The importance of rescue missions against human trafficking – the world peace organization


Human trafficking remains a hidden crime and since the COVID-19 pandemic it has been pushed even deeper into hiding. According to the 2020 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Trafficking in Persons Report, in 2018 the number of trafficked children increased by 30%. Trafficking in human beings is a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed because it goes against basic human rights and constitutes modern slavery. Some organizations have responded to the crisis in the best possible way, and these efforts should be highlighted to increase support and action.

In particular, the anti-child trafficking organization, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), is well known for its rescue missions by extracting child victims from the trafficking industry. The OUR website declares its promise to save children from trafficking and bring justice to the perpetrators. They are engaged in operations such as the release of 34 workers trafficked in the Mediterranean. Founder Tim Ballard expressed in a podcast interview with Jordan Harbinger that trafficking requires immediate attention as it is a form of modern slavery that must be stopped.

The OUR approach primarily addresses human trafficking through raids and rescues. However, they also facilitate after-care programs that provide long-term mental, physical and health support to victims. From physical rescue to health and aftercare support programs, they aim to balance what is needed to abolish human trafficking.

OUR is not the only organization to use such rescue strategies. Thomas Stackpole of Foreign Policy writes that even government organizations like the FBI are using this strategy as part of their framework that already worked in 2003, where they saved more than 3,600 children.

Although effective, a criticism of this strategy would be that it does not address the root causes of human trafficking itself. The strategy focuses on the legacy of trafficking rather than addressing the root causes of human trafficking first. Trafficking could still occur if economic and social situations do not change, therefore the root causes should not go unnoticed. The UNODC Global Report 2020 showed that economic disparities are a major factor that drives people to be drawn into the trafficking industry. Therefore, it is important to also focus on the causes of human trafficking to get to the root of the problem, rather than waiting for the atrocity to happen before taking action.

Another criticism is that raid and rescue missions could push the trafficking industries to go further underground with their operations, making it harder for organizations to counter the problem.

However, the efforts of organizations such as OUR should not be ignored, as they use their skills and capacities effectively to contribute to the abolition of human trafficking. Trafficking is an existing problem and these organizations can use their specific tools to help those who are already in the situation. If their objectives were too dispersed among different anti-trafficking strategies, they would not be able to carry out missions as effective as those they are currently carrying out. This is why it is important that people in higher positions provide support and resources to organizations fighting against human trafficking, so that they can carry out their specialized work.

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