Aside from the Top two most profitable transnational crimes today, being drugs and weapons, the selling of human bodies is ranked at the third most profitable organization bringing in revenue from between 7 to 12 billion and this still may not be accurate. The practice of selling humans to be sex slaves or drug slaves, it’s an elaborate crime that generally transpires over time. As will be discussed later, factors such as global political and economic instability in certain regions of the world together with large-scale and epidemic instances of poverty and disenfranchisement of entire groups of people, contribute to making humans vulnerable victims of human trafficking. This is not something that is entirely new to us, it is now growing and taking over.
Although human trafficking is described as the modern-day form of slavery, the practice of selling and enslaving humans is not something that has just occurred, it has been around for decades. For a brief history involving human trafficking, “Ancient Egypt, for instance, used slaves to build its immense pyramids. Portugal, during the 15th century, bought and sold slaves from Africa and Europe. In the 18th century, the Transatlantic Slave Trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americans facilitated the sale of humans sometimes in exchange for weapons and molasses” (Bales, 2005). Today we see many of these reoccurring issues, though they have just gotten worse. It has now become a game, and victims are being picked up while looking for jobs. “Many victims of human trafficking are typically offered employment or other opportunities under false pretenses by traffickers. Traffickers exploit the poverty and hope of vulnerable individuals, enticing them with the opportunity to improve their lives” (Human Trafficking 101). Many of the women who become involved with human trafficking are later sold for their organs and other body parts as well. Victims are not just sold for slavery and sex, they can be sold and basically any disturbing thing can and will happen to them. According to another article written in the Washington Post, “Upon arrival in the United States, the traffickers raped the women and girls, confiscated their travel documents, and forced them to prostitute. Guards prevented them from leaving the brothels, and if the victims tried to escape they faced severe physical punishment as well as threats of deportation” (Washington Post).
Human trafficking impacts people of all backgrounds, and people are trafficked for a variety of purposes. Men are often trafficked into hard labor jobs, while children are trafficked into labor positions in textile, agriculture and fishing industries. Women and girls are typically trafficked into the commercial sex industry, such as prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. Not all slaves are trafficked, but all trafficking victims are victims of “slavery”. Human trafficking is a particularly cruel type of slavery because it removes the victim from all that is familiar to him or her, leaving them completely isolated and alone, often unable to speak the language of her captors or fellow victims. Sex trafficking or slavery is the exploitation of women and children, within national or across international borders, in which they are forced to have sex and that is considered their line of work. Commercial sexual exploitation includes pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking of women and girls, and is characterized by the exploitation of a human being in exchange for certain items, mainly money.
As Far as the recruitment goes, as stated above, victims are being picked up while looking for work. Human trafficking involves the recruitment and abduction of victims, who are then transferred to the destination where they are isolated and exploited. Although they may initially travel with their trafficker voluntarily, victims of human trafficking are then isolated, coerced, threatened, beaten, and restrained. In international cases of human trafficking, the victims’ identification papers are often destroyed or withheld by traffickers, because of their illegal immigration status in the destination country, many victims of trafficking are made to fear law-enforcement authorities. Victims are often imprisoned in extreme isolation and are dependent upon their captors for food and shelter. Victims are often threatened with violence against themselves or their family members at home. Due to this is has become too easy to trick these individuals into thinking this is what they need to better their life and their families lives.
It is not just females who are being trafficked, however that is where we get most of our numbers. An anti- human trafficking organization claims that in the U.S alone there has been 17,500 people trafficked and about 20 million around the world according to HNGN. It is almost uncertain to keep track of all the numbers in a daily basis. According to another site on human trafficking, they state that “Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders” (soroptimist). It has been found that where economic alternatives do not exist, women and girls are more vulnerable to being tricked and coerced into sexual servitude. Increased unemployment and the loss of job security have undermined women’s incomes and economic position and made it that much easier for them to turn to being victims of Human Trafficking.
It has been found true that the “Major Contributing Factors to Human Trafficking is based on the simple economic principles of supply and demand” (Shelley). Global poverty is one of the major contributors to human trafficking because it creates a vulnerable supply of victims. On the other hand, the economic prosperity experienced by some countries over the last few decades has created vast wealth and major incomes for some individuals, with enough earnings to demand a market in the sale of humans.
So far there has been many patterns in the Global Transportation process. The continent of Africa, as well as china, has been identified as a place of origin for victims of human trafficking, which means that victims are recruited or abducted from locations such as Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, and Morocco. They are then shipped across the world to locations where the demand for cheap labor or sexual services exists. Africa, however, is also a transit and destination country, meaning that although the countries listed above recruit many victims, they also serve as midpoint locations for traffickers who’s distant and far-ranging transportation schemes make a temporary rest stop as well as locations where victims finally learn their fate and are forced to labor against their will.
In many cases, human trafficking can be linked to organized criminal syndicates such as the Russian Mafia and the Chinese Triads. Indeed, Finckenauer , who has studied the link between human trafficking and organized crime, believes that all transnational crimes, such as the sale and transportation of humans across the globe, require a bit of planning, organization, skills, and other resources to carry out the criminal venture. Regardless, involvement in a specific and identifiable criminal organization is not necessary. All that is needed is a network of loosely organized individuals, all with specialized criminal skills. As much planning and brains someone needs to pull a stunt like this, hundreds of people do it daily and it has become something that can’t be stopped. Upon most human trafficking set ups that have been performed, none of them are stopped.
Why Do Victims Remain Hidden from Authorities? This has been one of the most asked questions according to the human trafficking website. Victims are rarely left alone, not allowed to use the telephone, and are fearful of the consequences if they try to escape or inform the police of their circumstances. Moreover, most victims do not speak the language in their new destination country, which stops their ability to communication with authorities. There are many movies or tv shows that make human trafficking seem less than what it is. It is almost, if not fully impossible to find someone once they have been trafficked because everything about them changes. Just as a normal investigation would take place, finding a victim of human trafficking isn’t just a 48 hour job, it’s something that can take decades and a whole team to figure out. The moment a trafficker gets ahold of a victim, there already 20 steps ahead of what your next move would be. It is beginning to get harder for these traffickers to pick up on victims, however nothing for them seems to be impossible. These traffickers are taking their victims and putting them into hiding. They are being sexual abused and assaulted with no way out, saying no to something in this case is not an option for our victims of Human Trafficking.
Every year since 2000, the U.S. Department of State has published the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which details the extent of trafficking in the country. The report also contains a ranking system where the Department of State issues a passing or failing grade to other countries’ efforts to stop human trafficking. Using the U.S. law as the benchmark of excellence, the State Department conducts an investigation into every country around the globe that receives financial or military assistance from the United States. There are many different states that are taking charge and are trying to make people more aware and inform them to help stop human trafficking. As Far as the United States, The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was authorized in 2000 and was the first federal law to address sex trafficking and labor trafficking in the United States. The TVPA focused on the prevention and protection for trafficking survivors, as well as prosecution for traffickers.
The TVPA was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008 as the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), and each reauthorization offered positive changes. For example, the TVPRA of 2008 required the Department of Labor to publish a list of products produced by child labor or forced labor. But the TVPRA expired in 2011, and is in need of an update to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of human trafficking. According to an article written in The Muse, “This year, a bill to reauthorize the TVPRA has been reintroduced to Congress. It holds government contractors accountable for using foreign labor recruiters that use exploited labor, helps law enforcement prevent and prosecute sex tourism, and creates a grant-making program to prevent trafficking in humanitarian crises” (TheMuse).
As for now, in each state or country that is involved within Human Trafficking, it has been brought to their attention and better efforts to stop this crime are being enforced. Unfortunately it’s not something that is going to happen overnight, it’s sad to say that within technology and the way things are now, stopping these traffickers is not an easy job. There has to be more tools and more ways to get this concept under ease and to prevent further actions from happening. It’s all a matter of time and the right sources to figure this situation out. It has been brought to the attention of many that to help end slavery it is important to help out our people, some of these solutions include, education, skills training, and social enterprise through partnerships. With this help it will hopefully keep more women and children off the streets and becoming victims of this crime.
In any event, involving the life of a human, it is easy for people to feel bothered or have many unanswered questions. With that, human trafficking is one of the most antiquated and unforgivable crimes. Yet, it is also a contemporary crime that has been growing enormously over the past few decades. Millions of people, including children, fall victim to this crime each year. Although generally a transnational crime, there is evidence that human trafficking occurs within the borders of most countries, including the United States. It is also a crime that does not discriminate, victims can be of any race, ethnicity, age, or gender its humans that they want and it’s up to us to spread the word for those who do not have a voice, and to help stop Human Trafficking.
My essay is to not argue, but inform!
1. Aronowitz, A. (2001). Smuggling and trafficking human beings: The phenomenon, the markets that drive it and the organizations that promote it. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research.
2. Bales, K. (2005). Understanding global slavery. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
3. Brennan, D. (2005). Methodological challenges in research with trafficked persons: Tales from the field. In F. Laczko & E. Gozdziak (Eds.), Data and research on human trafficking: A global survey (pp. 35–55). Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Migration.
4. Finckenauer, J. O. (20014). Russian transnational organized crime and human trafficking. In D. Kyle & R. Koslowski (Eds.), Global human smuggling (pp.166–187). London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
5. Hughes, N. (2000). The global traffic in human organs. Current Anthropology, 41(2), 191–211.
6. Scully, E. (2010). Pre–Cold War traffic in sexual labor and its foes: Some contemporary lessons. In D. Kyle & R. Koslowski (Eds.), Global human smuggling (pp. 74–107). London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
7. United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). (2009). Trafficking in persons: Global patterns. Retrieved August 21, 2013, from http://www.unodc.org/documents/Global_Report_on_TIP.pdf