THE trafficking of people and modern slavery is a worldwide problem that is highlighted annually on July 30. Held by the United Nations (UN), World Day against Trafficking in Persons is used to raise awareness and increase prevention of this problem that is immune to few countries.According to the UN, since 2003, their Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has collected information on about 225 000 victims of trafficking detected worldwide. Globally, countries are detecting and reporting more victims and are convicting more traffickers. This can be the result of increased capacity to identify victims and/or an increased number of trafficked victims.The UNDOC’s 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons data shows that the trafficking that also happens within one’s own country has doubled in recent years to 58% of all detected victims.Estelle van Eeden, director of local organisation Sparrows Trust, said: “Human trafficking is a heinous crime that violates the basic human rights of a person, scarring the body, mind and soul. It is a dehumanising act that denies the sanctity of life, commodifying people as objects to be sold, bought and used.“In our modern society, powerful men and women should not feel they have the freedom to disempower at risk children and adults by exploiting their vulnerabilities for personal gain, benefit or pleasure.”The trust states that there are three stages to trafficking: 1. The act: this is the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring, and receipt of a person. 2. The means: the act is achieved through deceit, fraud, threats or use of force, coercion, abduction, and the abuse of power of vulnerability.3. The purpose: the means and the act must have a purpose. The purpose could include but is not limited to exploiting a person for forced labour or various forms of sexual exploitation. “Ignorance certainly is not bliss when you consider the complexities surrounding human trafficking and yet the simple explanation is that supply equals demand. “People are commodified because someone is willing to purchase them like a product, or someone is willing to pay for their services, or because someone wants to buy a product at the cheapest price possible. This means a life is sacrificed into slavery to meet the demand. “Human trafficking affects girls, women, boys, as well as men. It is a criminal industry that has no respect for race, geography or socio-economic status,” she said. If you see something, say something. “If it’s questionable or suspect, report it. Never confront a potential victim or any person they are with, instead be aware of identifying markers of the area and individuals ...” said Van Eeden.The South African National Human Trafficking Resource Line can be contacted at 0800 222 777, and Childline South Africa at 0800 055 555.