Five inspiring women that fight human trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious crime. Every year, thousands of women, men and children fall into the hands of traffickers who end their lives .

Mabel Lozano, Norma Bastidas and Racha Haffar

These are the women who have decided to dedicate their lives to fighting human trafficking. / Photos: instagram.com/lozanomabel, instagram.com/ultrarunwild, instagram.com/racha_haffar

The Woman Post | Maria Lourdes Zimmermann

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Leer en español: Cinco mujeres inspiradoras que luchan contra la trata de personas

According to the latest report on human trafficking presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC, 72% of the trafficking victims detected in 2018 worldwide were women, 49% of the cases were adult women and 23% girls. Sexual exploitation is the most common form in the phenomenon of human trafficking with 59%, followed by forced labor with 34%.

Today, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, The Woman Post recognizes the work of five inspiring women who fight against the phenomenon and work in favor of human rights.

#FindelaTrata and #TratadePersonas

Gambia, Africa

Fatou Jagne, a young Gambian woman in her 30s, was trafficked to Kuwait by an acquaintance and was enslaved in domestic services. She studied to be a pharmacy assistant at the University of The Gambia. Later she worked in a hospital but her salary did not cover her needs. Her desire to live better led her to seek opportunities and she found trafficking and slavery. Since arriving at the airport in Kawait, she was handed over to slavers who put her to work 24 hours a day without rest. They did not feed her, they paid her only occasionally and made her sleep in a bathroom.

One day she decided to flee, was arrested and ended up in prison. She witnessed murders. She resisted and promised that if she survived, she would return to her country and fight against human trafficking so that others would not repeat her story.

She returned to Africa as best she could and founded the Women's Network against Trafficking in Persons, of which she is president today. She is also a member of the Gambia Network Against Gender Violence.

She maintains that slavery in all Arab countries, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, is a common occurrence. The people who are part of the Fatou organization affirm it because they also lived it. "Slavery exists and the governments of these countries know it and do nothing," says Fatou.

Spain

Mabel Lozano is a Spanish filmmaker, anti-trafficking activist supported by the UN in her work. She was an actress, model, presenter and in 2007 she decided to turn her profession around and talk about human rights from cinema. That year she did a master's degree in social cinema and human rights at the University of Galway, beginning a career as a human rights documentary filmmaker and crying out against women trafficking.

According to the portal specialized in Ibero-American cinema Programaibermedia.com, Mabel Lozano has spent five years making her new documentary feature, Chicas Nuevas 24 Horas, the most ambitious proyect that the Spanish director and activist dedicates to women trafficking , a theme on which she bases her cinematographic work.

The documentary Chicas Nuevas 24 Horas has allowed her to cross the ocean to film in Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and Colombia, countries where women, girls and men are trafficked . After obtaining important nominations for the Goya Awards and the Platinum Awards for Ibero-American Cinema in the category of Best Documentary, and after the film was declared a work of cultural interest in Paraguay, Mabel Lozano continues to show the world the scourge of human trafficking through her documentaries and stories as an education mechanism that has been supported by the UN.

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Tunisia

Racha Haffar, 30, is an award-winning Tunisian women's rights activist and founder and president of “Not 4 Trade,” the first NGO against trafficking in human beings in this country. She is a member of UN Women's Beijing + 25 Youth Working Group.

Racha is half Syrian and half Tunisian, born and raised in Dubai. She grew up in a conservative society and living all her life gender inequality and machismo she always felt the need to resist since she was a girl.

She got a scholarship to study in England and looking for an income to have extra money she found Au-pair online. She began to receive offers from families who might require their services and began to become aware of the abuses committed and the trafficking that was generated through the mechanism of recruiting women as nannies.

She focused her master's studies on the case and investigation of trafficking in women and in 2016 created the first anti-trafficking organization in Tunisia.

Mexico

Norma Bastidas is Mexican, she left her country dreaming of a future as a model in the 80s but ended up living a nightmare in Japan. Upon being tricked into Tokyo while pursuing her dream, Norma became the owned by a bar and later a mob boss. Norma was trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Today she fights against the phenomenon in an inspiring way.

Once she was freed from sexual slavery, she began to live again, she tried to have a normal life but it was not easy. In the search to free herself from her pressures, she began to run in the name of the illness of one of her sons and later became a marathoner and triathlete. She broke the silence about human trafficking and with her testimony, she began to travel the world with her story. Sports helped her publicize her case.

In 2014, she broke the Guinness World Record by completing the longest triathlon in the world. She swam, pedaled and ran 6,054 kilometers for 65 days to make the problem of trafficking visible and honor its survivors. The route she chose is one of the world's best-known human trafficking routes: Mexico-United States.

Colombia

Marcela Loaiza is Colombian, she traveled to Tokyo Japan in 1999 in search of opportunities and was caught by the Yakuza Mafia as a sex slave. Lack of money, loneliness and a sick daughter led her to live a hell that she documented in a book that today allows her to warn thousands of women with her experience.

She was locked up and enslaved, raped and beaten to the point of ending up completely disfigured and broken in a hospital. She was forced to have sex with about 20 men a day, 7 days a week. She was able to escape hell thanks to a client who helped her and was able to appear at the Colombian embassy in Tokyo to return to the country. She came to Colombia to work on the same thing, assuming that it was her destiny and her life would not change. A religious organization helped her recover with psychological therapies and reintegration into social life. Writing in her therapies helped her break free, and then she was able to turn her stories into a book. Caught by the Yakuza mafia, it was published in 2009 and two years later in 2011 it published, What I Was and What I Am.

Currently, Marcela Loaiza is an activist and has a foundation with her name with which she supports women who have suffered her experience. Traveling the world making her history visible and is her job. Marcela today is an inspiration to many women who suffered sexual slavery in countries other than their own.

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