<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=374636390457749&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Stay up to date

Stay up to date


The Hidden Deceptions of Human Trafficking: A Personal Testimony

Picture of Kate Olson
By Kate Olson on January 24, 2024

There is a popular misconception when it comes to understanding the human trafficking industry. For most of us, our only exposure is what we have seen on the movie screen or read in various articles on the internet. It can be difficult for us to comprehend the vast scope and inner workings of this horrendous crime. And while there are instances of victims being targeted, kidnapped, and forced into modern-day slavery, traffickers often use more subtle tactics and deceitful methods.  

Recently, two young girls, Izna* and Palisha*, shared their real-life experiences of how trafficking happens. Watch the following video to see how their story was changed at the most important moment between slavery and freedom. 


Deceit and false promises

Most human traffickers play psychological games to deceive, defraud, manipulate, or threaten victims into providing exploitative labor or commercial sex. While physical coercion or abduction can play a role, most often victims are tricked through lies and promises of a better life. 

Former Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, states, “[Human trafficking] thrives in situations where the rule of law is weak and people lack opportunities. Humanitarian crises and conflicts create an environment in which traffickers easily prey upon the vulnerable.” 

For most of us, it can be difficult to comprehend the overwhelming desperation of poverty that afflicts millions of people, making them even more vulnerable to deception. It’s important to understand that although cultural norms and values differ worldwide, the need to be loved and to provide for one’s family as well as the overall drive to live one's best life are inherent to us all. 

trafficker_false_promises_girlTraffickers exploit these hopes by preying on the vulnerabilities that many people already face. They offer false promises through marriage, a better income, an education, or simply a chance to experience new and exciting opportunities. Human trafficking is a devastating crime that destroys innocent lives fighting to provide for themselves and their families.  


COVID-19 and human trafficking

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted global rates of human trafficking. Modern slavery around the world grew by about 10 million from 2016 to 2021, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO). This happened partly because vulnerabilities that contribute to trafficking rapidly increased during the pandemic. The World Bank reported that extreme poverty rose for the first time this century, pushing 97 million more people into extreme poverty in 2020.

John Cotton Richmond, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, stated in the 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, “As we have continued our work during the COVID-19 pandemic, traffickers have continued as well. Traffickers did not shut down. They continue to harm people, finding ways to innovate and even capitalize on the chaos. The ratio between risk and reward is expanding in their favor.”

In addition, according to the United Nations Development Programme, an estimated 2 billion people—more than 60% of the world’s workforce—are informal workers, leaving them particularly at risk of being underpaid, overworked, and abused. In the wake of global lockdowns and restrictions, many of these daily wage earners lost their jobs and were unable to provide for their families. Forced into desperate situations and struggling to meet their most basic daily needs, these individuals continue to be more likely to accept risky job offers, high-interest loans, or any other tempting opportunities—only to end up trapped in exploitative situations.


The pandemic made it increasingly evident that there is a heightened urgency to protect the most vulnerable from traffickers who have not stopped their criminal activity—but have only been forced to shift their tactics and methods. As we diligently assess the growing need to create and implement innovative strategies to stop traffickers and prevent people from becoming victims, we realize we all have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact in the days ahead.

To date, through the dedicated support of our partners, we have intercepted over 50,000 vulnerable lives to prevent them from being trafficked!

The testimonies of Izna and Palisha are incredible examples of how we CAN change the story from slavery to freedom, from tragedy to triumph, for vulnerable people around the world. Their smiling faces and contagious hope are the direct result of people like you joining with us to end human trafficking. 


Will you help us intervene in those critical moments to prevent innocent lives, like Izna's and Palisha's, from being exploited, abused, and sold into a life of slavery? Visit here to change the story today!


Learn How You Can Help Change the Story Today


*All content, data, and statistics current at the date and time of publishing. Some locations omitted and names changed for the security and privacy of those involved. Images are representative and do not picture actual victims. 

**Originally published on December 27, 2020.

Submit a Comment

Get latest articles directly in your inbox, stay up to date