The American Psychological Association states that 7 in 10 human trafficking victims are women and girls. While boys and men are victims as well, most individuals identified as trafficked for both labor and commercial sex are women and girls.
According to documented videos collected by the IDF and testimony of freed hostages, Palestinian civilians kidnapped and sold hostages to Hamas for $100,000 per person. Many of the hostages who were released reported that they were repeatedly raped.
Steven Turner, who is an anti-trafficking expert shared: “All too often hostages are used as commodities for sex, labor and or both.”
Steve Turner is a former prosecutor and government attorney who spent years working to battle human trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence. He currently works as an anti-trafficking advocate, trainer and consultant. During Steve’s educational workshop, he provides anti-trafficking signs, symptoms and indicators training as well as working with victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Steve shared: “Sex and labor trafficking are rampant worldwide. I have worked with survivors who will regularly disclose they were raped and sexually assaulted 15, 20, or more times per day. Trafficking survivors often are thrust into this world of seemingly endless violence after they have already survived massive trauma in their lives. I can not imagine how the current and former hostages in Gaza feel. The documented reports of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war by the barbarians of Hamas can only cause fear and concern for what the hostages may be experiencing now and in the future.”
Steve continued by saying “The continued silence of some individuals and organizations who purport to be concerned about rape, sexual violence and the trafficking epidemic is disheartening and cruel in its deafening quiet.”
Atzum is the Israeli Anti-Trafficking organization that was established in 2002 to remedy injustices in Israeli society and encourage individuals to become social activists and agents of change. Atzum works to combat and resolve social problems and social justice crises. If you are a survivor of Hamas, you might be able to get help from The Roberta Project for survivors of Terror.
In the United States survivors can call the Polaris Project’s National Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7/365 at 888-3737-8833 or by texting 233733 (befree) for confidential help and resources.