Democracy, Addressing Authoritarianism Critical To Ending Human Trafficking, Opinion Piece Says

TIME: Human Trafficking Has a Hidden Cause — and It’s on the Rise Worldwide
Prachi Vidwans, research associate at the Human Rights Foundation, and Malaak Jamal, policy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, both co-authors of HRF’s 2018 report on trafficking and authoritarianism

“…After nearly two decades of international commitment to end modern slavery, one thing is clear: States are simply not doing enough. … Human trafficking is an epidemic in and of itself. But it’s also a symptom of other deeply rooted, international challenges — the refugee crisis, civil conflict, poverty, and more. … But there’s another root cause that is rarely, if ever, discussed: authoritarianism. … Yet few anti-trafficking experts and advocates discuss the relationship between weak anti-trafficking policies and authoritarianism. This year’s [U.S. Department of State] trafficking report urges governments to ‘look inward’ to address trafficking within their own borders making it distinct from past reports. Doing so requires transparency, accountability, the rule of law, and free and public discourse — rare resources under authoritarian regimes. Yet the words ‘democracy’ and ‘authoritarianism’ are never even mentioned in the State Department’s report. And this oversight is not new: Year after year, the report fails to discuss how authoritarianism contributes to human trafficking. … If we really want to end human trafficking, we need to work together to empower its victims by advocating fundamental rights. Democracy must be a part of the conversation” (7/30).