Reintegration Pains for the Victims of Human Trafficking

Muko Ochanda and Mike Mungai
While discussing with a friend, he brought up some insights from the Booker T Washington (BTW) biography entitled  “up from slavery”. In this biography BTW talks about  the emancipation process from slavery, his schooling, and how he struggled to initiate the Tuskegee Institute.
An important episode  in Up from slavery was about the pains experienced by slaves when they get emancipated. This means that “slaves  become happy when they are freed – but this joy usually lasts for only a short time. After sometimes they are haunted by the nostalgia of the best things they had while they were in slavery. This means that their joy is short lived.” I thought that this could also be an important line of thought for  organizations working to help the victims of human trafficking in the modern world.  “It is important for organizations to always think how life was during the time the victim was in a trafficking situation and also how the victim turned survivor  should be able to truly move on and become independent and productive again”. It is a fact that people after being in slavery for too long, do not know what to do with their freedom. They may desire to even  negotiate with their former captors so as they may continue being degraded, exploited and always to be in the situation they have always been.  This situation of relapsing does definitely occur in today’s human trafficking. Hence organization should ensure that “coming out of a trafficking situation is going deeper into freedom and independence and not coming out of trafficking situation is going deeper into situations that encourage relapsing back to trafficking.”
While therefore it is important to bring the awareness to the public about human trafficking, we must get inside  the victims and prepare them on the challenges of freedom avoiding relapse. If economic times were hard before they became trafficked, these times may not have changed infact they may be much difficult than when the person was trafficked.

Victims go through emotional displays of suffering and remorse. There is a feeling that time and opportunities are lost. Some of the victims may have been maimed or resigned to drugs and self pity. The suffering they display cannot easily be solved in both social and private context. The hidden suffering, repression, denial and shame become part of the conflict in the individual and are a great factor in hindering full reintegration into the society.

Family and community do not provide enough context in which the individual can deal with experiences such as loss, grief, trauma, self-conflict and anxiety. Hence full reintegration back to the family and society requires a heavy investment of time, energy and resources. The family on the other hand just like the victim also undergo the same pains.

The horrendous past  experience deal a blow on the victims’ economic productivity skills. This hence makes victims become a financial burden to their families and friends. They hence become forever dependent and may even resign to criminal activities.

CEA, 2009

Hence the process of reintegration should encompass the entire universe of socio economic justice. Once the entire spectrum of socio economic justice is captured  then organizations will in a way be able to  traverse many non linearities associated with all complexities surrounding the HT problem such as poverty, sex, drugs, prisons, money, power, corruption, selfishness  etc to name a few. Several of these issues become part of the experiences that the victim passed through.  Hence it is important to recognize that we are dealing with a multi dimensional  web process that has many causes and consequences. It is hence important to use multiple solutions in addressing just a single problem, that of human trafficking.

How will the above be done? It’s a challenge to which requires the resolve of  JFK in response to bigger tasks- “we do these things not because they are easy, but because they have to be done.” On the other hand, once you put your hand on the plough you do not look back.  May be there is the worry that the results wont show, and the impacts will be so minimal, however in order to deal with great complexities there is need to start in a very small way. How shall we do this?? My answer is that we do not have to worry about the hows because “the hows are the domains of the universe.” There is need to think beyond the box and adopt non linear approaches.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Robert Mbaka
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:37:16

    This is very true



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