In Ghana, ship teams have been visiting different groups and institutions to raise awareness of human trafficking, described as “the illegal trade of human beings, the recruitment, control, and use of people for their bodies and for their labour,” whether within a country, or worldwide.
One crewmember shared, “If people know about the strategies of human traffickers, it becomes more difficult for them to find victims. It also should make us aware of how desperate people can become and what dangerous situations they might enter just because they think there is no other opportunity.”
The crew introduce their audiences to this sensitive topic with the help of Traffick Proof, a tool created by the founder of Justice ACTs, Tonya Stanfield, to “[give] the ‘most at risk’ the knowledge and resources to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
They explain how millions of people become the victims of modern slavery, which can include sexual exploitation, forced marriage, organ harvesting and children becoming soldiers. Those targeted include refugees, children, young women, job-seekers and impoverished men, with nearly half of victims already knowing their recruiter.
The ship volunteers also explain the ‘human trafficking chain’ so those at risk can be better protected. Typically, a person gets tricked (e.g. by promises of a job), then transported (to an unknown place), then trapped (e.g. taking papers away) and finally used (e.g. being sold in prostitution).
Sharing real life stories of people and common scenarios help listeners to understand how easily people can be trafficked. They encourage listeners to protect themselves by looking for clues, asking questions and memorizing Ghana’s Anti Human Trafficking Unit free helpline number (18555).
Paula Leichtfried (Austria) went to a school to make the children aware of dangerous situations. “A phrase that we repeated many times that day was: ’Awareness is Power’,” she said. Dennis Arevalo (Ecuador) was part of the awareness training for prison officers. “They shared personal experiences, such as an officer who lived through a case of human trafficking. He was motivated to become a police officer to somehow put a stop to these situations of violence and humility,” he said. “Even if just one person would have understood what we shared today, that would mean that a life could be saved and transformed.”