Of Human Trafficking?

It is important to remember that there is not merely one profile that fits every victim of human trafficking. Throughout the world, including the United States and Canada, victims have been identified across age groups, genders, and nationalities. It might be difficult to accept but anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.

However, there are some identifiable factors and circumstances that dramatically increase the likelihood that an individual will fall into human trafficking. Being aware of these elements can allow care providers and drug rehab teams in Toronto to be more acutely aware of when someone actively is or is at risk of becoming involved in human trafficking. It is important to be aware of the realities involved in this phenomenon in order to prevent it from becoming worse and ruining more lives.

Let’s look at some of the specific factors that play a role in who is most at risk to be a victim of human trafficking:

Close up of a teenage human trafficking victim

Age Groups

Statistics suggest that certain age groups are more susceptible to being targeted for human trafficking than others. For example, when victims are first brought into human trafficking, they are often between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. Many children under the age of eighteen are induced in sex-related human trafficking rings, though it is not uncommon for adults over this age to be corralled into this world either through threats of violence or through fraud.

Those involved in care professions with at-risk youth (such as working in drug rehab facilities in Toronto) need to be especially aware of some things to look out for. Factors that increase the chances of being lured into human trafficking among youth include viewing pornography, pretending to be older or younger when messaging other individuals online, meeting secretly with people who they have met online, or having a history of problematic or abusive relationships.

Young people are also particularly susceptible to entering the world of criminal gangs or organized crime groups. Once these youth are coerced into joining these groups, they may be forced to participate in human trafficking either as victims or perpetrators. It can be difficult for these individuals to escape from such a life given the persistent threat of violence or through other forms of coercion.

Life History

Those individuals who are in structurally disadvantaged situations are more susceptible to being either lured or coerced into human trafficking. When individuals are faced with dismal life opportunities or feel as though they have fallen out of society, they are more likely to be enticed by those who want to take advantage of them for their own benefit. For example, individuals who have a life history with risk factors including abuse or neglect at home, the breakdown of a family, or homelessness or poverty are far more likely to be lured into human trafficking.

Individuals with addiction problems also have a higher risk of being trapped in a life of human slavery. Indeed, in some cases, the promise of a ready supply of a victim’s drug of choice is what is used to lure them into the cycle of human trafficking. Those who work in drug rehab facilities in Toronto need to keep a close eye on those in their care in order to intervene in potential cases of human trafficking.

Mental illness is another vulnerability that is exploited by human traffickers looking for victims. Since mental illness is often accompanied by one or more of the other factors outlined here (especially addiction), these individuals are at high risk of being trafficked. Many individuals with mental illnesses often become isolated from family, friends, and society at large and often fall through the cracks. This makes more vulnerable and without the psychological means to offer informed consent as to what they are being asked to do.

Female human trafficking victim who needs drug rehab toronto

Immigration Status

Human trafficking flourishes among people who are forced to live with a high degree of uncertainty in their lives as it can represent one of the few options for earning a living. Illegal or recent immigrants in any country often fit this description. While it is not uncommon for victims of human trafficking to belong to the country where they are first brought into this underworld, many immigrants with dubious or uncertain residency status are more likely to become victimized. In many cases, people willingly consent to be smuggled into a country illegally, but this arrangement quickly becomes one of forced servitude upon arrival in the destination country.

Even in developed countries, the legacies of racism and colonialism creates a systemic inequality in those who are adversely affected by human trafficking. For example, indigenous people in Canada and the United States are far more likely to be victimized than others. Given the barriers that many of these individuals face that limit their options for education and employment, they are more susceptible to being targeted by human traffickers.

Many areas of the world where political instability is more prevalent also provide fertile ground for the proliferation of human trafficking. In times of war or civil unrest, it is easier for those who are responsible for human trafficking to operate. These periods of lawlessness also make it more attractive for people with limited life possibilities to turn to human trafficking as a means of survival.

If You Suspect That Someone Is A Victim

It is important that you contact the relevant authorities as soon as possible – especially if you are a care provider (such as a drug rehab facility in Toronto that provides medical detox) who works with at-risk populations that are especially vulnerable to being victimized by human trafficking.

Being aware of some of the signs and risk factors that can lead to someone being victimized by the perpetrators of human trafficking will allow you to potentially prevent more people from falling into this trap. Educating the general population and especially those who work with marginalized groups is an important step on the road to putting an end to human trafficking. If you have any other questions about this challenging subject, get in touch with us here at Freedom From Addiction and we’ll clear up anything we can.

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