Preventing Human Trafficking Through Self Esteem

Preventing Human Trafficking Through Self Esteem

Why is self-esteem so important?  There are many reasons, and this post will highlight one of them, human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion against a human being (man, woman or child) to exploit them.  It is a $150 billion global industry (although it exists in every community, even your own) and is a growing crime.  In terms of profits, it has surpassed the selling of illegal weapons and is expected to surpass the illegal drug trade. Gangs and other criminals (perpetrators are men, women and young adults) are increasingly using human trafficking as a means to make money.

What does this have to do with self-esteem you might ask?  Well, a lot.  Here is an example.  A man walks around the mall to recruit young girls to work for him.  He knows the best candidates are the girls who need reassurance they are pretty and loved.  If he walks up to a young girl and tells her she is pretty, he can tell by her reaction if she is a good fit.

If the girl drops her head in shame or comments that she is not pretty, chances are she has low self-esteem.  It will be easy for him to convince her through coercion to come with him.  All he has to do is talk up to her about how pretty she is, how he will buy her new clothes, get her hair and nails done and this will make her feel good and more inclined to go with him.

If she looks at him, says thank you and walks away, then that is not someone he is going to want to recruit; she doesn’t need him or his compliments.  Someone with confidence and high self-esteem feels good about themself, respects and loves themself for who they are and values their own opinion of themself, not someone else’s.

Unfortunately, the girls who go with this man are unaware of his intentions, they like the attention.  At first he may treat her well and set up the situation so she feels he has done a lot for her.  Then one day he may ask her to do something in return.  And this something may not be what the girl wants to do, but she does it because she feels she owes him and she has little respect for herself.  He controls her and she is now faced with a situation she has no idea how to escape.  She may be physically threatened and/or mentally threatened by him to a point where she is trapped and has no hope of escaping the nightmare she is now lives.

Learn to love, value and respect yourself for who you are, it might one day save your life.

Virginia Zart, President-Elect Junior League of Long Beach

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