More often than not, when one thinks of human trafficking the first thing that often comes to mind is the trafficking of women for the purposes of sexual exploitation. And you wouldn’t be wrong, however, there is form of human trafficking that is often hidden in plain sight in our everyday lives that is harder to detect. 

This year’s Don’t Shut Your Eyes video, a campaign the European Freedom Network (EFN) has been running four times now focused on labour trafficking and online exploitation. The video narrates the story of a young man full of hopes and dreams of a better life abroad. He contacts a mutual acquaintance online that promises him an office job in Europe. 

Once he arrives though, to his horror he finds that he is forced to do a laborious job in a field and is forced into debt bondage. Debt bondage is a form of enslavement used by traffickers to keep their victims enslaved and forced to do jobs for menial wages until their debt to the ‘recruiter’ is paid off.  According to the Office of Trafficking in Persons in the United States this form of labour is one of the least known methods of modern slavery, yet is the one most used to keep people enslaved.

The International Labour Organization states that 16 million out of the 24.9 million people trafficked are exploited in private sectors such as domestic work, construction or agriculture. To make matters worse, in recent years law enforcement authorities have been facing additional challenges in detecting human trafficking due to restrictions related to the pandemic. Recruitment for labour trafficking has now turned to various online platforms to facilitate recruitment, control, and exploitation of victims. 

Executive Director of EFN Leanne Rhodes said “When we talk to people about human trafficking, we find that they generally only think it happens to young women and for the purpose of sexual exploitation. That is simply not true. There is a huge market for labour trafficking in Europe and it enslaves a lot of males looking for a better life. We created this year’s Don’t Shut Your Eyes campaign around this theme to help dispel this myth and help people understand the reality of what is really going on.”

No one country, entity, or institution can eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking alone. This is why EFN has expanded its efforts to collaborate with NGOs, churches, government bodies, and authorities in a coordinated effort to tackle this crime. 

EFN believes ending modern human slavery must be at the forefront of global policy priority because human trafficking does not only seep into businesses, society and individuals but also impacts our brothers and sisters in Christ. As followers of Christ, we have a duty and a mandate to use our freedom to help the vulnerable and afflicted gain theirs.

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Help spread the message about Labour Trafficking in Europe. Here’s what you can do:

  • Like the video on EFN social media and share.
  • See our Campaign Kit for helpful quotes.  Look for us on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Download and read our Campaign Kit to get helpful quotes and shareable media and share away.
  • Talk with your local church about hosting a Freedom Sunday where they show the video.
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