I recently saw the movie Taken and was reminded once again of the great obstacles facing human rights activists fighting against the nefarious practice of human trafficking. The movie itself did not portray any human rights activists or organizations seeking the elimination of the practice. Moreover, the story presented is not what truly happens in real life (Although, secretly, I’d like to believe that if one individual can cause so much damage to the traffickers, then just imagine what all of us joined together could do). The movie, however, exposes the criminal activity, serves as a warning to potential victims, highlights some of the major aspects of the criminal activity that make it hard to eradicate, and becomes an eye-opener to those denying its existence.
One aspect of the trafficking in persons that makes it extremely hard to eliminate is the wide-spread involvement of high-ranking officials and law enforcement officers, the people who should be protecting the victims. Even those who are not directly involved in the trafficking and refuse to realize the true nature of the activity contribute to its continued presence by simply closing their eyes. Another important aspect is the outrageous amount of money criminals make off of the kidnapped/forced/coerced women and girls. The cost of obtaining the merchandise is petty; the revenue is mountainous.
It is very important to note that the girls kidnapped are not necessarily homeless and alone. The common errors, as revealed in the movie, that young women and girls make are not simply talking to strangers (men or women) but allowing that person to find out where they live (by sharing a taxi) and informing them of the fact that they are on their own. The moment they have done this, they have become the perfect preys.
Regardless of the victim’s background, however, the common denominator is lack of knowledge and awareness on the side of the victim and the strict organization of the trafficking operation. The girls are taken and 96 hours later, they disappear for all those who have known them.
I think the most heart-breaking moment in the movie was when it was evident that the main character will save his daughter, but all the other girls remained behind. No one came to save them. We can only suspect what their fate would be, but by the looks of it, there was probably no happy ending for them. This is the reason it is of utmost importance that all people are educated about the nature of human trafficking, the signs to look for to notice victims, and the steps to be taken towards the eradication of the practice. Information on how to do that is available at many of the links provided on this blog. If you are interested in making a difference, I would strongly recommend that you review them and learn how to become a modern-day abolitionist.