Trafficking and exploitation, like other social issues, intersect with oppression. Oppression creates increased risks for those individuals to be more at risk for trafficking and exploitation. Unfortunately, there is little research into the ‘why’ oppressed populations are more vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation but there are links which demonstrate a higher likelihood of being trafficked.

Trafficking, like many other types of injustice and harm, thrives when instability is present. Lack of food, water, education, healthcare, and infrastructure are some factors that create enough instability for traffickers to exploit and target vulnerability. The more vulnerable a population or person is, the easier it is to take advantage of them. The sex trafficking industry generates billions of dollars a year. Therefore, taking advantage of these at-risk communities is an effortless way for perpetrators to further the sex trafficking industry and its revenue. Furthermore, traffickers often attempt to weaken the victim’s resistance even more. For example, by soliciting drugs from a victim, pretending to be a boyfriend or partner, or providing shelter, the trafficker can more readily coerce and manipulate victims. Unfortunately, this is the reality for millions of people worldwide every year. 

Organizations like Healing Action are creating differences in the ongoing increase in human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation cases. Unfortunately, our immense effort and progress still aren’t enough. Traffickers and perpetrators are becoming more cunning, finding ways to recruit people online and avoid repercussions from law enforcement. Oppression is the groundwork for traffickers that needs to be in place for their industry to thrive. Therefore, to cease trafficking and exploitation, instead of managing the aftermath, we need to fix the oppression breeding exploitation.  

As oppression occurs more widely throughout the nation each day, sex trafficking, exploitation and coercion will too. Social injustice and oppression creating instabilities and vulnerability are more significant than a simple blog post can solve. However, by reading this and spreading awareness, we can make steps in the right direction towards the vision of a world without sex trafficking and exploitation.