2 – Human Trafficking is BIG Business

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Dr. Sandie Morgan and Dave Stachowiak, Director and board member of GCWJ, discuss the unfortunate realities of human trafficking being big business. Learn about some of the business and economic issues that drive human trafficking so that you can begin to study this issue, be a voice, and make a difference in ending it. The law of supply and demand drives human trafficking, how can your actions directly impact this issue?

Key Points

  • Modern Day Slavery is a multi-billion dollar business and the second-largest criminal industry in the world, impacting over twenty-five million victims.
  • It is important to identify elements within supply chains to identify any aspect contributing to human trafficking, look for fair-trade products.
  • Sandie discusses how to balance a budget while having good stewardship.


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Dave: Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast, my name is Dave Stachowiak.

Sandie: And my name is Sandra Morgan.

Dave: And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. Sandie, so glad to be back with you again for our second episode.

Sandie: Me too and we are going to be talking today, about how human trafficking is, unfortunately, a really big business. that’s one. And last time we talked about what human trafficking is from a legal context. Right?

Dave: And there

Sandie: So its modern-day slavery (MDS) but we don’t see it the way that we sometimes think about the images of people in handcuffs or tied to a post but rather we see with force fraud and coercion we see people who are offered a job that does not really exist. Financial or merchandise but the when they actually arrive, they are put into some sort of labor or commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) through the use of threats against themselves or their families beatings or torture and that mental prison then goes with them 24 hours a day and they are afraid to try and run away

Dave: And unfortunately, this really does have a lot of business aspects to it. I wish we didn’t have to have a business conversation about this but Really do drive human trafficking and you’re a wealth of information not to oversimplify it but to give us a lens of really what is driving it. we really encourage you to reach out to us If you have a question or comment about the show, give us a call 714.556.3610 and you want to dial x2242 so again that’s 714.556.3610 x2242 and, Sandie, folks can reach you by email too, what is the email address

Sandie: you can also just go on our website gcwj.vanguard.edu

Dave: And before we talk more about the business of human trafficking, you have a quick piece of audio to share with us this morning

Sandie: Our Live2Free (L2F) did a video piece called, The Cost of Demand, and here is just the intro so we get an idea to driving MDS. Listen:

AUDIO: We live in a modern world everything is possible. We fly to the moon. We decode the human gene. We invent new, better technologies to create, produce, and continuously improve the quality of our lives. For maximizing profits. Wherever there is a demand, there will be supply. We want something; someone will make sure we get it. For the lowest cost, and the biggest profit. But it comes at a price. What if I told you that 27 million people are enslaved today? MDS has become a $33 billion industry and is now the second-largest criminal industry in the world to be exploited as labor and sex slaves. About half of them are children. MDS is not an overseas event, it is happening right here, right now, in your town.

Dave: 200,000 just in the U.S

Sandie: And that encompasses a huge array of possible scenarios for human trafficking. anything from commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) which is what we see, as they tell stories of sex trafficking. But it also shows up on the shelves of our supermarkets and our department stores. The law of supply and demand (S&D). The idea that you have an item that you want to sell and you are the supplier, you have to have demand for that product or you don’t have a business. If someone wants to sell snow cones, they are going to shut it down when winter comes, and nobody wants snow cones anymore. If we want something, someone will sell it to us

Dave: It is unfortunate we have to use the term S&D when we are talking about people. That is exactly what is happening This is really an educated the number I heard was 17,000. But I don’t know where I heard that number from.

Sandie: Those numbers are just so difficult to get our heads around. These are estimates, the reality is people aren’t raising their hands to be counted as victims. The census takers didn’t say, “Are you a trafficking victim?” encompasses our own citizens that

Dave: So, what can we do to really understand this problem

Sandie: Well I think the first part is to understand our role in driving demand, that law of S&D. that is so horrific. Now the merchandise is a person and someone is making a profit off that person. Now if that someone, that businessman, or woman was selling illegal drugs, they would need to keep going back to their chain of supply to get more drugs. But when you are talking about human trafficking, the merchandise is sold, the person is sold over & over & over again. So it is a very profitable business. As we talked about in the last podcast, victims are afraid to self-report, to self identify. So the risk has been reduced. But at this point, when someone can make a profit so easily, that is going to increase the number of people going into that business.

Dave: And you have educated me about just how profitable that can be

Sandie: The UN, in 2008, came up with a figure of $33 billion a year.

Dave: Wow, that’s incredible

Sandie: Women’s studies minors Developed some picture slides and took some of the biggest companies we know that are just part of our everyday lives. And there on the slide next to the $33 billion charts, it took all the profit from 5 major companies that included big names like McDonald’s & Burger King and IHOP. I pass those places on the way to work and I imagine I am passing people who are invisible, right here, who are victims of human trafficking. How does this impact me? And, first of all, as far as the indirect costs, any business that is using slave labor is competing unfairly. This impacts you. I want to do something because it is going to benefit me. There are other indirect costs, the cost of human trafficking impacts our taxes. We are spending money for Law Enforcement (LE), to do investigations, to provide victim resources. The impact on our health care system. There are lots of indirect costs. When I think about the trafficking of our own children, which is happening in the commercial sex industry. When I think about that, that is the indirect cost that is the loss of our youth, and eventually, that impacts my future. I am planning on retirement. The youth of today are going to be the ones paying taxes that pay my retirement right?

Dave: We hope, yes

Sandie: Every single person in America. It is pretty easy to see the sex trafficking demand side of things and here in Orange County (OC), in Sothern California (SC), Lt. Derek Marsh was one of the speakers at our recent spring conference, Ensure Justice: Defend Children. I have been served right here in OC. So why do we have so many victims right here in OC? Well, there is a demand. From the brothel, there is demanded to purchase sex from slaves, from children. And traffickers, because they are businessmen, are supplying what the local demand is for.

Dave: you’ve really opened my eyes, just looking at some of the local newspapers of where there are ads or announcements covered up as something else.

Sandie: And that’s a great way to gauge just how profitable a business is. When I first became the administrator of, he was amazed when I talked about ads in the local paper. The ads were in the sports section. Those ads drive demand. How come there are always these grand openings for this little massage parlor or gentleman’s club. When you see something that doesn’t look right. That would be unusual. That would be a good time to call the number. Are a little more difficult to identify. Shady things like that that you can identify. On the shelves of your supermarket. The Trafficking in Persons Report. 284,000 children slaves on the cocoa plantations in South Africa. You tell the supplier, “That’s the price I want to pay, keep the price low.” L2F presentations at high schools, they always challenge them to start practicing. Fair-trade chocolate so that means that you are going to pay perhaps $2 for a chocolate bar. And I eat it guilt-free because I know that a child wasn’t forced to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week so that I can have cheap chocolate. Always has a little identifier but it will say fair trade or slave free. January 2012, Big businesses will be required to provide for the consumer, identifying in their supply chain, when someone. He told us how difficult identifying supply chains really is. We all are working hard to make choices,

Dave: I do have a cell phone. In fact, it is in my hand

Sandie: 99% of the mineral is mined in a slave mine in the heart of the Congo. We make choices to purchase chocolate. Writing letters, creating more awareness. From a grassroots perspective

Dave: as we are learning about human trafficking for the first time.

I never thought about the choices I would make. We buy fair-trade chocolate. The low-hanging fruit. What are the things where we do have options?

Sandie: Asking questions of the businesses that you patronize “Do you have a fair-trade product?” She did this for 3 months, each month. Then the next month “Yes, there it is! Right here, we have fair trade.”

Starbucks now reports 81% of there are fair trade coffee beans. Large chain stores we usually associate. Wal-Mart has a fair trade you can purchase. Look up the label, find out. And we have a resource page where you can click on links that will take you to. I have students volunteering all the time. I want to buy a pair of tennis shoes and I want to make sure. So my student corrected me. Oh ok fine. Get me some information on buying athletic shoes. They check out their supply chain for the cotton and the plastic and some of the other. But the rubber is coming from a place where we’re pretty sure the plantations. I could not find an athletic shoe that was completely slave free. I was happy with that.

Dave: There are so many variables. The site on what are some of the places we can frequent that really are committed to. Talking to folks that are running businesses

Sandie: Department of Labor website and you will be able to access a list. Especially when it comes to importing materials.

Dave: Interesting

Sandie: That’s one of the very best websites to go to.

Dave: Starbucks What caused that?

Sandie: Consumer demand. At first, they only had one product. It was called Estima Blend and you had to wait in line for them to make it. Companies want to have that socially responsible image. Here is where the law of S&D. When we provide a lot of reinforcement. That drives demand and supplies. That means it is going to cost more. I am not going to have as much. If you do a little math lesson. You can probably have 20 candy bars. If you are paying $2, you only get 5. You make a choice to have less so there is enough for a child on the west coast of Africa.

Dave: We want the companies that provide services and products, we will go out of your way to save 30 cents to save. If we have the opportunity to. What should we keep in mind when we are trying to?

Sandie: That’s a great question and that’s why studying the issues so we can actually be a sound voice that has. We have to change our culture so that “more” is not the definition of happiness and success. 5 chocolate candy bars are probably enough. I don’t need to have so much. Erroneously lodged in that idea of less. Cheap is good stewardship. When I spend $2 for that chocolate bar.

When I spend that, an adult is getting a fair wage so that they have the dignity of educating their children, feeding, and I am buying a whole lot more than just the chocolate.

Dave: To the global center and one of the things we do when we’re talking to people. Look at self-leadership and focus on teaching themselves first. Driving the demand for trafficking at the end of the day we have t look at ourselves. We do impact the choices that people make.

Sandie: Fair-trade is a very slippery slope, we are not “against” anybody. They are working on re-tooling. That would harm the small family plantations. When I drive demand by my choices we drive the energy to begin to change the practices that are happening in other countries. The image that stays in my mind was a picture of a little boy’s feet and he had run away from the cocoa plantation in Africa. To remind him that he couldn’t run away. And I decided that the price of eating cheap chocolate was too high for me.

Dave: How we as consumers play a role. We all play a small role in this in one way or the other.

Sandie: It is hard, though. See it is really easy to go to a big rally and carry signs. It is really hard to make choices every day.

Dave: I think the point you make about not being against the large companies. Are going to help us end this as well. If we enter that conversation as partners. So, this is a conversation that we want to keep having. We are going to tackle the topic of children. March 2nd-3rd our conference will be Women, Education, and Justice: A Global View.

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