The World Health Organization Violence Prevention Alliance’s definition of violence is “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” This definition includes “collective violence,” which includes many kinds of deprivation and maldevelopment that may be accepted as “normal.”
Many human trafficking risk factors are themselves forms of collective violence. In your prevention work, be careful not to confuse crime prevention with violence prevention. Some forms of crime prevention are violent. Some forms of violence prevention or survival may be criminalized.
Methods that are commonly accepted in the field of crime prevention or response may be counter to the methods and goals of violence prevention. Are you engaging in crime prevention and response, or violence prevention?
Ask yourself: What forms of collective violence create the risk factors that leave people vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking? How is your human trafficking prevention programming working to end social, political, and economic violence?
And remember: centering marginalized populations in our work doesn’t mean centering one marginalized group. It means ensuring our strategies to create safety for one marginalized population don’t cause harm to others. We can work together to get all of us free.