Human Trafficking from my KZ students’ perspective

I feel more at liberty in the U.S. to write what some of my Kazakh students thought and wrote after reading “Two Kyrgyz Women” and about the BIG problem Kazakhstan is facing.  However, it appears that not many in Kazakh government or in education seem interested enough to eradicate this crime against women, neighboring women from Kyrgyzstan or even their own women.  What is needed are better laws to catch, imprison and purge the traffickers from this land. Needed also is to educate the young, Kazakh girls in the countryside or elsewhere to NOT believe everyone who rolls into their village promising they will become rich quick.  Here’s what one of my students wrote:

It has long been recognized that an essential element in protecting human rights was a widespread knowledge among the population of what their rights are and how they can be defended.” 
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Sixth UN Secretary-General

Nowadays human trafficking is the most profitable way to wealth and money. It became one of the criterion by which we recognize a country as criminal-free or not. Even though many people are trapped in human trafficking and the victims’ number is increasing year by year, there still can be found a way out through education.

 “The Soviet Kazakh who lived exactly the same life as their Kyrgyz counterparts, in the same Soviet country where they all had lived, who resembled them and spoke basically the same language, suddenly became rich while the Kyrgyz remained poor” says Marinka Franulovic in “Two Kyrgyz Women”. Indeed, Kazakhstan is now a seductive place for people from other Central Asia countries who turned out to be less fortunate. Since 2002 the number of permitted migrants was 11,800 while unofficially they reached 200,000-250,000. A lot of people of different fields from traders to the customs are involved in it. It is built on corruption and other criminals such as prostitution, illegal work, etc.

No one can deny the damage trafficking causes. Victims undergo serious trauma. The condition they live under is not of the best: work almost 20 hours a day, sometimes on frost, no medical service, inhumane treatment, humiliation – these all are hard to recover from both physically and mentally. Many women report on being raped, they are made to undergo forced pregnancy or abortion. This causes another problem of HIV. HIV is rather crafty and one cannot get any proper result walking their shoes. It means that if they are affected but not aware there is possibility they will infect their husbands and breastfeeding kids. As mentality of Central Asia countries are strict, victims possibly won’t be understood if accepted at all. The ways they struggle with pain is tucking it all up and try to forget.

What can we do from our part? For me, the best answer is education. Ignorance is the most dangerous thing at present. Projects, training-seminars should be held throughout the country and especially in rural areas.

As you can see that although human trafficking is not stopped yet and the number of victims trafficked is increasing, people should be aware of the traps of human trafficking for two main reasons. First, its increase means the increase of criminal. But most importantly, it humiliates the rights of enslaved people leading to physical as well as psychological damage.

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