Extreme Poverty = High Vulnerability

The Allure of Financial Freedom, Used By A Trafficker

There are some circumstances that may be out of our control: flooding, natural disasters, and national emergencies, just to name a few. Within this same context, what if income is added to that list of circumstances that seem so far beyond our control, that no matter what we do, we just can’t seem to get ahead. Using the same example from our earlier post, we know that mass displacement caused by a natural disaster can cast a heavier financial burden and strain on any individual involved. Are you prepared for a lay off, furlough, or dismissal from your “at will” employer? Are you already living in poverty, as per the Census Bureau? Learn your family’s  poverty threshold using this table.

“For the Juarez family, finances were always tight and incoming funds intermittent because of the transient nature of the agricultural season. They made another cross country move for a harvest season to a job that promised secure pay and good living conditions. But when they arrived, the supervisor threatened Mr. Juarez’s wife and children unless he agreed to work according to the conditions set by the supervisor. They were already limited in their attempt to get justice and legal resources by their fear of deportation, and the employers also refused to let all of them leave the housing facility at the same time, making it hard both for them to get help or leave permanently. This is the story of many families, both across the United States, and in other countries where poverty is a driving factor in trafficking. While many countries are acknowledging labor trafficking as a factor in their economy and taking steps to prevent it, it is still real and still happening.”

With an excess in get-rich-quick schemes, and the allure of beauty, fashion, and instant wealth, traffickers have cornered the market using one simple, yet seemingly, unattainable resource: money! Think about this: How many times have you thought of an easy way to make more money, only to find out your idea was stolen about seven or eight years ago? How many times have you had to beg and borrow, only to find out the amount you were asking for wasn’t nearly enough? Lastly, how embarrassed are you to ask for that financial favor, that only clears one debt at a time? If the answer to any of these questions is greater than 0, then you have more in common with our survivors than you think. According to the Brooks World Poverty Institute,over 35% of the world’s population is living on less than $2.00 a day –  which is over 2.7 billion people. That is nothing compared to the nearly 46% of the world, living on less than $5.50 a day.

The extreme poverty vulnerability requires empathy for those who feel their back is against the wall. Survivors of human trafficking never imagined being on that path as they fell victim to the cunning nature of their trafficker. The truth is, there was no way out from under the burden of their limited resources, and the flawed system offered very few opportunities for progression.

In the cruel business of human trafficking, where the supply meets the demand by half the world, the amount of understanding we must have for the survivors who were lured by promises of a better life is immense. Wondering where you fit in or how to help?

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Ashley Ingram