Human Trafficking, Slavery, and Abolitionism

  • Human trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise internationally, and has ties to both the arms and drug trades.  As an industry, approximately 33 billion dollars was illegally obtained through the trafficking of human beings in the year 2013.


  • Every 23 seconds, a child disappears in North America.


  • The majority of victims of human traffickers are children and women for the sex trade, although men are also trafficked for forced employment and healthy individuals are kidnapped for their the black market organ trade.


  • There are several international societies dedicated to the abolition of human trafficking and slavery.  I currently volunteer my time for an organization called Destiny Rescue, which is based out of Asia, and their model is one of the sources for my aftercare program.


  • Human trafficking cannot be separated from prostitution or violence against women and children.  When society chooses to ignore the degradation and disenfranchisement of women, it is essentially giving a nod to the criminal organizations behind trafficking.


  • Those who are primarily at risk for trafficking are people who:
  1. Men and women who are from rural impoverished areas with a lack of available employment
  2. Women and children from areas with lower literacy levels
  3. Are emotionally, mentally, or physically vulnerable/disabled.
  4. Are socially isolated/high risk for predation


  • Abolitionism comes in all forms, from those who combat slavery by physically freeing the people from it (police), to those who work in the entertainment/art industries (art is extraordinarily therapeutic for overcoming trauma), to those who work in the fashion and marketing industry (there are several brands in the Slow Fashion movement which use their soft power to both bring awareness to the issue and to economically empower those affected by it); in the marketing industry, abolitionists use the power of media to combat trafficking through advocacy and the creation of new economic markets.


  • Trafficking and slavery destroys individuals and communtiies in ways which are hard to explain.  The loss of innocence, dehumanization, depersonalization, loss of financial and physical freedom, and isolation cannot be emphasized enough.  To combat human trafficking, there must be empowerment of the spirit of the individuals effected by it – by providing a psychologically and physically safe place for them to come to terms with what has happened to them, to mourn their loss of innocence, to reassure them that they are not bad people; to give them hope for their future while understanding that their experience has forever changed them; to give them a safe place to tell their story – as many times as is necessary, through various mediums – to give them back their voice, as it were.

copyright Rene Dawn Millward, 2014

Distribution is welcome.  To consult on this issue with me, please contact

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