Human trafficking is a wicked trapto betwisted in. It is absolutely awful, the way traffickers treat victims, what victims go through on a daily basis just to survive. I’m sure you’ve heard of this. You’ve heard the stories of the survivors, the mental challenges they had to face – and still face today. You know what the damages are to the victims. You wonder how any human being with a sense of self would be able to treat someone the way traffickers treat victims. What you haven’t heard about is the trafficker’s mental status, what they go through when they traffic someone. That’s what I’m here to tell you about: why the traffickers traffic, what goes through their mind, and if they care at all how they’re treating another human being. What goes on in a trafficker’s mind while trafficking someone? Well, I can’t exactly tell you, because I’ve never been a trafficker. What I can tell you, though, is how they choose their victims. There are several ways, some depending on their societal role, and others on their personal struggles. When it comes to personal struggles, addiction is extremely helpful in keeping a victim in the trafficking industry. Substance abuse is helpful because the traffickers will supply drugsin order tobreak a resistance one might have to them so they can coerce the victims into doing what they please. When the victim is dependent on a substance, and the trafficker is the dealer, the trafficker can use that to his advantage to have the victim do what he wants. Mental healthhas a vulnerabilityin itself and people with mental health problems are an easy target. Many mental illness patients can’t assess risk and detect ill-intentions, (www2.gov.bc.ca, What Makes Someone Vulnerable to Human Trafficking?) and the traffickers benefit from this because the victims are susceptible to anything the trafficker says. When it comes to societal role, there are several different reasons a trafficker will choose a certain victim. The main one is gender. Most of the time, traffickers will go after women. They do this because women are more emotionally driven, making them more susceptible. Women will push away intuition if they believe that the man is really in love with them. Poverty is another one. Poor people are easier targets because they need money, and traffickers play on that, promising the victim plenty of money from a job they want them to take. The poor people believe them because they are in such need of money and food and clothes and a roof over their head without worrying about what they’re spending, that they listen to the traffickers. These are things that traffickers look at when choosing a victim. The same way there are several ways to bring a victim in, there are several ways that a trafficker justifies himself in his own mind. The first way is known as distortion. Distortion is twisting the situation to fit an idea of what is acceptable. For example, instead of calling victims of labor trafficking slaves they might call them workers or volunteers. Rationalization is a beautiful lie that traffickers tell themselves. As an example, let’s go back to the victims of labor trafficking. They might rationalize it by saying, Oh, they need the job, or We’re helping them with work, or It’s better than them being on the street with nothing,. Social comparisons are traffickers friends. They will defend themselves by saying something related to, I treat them better than this other trafficker, it’s better that I got them, rather than that guy. Blame shifting is a great way tojustifyoneself, and traffickers use it. By blaming someone else, the sin is no longer their responsibility to deal with. For example, It’s not my fault that I trafficked this woman. She followed my every move and I couldn’t stop myself from taking her in the most intimate way and letting all of my friends – along with people who paid me – do the same without her consent. Another way tojustifywhat they are doing is by dehumanizing the victims. This one is a popular one. All the trafficker has to do is view them as inferior and deserving of exploitation and automatically, they are no longer human, but rather an objectto beplayed with. It sounds insane, but traffickers honestly think like this tojustifytheir actions. Now, that we’ve heard about the justifications in a traffickers mind, the question is, Do they ever have real remorse? And the truth is, I can’t answer that question. I’ve never picked the brain of a trafficker, I’ve never come into contact with one. My opinion? I believe that some do. Maybe after they realize the damage that they’ve caused, then they do have remorse and regret what they did. However, I don’t believe that every trafficker feels bad about what he’s doing. Another question raised was, Do traffickers care about victims at all? The answer to that question is the same as the previous one. I can’t answer, because I don’t know. I do believe, though, that human nature crawls underneath their skin and pushes them to care for at least one or two victims, but it depends on the trafficker. In addition to believing this, I also believe that the reason traffickers try tojustifythemselves is because they know what they’re doing is wrong, and because they want to have a reason to put forth in court if they are ever caught. But without ever being caught, why do traffickers try tojustifytheir actions to themselves? It’s a question that everyindividualmust answer for themselves. Maybe someone asked them why they’re doing it, and the trafficker can’t answer in the moment, so he justifies it in his mind later on. Or perhaps it’s something more, perhaps it’s his subconscious telling him he’s doing something wrong, so he tries to tell himself that there’s a good reason for it. Or, it could be, that it’s a built-in moral compass that he’s trying to force into a direction he’s not headed. No one actually knows, except for the trafficker justifying it to himself. The most we can hope for is that the built-in moral compass is stronger than the mind of the trafficker, and wins the battle of what is right and wrong, bringing the trafficker to justice in the process.
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