St. Mary's Seminary & University

At- Risk groups of the World

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This explanation was the basis for teaching a religion class in our school to raise awareness of this issue.

At- Risk groups of the World

In this world, there are many groups of people who are in poor situations and are often taken advantage of. One of these groups is Migrant Workers. Here are two short excerpts describing this group:

1.         Every day and on all parts of the planet, people are falling victim to human trafficking. One of the worst examples of this is with migrant workers. People can become migrant workers through many situations, but the root cause is often trickery. People can be lured into a system that takes advantage of them simply by being offered a better life. This system usually targets the vulnerable, such as the poor or those in war torn areas, by promising them well paying, legitimate jobs in foreign countries. Unfortunately, they use tactics such as charging hefty commissions for being given the opportunity to have a job to draw these people into debt. Once this occurs, there is often no way for the workers to escape the system. The people who are part of the system controlling the workers often also lie about how low the wage actually is, so with every year the money the workers earn is not enough to live off of. As a result, they must borrow more money and fall deeper into debt just to survive. With situations like these occurring every day, migrant workers are a very serious group of human trafficking.

2.         When migrant workers and their children become entrapped in the yearly cycle of working hard on a farm, receiving meagerly wages, then migrating to another plantation to start it all again, not only do the parents suffer, but the children as well. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, a child must be 14 years old to lawfully be able to work (outside of school hours) in any profession, except for agriculture, in the United States. The Labor Act also reads that children 12 years old and younger may work in agriculture, granted they have a parent’s permission. In addition to this Federal law, there are various state laws which further restrict the hours that one as a minor is able to work; however, there is always a disparity between the hour limit in agricultural lines of work as opposed to other jobs. What this often leads to is a higher dropout rate among migrant children and teens as they find coping with the workload in high school very difficult to balance with their work. For these children, telling them to not work is almost never an option; they are often large contributors of income for their families. Instead, to help these children there should be more programs in schools which allow for the migrant student to work with teachers to better understand the materials taught; as well as make the transfer process easier to navigate so that new students may transfer with ease and resume education quickly. In order to promote this, schools should put forth programs which allows those migrant children to meet with teachers, and have small tutoring sessions where they are able to catch up on work and to assist their comprehension. For all children in the United States, the opportunity to learn is the opportunity to be successful, and this opportunity should always be an option for migrant children.

Another vulnerable group, which happens to be very susceptible to human trafficking, is impoverished Filipino children. Here is a short description of the problem they face:

3.         The Filipino population, especially children, is very vulnerable to human trafficking. The Philippines is a poor country in which human traffickers take advantage of the impoverished. Many children are susceptible to child military groups that recruit kids into armies made up of other kids. Other children and teens look for work to help make money for their families. These kids wind up in terrible working conditions and all around bad situations. Finally, many poor Filipino families sell their kids to tourists for sex acts. While this is very wrong, the families see it as a way to make money and otherwise may not be able to feed themselves. While these are a few examples of human trafficking that occur in the Philippines, many other forms of human trafficking exist. Poor Filipino men, women, and children find themselves in very tough situations each and every day, and most of the time, these Filipino people will do what they can to feed their families and themselves. The government of the Philippines has made very small efforts to try and stop human trafficking. However, the government is too corrupt and has not made enough efforts or had enough funds to stop this ever-growing problem of human trafficking. There are too many traffickers and too many impoverished people for the situation to be easily resolved. However, many groups and organizations continue to help these Filipino children and families, and the problem can still be stopped. I have researched and found out about the situation in the Philippines and have decided to spread awareness. The experience has been pretty eye opening and it is hard to imagine what these people go through compared to our easy lives.

The last at-risk group this paper focuses on is prostitutes. This paragraph focuses on their terrible situation and ways their situation could be improved. 

  1.          After researching prostitution, I’ve discovered many new things. I’ve learned about the horrible state that trafficked prostitutes live in. They live in conditions worse than the homeless, which they are, and have no life of their own. Also, while some “elective” prostitutes are able to escape the clutches of the situation, most cannot. Many become lured into drugs, mostly heroin, and cannot escape. No one tries to help them, and they are stuck, not forcibly, but mentally and financially, in their holes. We can help prostitutes through working together as a community. We can promote awareness about the trafficked ones, and allow places, such as shelters, to take them in. The prostitutes can try to sneak away from their pimps with the help of these people, and hopefully escape death. The people at the shelter can try and nurse them to a normal life, and try to introduce them to the first-world. (This would not happen overnight, the process would take years). For “electives,” we can perform a similar action. Shelters can take them in, such as the one our speaker worked at, and nurse them to “normality.” While neither of these is an easy or quick task, they are the best way to effectively, and realistically, reduce prostitution across the world.

In conclusion, although these are certainly not the only vulnerable populations in the world, and the others should not be forgotten, it is important to think about each group individually, rather than group them all together as “others.” By paying attention to the world around us and trying to help our fellow man we can make the world a better place for everybody.

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