Tag Archives: slaves
Human trafficking is the modern equivalent of slavery. Against their will, under the threat of harm, through deception, or through psychological coercion, millions of people around the world are forced to work, dedicate resources, sacrificing personal belongings, or have sex for the profit of others.
In March 2009, UNODC launched the Blue Heart Campaign to fight human trafficking, to raise awareness and to encourage involvement and inspire action. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. The Council of Europe states that “[p]eople trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.” Trafficking victims typically are recruited using coercion, deception, fraud, the abuse of power, or outright abduction.
The United Nations defines human trafficking as “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.
While society may understand the need to fight the horrors of forced labor, begging, prostitution, involuntary servitude, working in sweatshops, or becoming forced child soldiers, one category of tragically forgotten victims include those vulnerable men, women and children who are being indoctrinated, dominated and exploited by religious leaders. When an ecclesiastical figure, priest, guru, prophet, or cult leader teaches believers that the eternal status of their souls depends on whether they obey him (or the doctrines of the group), those people are experiencing spiritual extortion. This is an insidiously effective form of psychological coercion.
This psychological tool is a complex process built on layers of beliefs. Also known as thought-reform, coercive persuasion or mind control, it is the process polygamist leaders utilize to convince women to consent to share their husbands sexually with other women, and even feign outward happiness while inwardly grieving. This type of coercion is what causes women to “consent” to have sex with the men to whom they are assigned regardless of their feelings of dismay, and it is why they seem to willingly work in slave-like conditions of servitude and self-sacrifice with a public smile upon their faces, denying all claims of abuse. Finally, religious manipulation and deception is used to convince parents they are doing the right thing when they willingly turn their young daughters over to become the sexual prey of aging, expert sexual predators cloaked in the robes of religion, hiding their criminal activities from the law under the guise of “celestial marriage” and freedom of religion.
Fortunately, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in the US and Canada, has recently been implicated in the trafficking of underage women across state lines and international borders (US/Canada). In most cases, this is for the continuation of polygamous practices, in the form of plural marriage, and this sends a strong message that the trafficking of child brides will not be tolerated in Canada.
This represents extraordinary progress in the fight against polygamy (celestial marriage) for underage girls, and even the underage boys cast out of the community have received some support as well. However, men and women over 18 who have been exploited by ecclesiastical leaders, including senior citizens, are completely underrepresented in literature describing human rights violations. Justice, healing, and resources for these adult victims of polygamy who appear to have given consent to their own exploitation are scarce if available at all. Millions of men and women manipulated and exploited by their cult and polygamist leaders are the forgotten victims of deception, psychological coercion, and human trafficking.Read More »