Noy Thrupkaew: Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works
Noy Thrupkaew - Global journalist
Noy Thrupkaew reports on human trafficking and the economics of exploitation through the lens of labor rights. Full bio
a little bit of a hard time.
when she looked at me one day and said,
until you were three?"
I said, "My parents."
that's actually the case;
far more complicated than just this."
but I knew she was serious.
the funniest person in the room.
but she caught on to me really quickly,
she would look at me and say,
and I asked my parents
until I was three?
a distant relative of the family.
when I was much older.
me like a curtain
to the bathroom
that a child has sometimes
also requires letting go.
memory of my auntie,
memories of life at all.
by another member of my family.
and wanting it to stop,
to go out with her friends,
beaten behind closed doors.
that eventually she ran away.
when she was brought over from Thailand
on a tourist visa.
in Illinois for a time,
at a political rally in Bangkok.
when I was a child,
I promised that I would call.
everything that she meant to me --
of who I became to her care,
were like a thimble
and shame and rage I felt
to care for me for as long as she had --
I would never stop crying again.
and researching human trafficking
this personal story
until pretty recently.
about human trafficking.
prevalent, complex and close to home
and law enforcement, NGO workers.
about human trafficking,
about the problem right at all.
about someone like my auntie.
about a young girl or woman,
into prostitution by a violent pimp.
and that is a real story.
of that situation, though.
we relate to each other through language,
with all the gory, violent detail,
"look at her scars" journalism.
doing a bad thing to an innocent girl.
that we might be indicted for,
or the poverty,
about forced prostitution,
in our everyday lives.
22 percent of human trafficking.
imposed forced labor.
is for the purpose of creating the goods
that most of us rely on every day,
domestic work and construction.
and exploited today.
of force, fraud or coercion
and coltan mines,
bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
exporter of shrimp in the world.
and plentiful shrimp?
Burmese and Cambodian migrants
the men put to work,
if they made the mistake of falling sick,
to four major global retailers:
on a smaller scale than just that,
never even imagine.
to drive ice cream trucks,
in a hair braiding salon in New Jersey.
who were from Ghana and Togo,
"your daughters are going to get
of the green card lottery,
We'll pay your fees.
this young girl with you,
the young girls were taken away,
nearly four million dollars.
to the criminal justice system.
trafficking are poor and marginalized.
too often part of the problem,
from Bangladesh to the United States,
in the sex trade who were surveyed
by the police in the past year alone.
who have been trafficked into it,
convictions for prostitution.
so much more difficult
or leave prostitution,
they risk deportation.
employers have no problem
to try and threaten or deport
of undocumented workers
of law enforcement if they're caught.
victims and prosecute traffickers.
of human trafficking in the world,
fewer than 50,000 people.
to the population of Los Angeles,
5,700 convictions in 2013,
of all trafficking,
of the convictions.
happens where need meets greed.
workers are excluded from protections,
degraded work environments.
or war-torn states, or --
about the United States.
a trafficking case called Global Horizons,
to work in Hawaii pineapple plantations,
and anywhere the work was needed.
of solid agricultural work.
their wives' jewelry,
for this company, Global Horizons.
and held at gunpoint.
they fainted in the fields.
and I froze in the produce department.
the Global Horizons survivors
I showed up to interview them.
of perfect, long-stemmed strawberries,
you eat with somebody special
whose hands picked them for you?"
later, I realized I had no idea
they were being treated.
digging into the agricultural sector.
and too few labor inspectors.
of plausible deniability
and processor, and God knows who else.
brought to the States
ties a person's legal status
the right to organize.
about this agricultural sector
is actually human trafficking.
fertile ground for exploitation.
before I had tried to understand it.
grappling with these issues.
philanthropists in the world.
investing nearly 10 million dollars
as having the worst working conditions
were shocked and horrified,
an op-ed for a newspaper,
to learn everything we can
of the products that we support.
if each one of us decided
to support companies
from their labor and supply chains?
their businesses and say, "no more"?
for migrant workers?
should have the right to organize
around the world.
a fair-trade peach
a guilt-free zone with your money.
a system that is broken,
and benefit from for too long.
been talking to them,
more than our worst days.
than what we have lived through.
and resilient and responsible
would take a gamble on.
because I have the chance
because they're behind
social justice movements out there today.
who marched with their families
an international treaty
into the sex trade --
first anti-trafficking organization
by trafficking survivors themselves.
but they broke out of their work compound
to Washington, D.C.,
the National Guest Worker Alliance,
they have wound up helping other workers
and abuses in supply chains
of Justice declined to take their case,
the first of a dozen civil suits
their clients 14 million dollars.
for people they don't even know yet,
of a just world for all of us.
as a people and as a society;
to other people's pain;
inextricably woven together;
to make a different choice.
my story of my auntie with you.
and climbed up on this stage,
of people about it,
about your stories
if anything, about my own.
due diligence on this.
of document requests,
of what happened, and of her life now.
is messy and unfinished.
and unfinished situation we're all in,
also part of its solution.
just world is our work to do,
we should have done,
About the speaker:Noy Thrupkaew - Global journalist
Noy Thrupkaew reports on human trafficking and the economics of exploitation through the lens of labor rights.
Why you should listen
Noy Thrupkaew writes on global issues on a local scale. The focus of her studies (and the subject of her forthcoming book) is human trafficking and the exploitative economic systems and corrupt officials behind it. She is a keen critic of the role of anti-trafficking organizations in the struggle against it, calling for long-range approaches that go beyond mere prohibition.
As an independent journalist, Thrupkaew has written for a wide variety of outlets including The Nation, National Geographic and The New York Times.
Noy Thrupkaew | Speaker | TED.com