It is estimated that close to 24 million people are living in forced labour, modern day slavery or prostitution and most of these people are enslaved through immigration.
That's a pretty shocking statistic right? The sad truth is that Migration has some loopholes that are being manipulated by traffickers to recruit and enslave unsuspecting migrants who fall into the loopholes that are created through gaps in information and awareness.
According to United Nations, Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world. The traffickers often use violence or fraudulent employment agencies that make fake promises of education or job opportunities and use these to lure their victims to unsuspectedly enlisting themselves into trafficking.
How can you prevent being trafficked?
Most trafficking victims have 3 main characteristics in common. They are usually people from vulnerable groups of society, people who are desperate for employment, money , love and or belonging , lastly they are usually people who are naive, unsuspecting or unaware of the laws and regulations around migration.
Traffickers usually spend time grooming their target victims to read their situation and circumstances in order to find a way to manipulate them. The most vulnerable migrants are those without specialised skills or knowledge on the migration process.
To prevent being trafficked you will want to make sure you don't fall into any of these categories, here are a few key skills to help prevent being trafficked.
1 . Research
This is the first point of call. Before you entertain any opportunity to migrate to a foreign country, Invest some time and resources in researching the legitimacy of this offer. There must be some information on this opportunity available online. Crosscheck your references, call government offices and embassies to verify that the opportunity is indeed valid and valuable. Remember trafickers pray on the naive and ill informed. Inform yourself adequately, research, research and more research!
2 . Consult with an expert
Talking to people who have walked the route is an essential part of confirming the legitimacy of an opportunity. Find out beforehand what to expect? Inform yourself first hand on the pros and cons of your chosen route and empower yourself to make an informed decision. Talk to someone who can guide you along the route and offer you firsthand information on what its like to live in this country and what to expect shenyou get there.
Coach's tip- How about a Migration coaching sessions? This will help you broaden your perspectives. Rather than just listening and advising, I make it my duty to investigate the proposed opportunities. I use my world wide network of connections to verify the authenticity, viability and feasibility of this offer while taking into consideration your personal qualifications and qualities then get back to you with feedback.
3 . Network
It's important to have an already existing support system in place ahead of your arrival. Get in touch with fellow diasporans in your proposed destination. Being connected to fellow immigrants and especially those with whom you share a cultural heritage will go a long way in strengthening your position. There is safety in numbers, knowing that there is a community looking out for you will deter would be traffickers from making their move.
Coach's tip- While planning your migration we establish these networks ahead of time so that by the time you land there are people already ready and available to welcome you. Try searching for groups on social media and introduce yourself aswell as informing them about your proposed plan to travel, it might bring same valuable feedback on the ligitimacey of the offer or opportunity.
4. Plan ahead
always have an exit plan in place! This is an important one folks. Yes, we leave in search of greener pastures and opportunities but understand that when things become too difficult and unbearable where you are, you can ALWAYS go home. There is no shame in taking time to regroup and strategize at home around familiar faces before retrying your luck at a life in the diaspora. In life and even in death, make sure you have an exit plan in place to get you back home to family , where you belong.
Coach's tip- Come up with a plan for when crisis hits. A Crisis Plan Is a detailed plan of action that tries to anticipate hurdles and challenges one can face as an immigrant before they arise while also brainstorming solutions and exit strategies. It serves as a safety net for immigrants so that they never feel stranded and helpless. A crisi plan is included in my standard Migration coaching package.
**Ask me for a crisis plan template and do it yourself.
5 . Stay connected
It's important that there are people who know where and how to find you even when you are far away from home. Thats why its extremely important to stay connected, make sure that there is always someone who knows your physical address and you have an emergency number. this will raise the alarm in case you disappear or go suspiciously quiet while you are in a foreign country. Remember that network we talked about? well they are particularly important when and can signal the authorities for you if you happen to be in danger.
Coach's tip- use a signaling plan and share it with those near and dear. One of the tools I equip my clients with is a signaling plan. This is a clear description of your mental and emotional state both in good and bad times. A copy of these vital signs is held by close family members and is used as an instrument to signal an alert when psychological and emotional alarm signals are triggered. Remember Traffickers can be very manipulative, so it's important to have an outsider looking out for these signs of manipulation or slipping in your own behavior.
** Get a signaling plan templet sent to your email.
At the end of the day,there is absolutely nothing wrong with questioning and understanding any opportunity that is offered to you. Devote your energy and time towards researching and consulting SMART MIGRATION opportunities. Migration ceases to be an achievement when you are lost in the wrong destination or struggling under captivity slavery , bondage or prostitution.
Trafficking is an internationally punishable act. Lets report it but most of all lets prevent it by looking out for ourselves and our own. Its unfortunate that this inhuman crime is rife in our own african comminities ? lets raaise awareness aswell as promote migration safetey.
Migrate to thrive, not just to survive.
** Extra material- read a real testimony from a trafficking experience here.