One can make two observations about big organized crime: 1. It is big. 2. It is organized.
Human trafficking, modern day slavery, is the 2nd biggest organized crime in the world. It is about many billions of dollars and involves very sophisticated transnational operations.
Some estimates indicate that about 27 million people have been tricked, shipped, deployed to slave like work and who are held against their will. All over the world. It is big business. It is organized. The trafficking operations involve all kinds of professions and skills and they are connected. Think multi-national company with all levels, from janitors to high flying CEOs.
Anti-human-trafficking initiatives can be labeled as small and disorganized in comparison. Unfortunately. To adequately address and combat human trafficking we need to build critical mass (become big) and build strategic alliances (become organized).
I see two major challenges for anti-trafficking initiatives. One problem is that it is mainly two categories of people and groups who are involved: 1. Legislators, policy makers, and government agencies. 2. NGOs, non-profit and volunteer based organizations. These people and groups are good and needed. They are not the problem. The problem is the people and groups who are not involved or not even invited to combat this evil.
We know that unemployment makes people vulnerable to traffickers. It is also a fact that we can’t talk about restoration of victims of human trafficking unless we can offer them jobs with dignity. Thus adequate prevention and restoration must include job creation. This means that business people must be a part of anti-trafficking networks as we try to get big and organized.
The second problem is disconnectedness. Local and national disconnected anti-trafficking measures are not sufficient to tackle to big organized crime, to initiate preventative steps and rescue actions and to restore the victims of these criminal gangs.
In short: we need to get more kinds of professions and skills sets involved and we need to build international strategic alliances. Is that a pipe dream? No!
I am very encouraged by one promising initiative in Europe: The European Freedom Network, (EFN). It started about two years ago and now has approximately 100 partners across Europe working together to prevent human trafficking and provide restorative processes for its victims. EFN is not the silver bullet but is definitely an important step in the right direction of building critical mass and getting organized transnationally.
My dear wife Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag is one of the founders and leaders, together with my good friend Julia Doxat-Purser.
If you want to connect and learn further please check my wife’s blog: http://preventrestore.wordpress.com (EFN is working on a website. Stay tuned!)
If you want to support this work financially, click here for more info.