Modern slavery is alive in our communities today. The Home Office predicts that there are around 13,000 victims of human trafficking in the UK alone. Victims can be men, women, and children of any age. The US Department of State estimates that 1.2 million boys and girls are trafficked globally. Girls are primary trafficked for sex work, while boys are most commonly subject to begging on the street. Over half of the survivors of human trafficking suffer from mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The Guardian reported that about one in eight trafficked children tried to harm or kill themselves in the last month, according to a survey, and a quarter have post-traumatic stress symptoms.
In Senegal, West Africa, many young boys become talibé. Although these boys are not technically trafficked, they leave their parents to be taught by marabouts in Daaras. These marabouts are considered religious leaders who are supposed to teach the boys Arabic. However, the boys are forced into begging on the streets and are often subject to extreme abuse if they do not meet their daily quota.
This kind of abuse happens all over the world in different forms. Victims of human trafficking need an extensive amount of care and support. Survivors will need medical care, sexual health treatment, emergency accommodation, and counselling for them to recover from their traumatic experience. Fortunately, there are charities dedicated to providing this kind of care for survivors. It is important to create awareness of this distressing reality and support charities that fight human trafficking.