Human Trafficking Does Not Occur in a Vacuum

Human Trafficking Does Not Occur in a Vacuum
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The National Domestic Workers Alliance, the International Domestic Workers Federation, and the Africa Domestic Workers Network stand with the young women abducted in Nigeria and their families.* We are organizations that represent women workers in the United States and Africa -- we care about the human rights of women and girls all around the world, we condemn all forms of violence against women, and we join our sisters to demand that the lives of these families that have been torn apart are made whole.

Three weeks ago in Borno State in Nigeria, 234 girls were taken from their school dormitory in the middle of the night. Several days ago, 11 more Nigerian girls were kidnapped from their homes. These brutal acts have silenced and disappeared these young women, and are part of a culture of militarism that denigrates and devalues women's lives and humanity. They deserve so much more.

And, now these girls -- daughters, sisters, and symbols of hope for their families -- could be trapped in the cycle of human trafficking. Our ongoing work with survivors of trafficking has taught us that human trafficking does not occur in a vacuum. These 245 girls join millions of survivors of human trafficking, gender-based violence, and severe exploitation around the world. They are survivors of a global political economy that has made millions of women and people living in poverty disposable. Worse yet, it has turned women and children into tools of warfare.

At its very core, human trafficking renders people invisible -- regardless of age, gender, race, or country of origin. But too often, when the victims are women of color, their stories take too long to be heard. We are deeply familiar with this inequality -- domestic workers, many of whom are migrant women of color, have long been invisible in the economy, despite the critical role of our work in supporting families around the world.

We call upon concerned people around the world to acknowledge that the lives of African women matter -- and to support our sisters in their demands for action. We call upon the Nigerian authorities to act quickly to find our sisters and reunite them with their families.

Their lives are of value. Their stories should be told. They deserve justice.

*The National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Africa Domestic Workers Network are part of the International Domestic Workers Federation, which represents domestic worker unions and organizations from 39 countries.

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