If you were approached by someone who offered you a chance to make some easy money by transporting a package across town, would you do it? What if they offered you R1,000 (about $70) to do it? And if they said it was cocaine inside, would you still do it?
Even though the package was small and the risk of getting caught seemed slight, many people would not be willing to transport a bag full of cocaine. However, when a job is presented in a different light, a different proposition, it becomes much more appealing. This is exactly what human traffickers do to lure in vulnerable youth. They have learned that selling people into slavery can be easier than selling drugs.
If you’re reading this article, chances are you like to think of yourself as a good person, someone who does the right thing. And probably you’re thinking that you’ll never make the mistake of getting involved in human trafficking.
But human trafficking is a growing industry, and it starts with one person making a decision. The truth is it takes a lot of people to make a problem like human trafficking a reality. And it’s those people, those countless people — those just like you — that my content needs to help connect to solutions.
How to become a Human Trafficker
The simple truth is that it requires no particular skill or physical strength. Human traffickers are ordinary men and women who would not ordinarily engage in criminal activities. They become ensnared in this horrible enterprise because they are looking for easy money. The promises of quick cash are extremely enticing to vulnerable youth, who are often uneducated and unemployed, or who have experienced some bumps in their lives.
In this age of technology, social media, and online marketing it is easier to do business for bad guys than ever before. As technology becomes more prominent in our society, it becomes easier for criminals to hide in the shadows of the internet. The internet allows for individuals to conduct business on their own terms, eliminating time and space limitations. Because the internet is used by businesses of all sizes, ranging from giant corporations to small, local firms, organised crime no longer has to restrict their enterprise to large metropolitan areas where they can blend in with the crowd. As a result of this, organised criminals are now able to conduct business across state and even international borders.
The Recruitment Process
The next time someone tries to get you involved in criminal activities, pay attention. The more you understand the process of how criminals recruit people into participation in criminal activities, the more likely you are to recognize when someone is trying to recruit you in the future. The process of recruitment is similar for most crimes. When recruiters are targeting people for recruitment they will often start by making friends with target people, building trust and friendship. They will often try to find out what they can about their new friend’s family, education or work.
Recruiters often conduct this process in the open, often making friends with people they think might be interested in doing what they are doing. They will act like they are just like everyone else and offer opportunities that most people would not be able to access. Sometimes though, they’ll start by asking them questions like “Do you want to make lots of money?” or “Do you want to be rich?” These questions can be used as a way to increase the pressure and make the person feel like they don’t have a choice. They can also make people feel like they will be helping their family or their friends.
They often use popular music, sport and parties to put forward their lifestyle to impressionable young people, who they think will be receptive to the idea of getting involved in crime.
One on one meetings between criminal recruiters and potential recruits will often take place in parks or other open spaces where others can be present. This is why its important to teach your kids about the risks of organised crime and how to recognise when friends are being approached and recruited by criminals.
Although most people do not want to be a member of an organised crime group, once they are in such a group, their family and friends will usually support them. This is called the “code of silence”.
Is it worth it to be a human trafficker
The temptation to join a gang is common for many youth in South Africa. Gang membership is glamorized in popular culture and often times young people are attracted to the free clothes, money and cars. However, not only is it a risky and often short-lived way to make a living, but the life of a criminal is not as glamorous as one may think.