A Look at the Booming Business of Human Trafficking

War creates chaos and opportunities. Take away a woman’s safety, income and homeland, and she has little to lose. Paying smugglers for a chance of a better life, regardless of the risk, seems to be an increasingly common story.

This WSJ story, which focuses on Lybia’s rise as the central hub for West African human smuggling, should sound familiar to us. Last July, in the States we had our own version of this kind exodus those children from the “Northern Triagngle, brought the issues of immigration to the hearts of Americans.

While the US struggles with immigration issues, we look to the rest of the world and see a booming industry that looks similar to the old slave trade of the late 1700s, .

One of the key takeaways here: These networks of militants, making upwards of $150 million a year through the Libyan ports are not using that money to reinvest in education. They are using that money to build arsenal of weapons. These refugees are fleeing because they have no other option, and the militants are profiting. While you might not think this is “our” problem, these militants are definitely our problem, and if they’re profiting from this trade, we’re losing from it. Not to mention the women and children in these transactions are often never “set free” and are instead used as another means of revenue for their captures.

The WSJ has covered these more completely than others. Our piece of the week walks you through the network, showcase the level of organization and sophistication used to move bodies.

WSJ Map Smuggling

We also recommend the WSJ video and photo series “The Crossing: Smuggling, Survival and Hope in Lampedusa highlighting the people involved and their perspectives.

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