This trimester I have been working on a creative project for my Creative Media Industries class Cultural Perspectives. I chose to make an infographic on the topic of human trafficking because it is a major issue that has been growing in recent years. It is my hope that through this infographic, people will become more aware of the harsh reality that is lived out by a large number of people all around the world. There are over 27 million modern day slaves in the world today. People should not be bought and sold.
The infographic highlights a number of glaring statistics, including the profit that is made through modern day slavery. The combination of statistics, images and colour are all used to highlight the hard truth of modern day slavery. In an article by Backman (2015), she states “Women, children, even many men, have their humanity taken from them and they are reduced to exploitable commodities, mere objects that serve to enrich, sensually please, and in every way gratify the whims and caprices of the very wealthy. If we fail to grasp that incredibly ugly and demeaning reality, we cannot hope to end human trafficking, slavery and prostitution.”
It is my hope that this infographic will raise awareness of the issue and highlight just how wrong it is.
Capitalism is defined as “an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development occurs through the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.” (capitalism, n.d.; Boundless, 2015). So, it is a society in which there is division by class. First, the high class or capitalist class who control production and distribution, this is the trafficking offenders. They own slaves (men, women and children) and put them to work to sell a product, whether it be sex trade or hazardous labour. The second class is the low class or the working class. This is a human being, a victim, trafficked men, women and children. We live in a ‘consumer society’ and are often times ignorant to the labour (most likely human labour) that makes consumption possible (Wayne, 2003). Brock (2011) states “capitalism creates classes of haves and have nots…the survival of the haves depends on the exploitation of the have nots…it’s very difficult for those at the bottom to rise up and leave a life of exploitation.” It makes it nearly impossible for the victims to get out of slavery as they are so indebted to the traffickers for “bringing them to a better life,” promising them a real job.
Another link to capitalism and human trafficking is the motive of profit. The whole point of producing goods is to make a profit (Wayne, 2003). There is a supply and demand market out there which is being utilised by traffickers. There are a few factors that can change the price a trafficker can get and therefore their decision to sell:
- availability of the desired product
- characteristics of the product
- number of similar products available
- the negotiating acumen of the human trafficker
At very low prices, human traffickers will be unwilling and unable to supply trafficked individuals because costs exceed revenue. If the trafficker’s costs do not change, the price will increase which in turn leads to larger profits and a rise in the number of trafficked individuals (Wheaton, Schauer, & Galli, 2010). As people become vulnerable to exploitation and businesses continually seek the lowest-cost labour sources, trafficking human beings generates profit and a market for human trafficking is created ().
Human trafficking is also easier due to recent advancements in globalisation. Krishna (2008) defines globalisation as “the accelerated spread of a free-market-based, capitalist style of production over an increasing swath of nations on this planet.” It is being connected to the rest of the world. In recent years, due to advancements in areas like international trade, transportation, technology and the internet, there have been increases in the interaction and integration of people and culture all around the world (The Levin Institute, 2015). It is now quite easy to get whatever you want, whenever you want (to an extent).
Some people argue that the growth of globalisation has, in turn, fuelled the growth of modern day slavery. There are a number of factors that surround globalisation that have made human trafficking easier to do. The growth and advancement of international trade and travel has developed due to globalisation, this has made it easier for companies (traffickers) to move their product (slaves — people — human beings) around the world. Traffickers are able to make continue making huge profits from slaves because they can be sold over and over again Smith (2013).
Increases in technology have also led to a greater supply of goods, capital and labor around the world. There’s a direct correlation between trafficking offenders who live in first world countries with high internet access and trafficking victims who live in third world countries with low internet access. I don’t know if you remember this from the lecture, but the countries with the highest concentrations of internet usage were “the Western” countries, including America, the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and Australia.
Some trafficking cases start with the offender contacting the potential victims on social networking sites such as Facebook. Traffickers gain the trust of their victim’s by expressing love and admiration, promising to make them a star, and providing a ticket to a new location away from their home. Another way traffickers have used the internet to lure victims away from their homes is through online employment searches. The internet is also used to distribute both recorded and live pornographic material starring human trafficking victims.
When I started thinking through what I wanted to do, I was planning to use just statistics — so typography and their graphical representations. After I started making up the infographic, and with the feedback from my proposal, I decided to incorporate black and white photographs that represent individuals who may have been trafficked. I added colour through the use of a bright red blood splatters across the photographs. This decision was made to highlight the urgency and danger of the situation.
annieinauz’s channel (2008, March 20). The A21 campaign – statistics Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZTJfpO5Z2U
Anti Slavery Australia. (2015). Fact sheets. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.antislavery.org.au/resources/fact-sheets.html
Boundless. (2015). Marx’s View of Class Differentiation. Retrieved 13 May, 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/global-stratification-and-inequality-8/sociological-theories-and-global-inequality-72/marx-s-view-of-class-differentiation-425-4960/
Brock, M. (2011, January 10). Capitalism & sex trafficking: My musings on the communist manifesto Retrieved from http://hopeforthesold.com/capitalism-sex-trafficking-my-musings-on-the-communist-manifesto/
capitalism. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved May 13 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/capitalism
Case Act. (2012). Proposition 35: The CASE act PASSED! Retrieved April 29, 2016, from Case Act, http://www.caseact.org/learn/humantrafficking/
Costill, A. (2013). 6 Benefits of Using Infographics. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/6-benefits-using-infographics/70917/
Global sex trafficking fact sheet. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from http://www.equalitynow.org/node/1010
Hedwig Backman, K. (2015). Human trafficking and unregulated capitalism | letter. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from http://www.federalwaymirror.com/opinion/letters/287993271.html
International Labour Organisation. (2016). Forced labour, human trafficking and slavery. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm
Jenkins, S. (2013). In a globalised world, there is no cure for slavery. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/16/globalised-world-modern-slavery-bill-theresa-may
Krishna, S. (2008). Globalization : Globalization and Postcolonialism : Hegemony and Resistance in the Twenty-first Century. Blue Ridge Summit, US: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Smith, D. (2013, November ). Modern slave trade booming thanks to effects of globalization. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2013/11/26/2003577679/2
S. T. T. (2016). The scale of human trafficking worldwide. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from Stop The Traffik, https://www.stopthetraffik.org/the-scale-of-human-traffiking
The Levin Institute, The State University of New York. (2015). What is Globalisation? Retrieved from: http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/
The World Counts. (2014). Modern Day Slavery Statistics. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Modern_Day_Slavery_Statistics
Tupi, M. (2003, September 5). Slavery and globalization. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/slavery-globalization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2014). Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Retrieved April 29, 2016, from https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/glotip/GLOTIP_2014_full_report.pdf
Wayne, M. (2003). Marxism and Media Studies: Key Concepts and Contemporary Trends. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/iransa/docs/24813027-marxism-and-media-studies_2/1
What is Capitalism? (2014). Retrieved May 13, 2016, from World Socialist Movement, http://www.worldsocialism.org/english/what-capitalism
Wheaton, E. M., Schauer, E. J., & Galli, T. V. (2010). Economics of human trafficking. International Migration, 48(4), 114-141.