Through my NCEA level 3 geography in 2015, I studied the processes and effects of Human Trafficking, here is my report on my findings:
Fully Explain the factors/processes that contribute to the pattern
There is one significant driver of Human Trafficking and that is the Economics behind this international crime. Source areas/regions are where vulnerable people are targeted for the exploitation of Human Trafficking, and for someone to be vulnerable there are a number of factors that we have to take into accounts such as the Social, Economic, Political, and Environmental factors that are in these people’s lives. However, it is usually the economic value that Traffickers look for in a vulnerable person, these people are moved out of rural, less economically developed countries and/or regions of countries and moved into the larger cities where there is a demand for Trafficked People and their cheap labour.
Trafficking is not the same as migrant smuggling. Migrant smuggling involves the illegal, facilitated movement across an international border for profit. While it may involve deception and/or abusive treatment, the purpose of migrant smuggling is to profit from the movement, not the eventual exploitation as in the case of trafficking. (http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS36_en.pdf)
Individuals are vulnerable to being trafficked not only because of conditions in their countries of origin, however. The allure of opportunity, the relentless demand for inexpensive goods and services and the expectation of reliable income drive people into potentially dangerous situations where they are at risk of being exploited. The demand for Human Trafficking is the number one thing behind the economics, that drives Human Trafficking. Why is there a demand? There is a demand because 1, Consumer want and 2, the legal acceptance.
As a consumer, you have the power to encourage businesses for human trafficking, without even having the knowledge that you are doing this. In Europe alone, 10% of british men admit to paying for sex in brothels, these men are fueling the demand for sex slaves by paying often unknowingly for sex with trafficked women. For a company to gain the most amount of profit while they continue making and selling throughout the world what they need is cheap labour. Companies all over the world use cheap labour in LEDC’s as a way to gain the most profit while keeping products at a good value for consumers, and the more we demand these products, the more stress we put on companies to go into these LEDC and get people desperate to work. however, another option that companies have is to use trafficked people, and sometimes companies are unaware of employing trafficked people. These people will work for tiny amounts of money, such as in Mumbai, where trafficked prostitutes work for approx $0.60NZD a night, but can be worth over $100,000 a year to a pimp.
There is also the legal acceptance side of this crime. Human Trafficking is accepted through different corrupt ways by governments all through the world from them not being aware of who has been trafficked in or out of the country, but it’s ultimately the economic value that it brings to these areas which is creating the demand for trafficked workers. In Mumbai, India, prostitution is legal, and India is said to have the largest sex industry in Asia with over 10% of the population involved (100,000,000 people) which makes prostitution so accepted within the community because it is happening everywhere. This means that the demand for sex workers is so large that pimps will bring in trafficked women from all over the world to attempt to supply the demand. The problem about this is that when trafficked women are forced into the sex industry, they will not comply with the truth when asked if they have been trafficked or not, incase their family will get in trouble back home (threats made from the pimps.) This means that the Mumbai police (and police around the world) literally can not stop traffickers bringing woman into the sex industry because they don’t know who has been trafficked, and the economic value to the government and to the people who are not trafficked, and are working in the sex industry to make a living for themselves and their families is too high for the governments to stop prostitution as a whole.
that they can’t physically stop it with the large economic value to the government is too high.
And with demand comes the supply. The United Nations (UN) believes that at any one time there are 2.5 million illegally trafficked people on the planet. An example of how massive human trafficking is in the world is that 90% of all trafficked women are forced into the sex industry or sold to pimps, and 65% of all foreign sex workers in England and Wales are trafficked, which means that there are over 15,000 trafficked sex slaves working throughout England and Wales alone.
People that target victims include a wide range of criminals, including individual pimps, family operations, small businesses, loose-knit decentralized criminal networks, and international organized criminal operations. Traffickers can be lone individuals or part of extensive criminal networks, with the common thread of exploiting people for profit.
More than often the traffickers and their victims share the same national, ethnic or cultural background, which allows the trafficker to better understand and exploit the vulnerabilities of their victims. Traffickers usually target women before children and then men. Women tend to be more vulnerable to think kind of crime when compared to men. Women are also more demanded in the sex industry when compared to men, especially younger-teenagers.
The traffickers exploit their victims for the profit that is gained from forced labour and commercial sex. They lure people into forced labour and sex trafficking by manipulation and exploitation of their vulnerabilities. These traffickers promise high-paying jobs, loving relationships, or new and exciting opportunities and then use physical and psychological violence to control these people who are hoping for a better life, lack employment opportunities, have an unstable home life, or have a history of sexual or physical abuse.
What makes someone “vulnerable”
The vulnerability of a person can be split up into several categories as to why these people are deemed as vulnerable subjects for human traffickers. One of the most important reasons is the economic situation of the person or the regions where there are high concentrations of countries where trafficked people are sourced. Human traffickers prey on people who are poor, isolated and weak. Issues such as disempowerment, social exclusion, and economic vulnerability are the result of policies and practices that marginalize entire groups of people and make them particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Natural disasters, conflict, and political turmoil weaken already tenuous social protection measures.
Poverty is a major crisis when it comes to the vulnerability of a victim of Human Trafficking. With nearly ½ of the world’s population (more than 3 million people) living on less than $2.50 a day these children, women and men are at risk for human trafficking (https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-global-poverty.)
There are many people who live in poor communities suffering from extreme poverty where there are limited resources and few opportunities for employment available.
In Nigeria, it is one of the largest source destination spots for human traffickers, this could be explained clearly through the economic state of the country. 70% of the population are below the poverty line (2010) and 23% of the population are unemployed (2011) (CIA Factbook.) This compared to somewhere like New Zealand where if you are unemployed you are given unemployment benefits such as the Dole, and if you are below the poverty line the government will support you with free/cheap housing and healthcare. This comparison significantly shows how susceptible someone in Nigeria could be to accepting an offer of a better life from traffickers, compared to New Zealand, which has one of the lowest human trafficking rates in the world.
Traffickers take advantage of these vulnerable people, by offering them multiple ways to escape the harsh realities of their lives. Traffickers may offer job training or educational opportunities to the people who are desperate enough to try anything for a better life for themselves or for their families.
While trafficking victims come from a range of backgrounds, including from economically privileged families, trafficking is linked with people who have a lack of resources, mainly job opportunities. These situations can make people become desperate enough to enter any kind of named employment, meaning they are more vulnerable to be deceived by traffickers.
Traffickers target people who have few – non-economic opportunities and those struggling to meet basic needs to survival. There are also situation where poor parents from rural areas with low development are vulnerable to being promised that their child will be educated, fed and treated well, and may fall into the trap of sending off their child in exchange for money (or in some cases, send one off for money so that the other children can eat.) And then these children are forced into the sex industry or forced labour industry and only taken back to their homes when they have finished in their given jobs (unless killed) However, many children are not accepted back into their families/communities after being trafficked and are disowned, This leaves children even more vulnerable to go back into the trafficking industry.
In Kolkata, India, a daughter goes missing every day from the rural village as they are promised better jobs in the larger cities. However, they are completely unaware of what they are getting themselves into, sometimes pushed into the sex industry and having up to 30 clients a day when being as young as 9 years old. There is so much money coming into the pimps (a trafficked girl can be worth over $100,000 a year) these pimps have bribed police in Kolkata so that they will not be able to stop trafficked, underage girls being forced into the sex industry.
This is one of the major reasons as to be why someone is so vulnerable to human trafficking because people will take any opportunities that they can for money and for their families to have a future when they do not already have the access to these opportunities or futures, this makes them very susceptible to falling into the hands of a trafficker.
Social vulnerability is another way that someone can be so vulnerable to falling into the hands of a human trafficker. Social vulnerability falls hand-in-hand with economic vulnerability, in the way that the people that struggle with their economic situation usually have some links to the social side of things such as gender rights, alcohol/drug abuse, or poor family structures. An example of this is in India, where women are treated inequal compared to men. There is major inequality in this country, and because of this, 1 woman is raped every 20 minutes, which shows how these woman are not respected or are not treated equal. Another example gender inequality is the wage inequality between men and women in India. The largest wage gap was in manual ploughing operations in 2009, where men were paid ₹ 103 per day, while women were paid ₹ 55, a wage gap ratio of 1.87 and out of India’s 397 million workers in 2001, 124 million were women (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_inequality_in_India. This means that women are usually discouraged when it comes to things such as trying to get work, and become vulnerable to traffickers offering a better life situation.
However, someone who is economically stable with housing, a job and a clear future, can show aspects of social vulnerability and make themselves vulnerable to these human traffickers. An example of this kind of social vulnerability is in smaller American cities “recruitment cities” such as Toledo, Ohio. There have been cases in these cities where males (specifically teenage/young 20’s) go into High Schools and Colleges and target woman/teenagers that trust these men and introduce themselves as the perfect boyfriend model, gain trust and then lure them into the human trafficking sex industry where they are forced into prostitution with ‘elite’ clients. These people not only introduce themselves as the perfect boyfriend model, but many other trusted figures in women’s lives. These include Judges, Officials, Politicians, Attorneys, Law Enforcement and Drug Dealers, and could even be working as Pastors or Social Workers. The victims that they target are reported from random locations, male or female, Upper Class- and trafficked from right under the parents noses, or poor people.
The political vulnerability can be linked to political instability, militarism, civil unrest, a conflict which can all result in an increase of trafficking. The destabilization and displacement of populations increase their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse through trafficking and forced labour. War and civil strife may lead to massive displacements of populations, leaving orphans and street children extremely vulnerable to trafficking. A major example of population displacement causing political vulnerability is the Myanmar Rohingya people.
The Rohingya are an ethnic group of Southeast Asia. They are mainly Muslim and they live in the Arakan State in western Myanmar, and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in south-eastern Bangladesh. They are considered refugees by the Burmese and Bangladeshi governments, and are not citizens of either country. As of 2013, about 1.3 million Rohingyas live in Myanmar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_people They reside mainly in the northern Rakhine townships, where they form 80–98% of the population( around 800,000 Muslim Rohingyas.) Most of them have been denied citizenship by the Burmese government, and because of this the have no legal national documentation so are unable to leave the country or get jobs. International media and human rights organizations have often described Rohingyas as one of, if not the, most persecuted minorities in the world. Many of these Rohingya People have fled to ghettos and refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh and to areas along the border of Thailand. More than 100,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar continue to live in camps for internally displaced persons, not allowed by authorities to leave. Without being legal citizens in these countries, the Rohingya face violence and a lack of basic human rights such as access to health care, education and employment. Myanmar is currently in the battle of a massive humanitarian crisis. Thousands of ethnic Rohingya are fleeing persecution and by this some of them (the ones that can afford it) are boarding overcrowded boats (and often enduring horrific conditions), they’re going to countries scarcely able to help them, or in some cases are just not interested in helping them.
Environmental/Extreme natural events Vulnerability
When someone is exploited and involved in an extreme natural event they are left vulnerable because of the environment that they are placed in. Examples of these are the Nepalese earthquake in April 2015 and the boxing day tsunami in Haiti 2004. In both of these situations, the ENE (extreme natural event) took place in an LEDC where there are plenty of old, (often historic) run down buildings. When an ENE in one of these countries hits, hundreds to thousands of people are killed and/or have their homes taken away from them (no longer liveable) This effect can leave hundreds and often thousands of people displaced, without a home, needed supplies and their families and often this means that kids, women, and teenagers are lost which is the perfect recruitment grounds for traffickers. Traffickers offer help in these situations, talking about how much money and help that they can offer to these displaced people and because when someones goes into survival mode- all they need/want is basic needs such as fresh water, food, and shelter, they often fall into the traffickers hands when offered these things. After both these events, the numbers of people trafficked out of the disaster zone was huge. In the Haitian earthquake, press reports raised concerns about child trafficking from that disaster in the form of illegal adoptions to well-meaning families in the northern hemisphere, as well as internal trafficking of children into domestic slavery.
A similar risk existed during the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. Those who had previously been discriminated against and socially excluded, such as the Dalits or those affected by the bonded labour that still existed in Nepal, will be particularly vulnerable to enslavement. Most of the trafficking that occurs in the aftermath of war and natural disasters is not an aberration, but a continuation of things which have been going on before and which are now even less constrained because of the confusion and destruction the disaster has brought. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/06/nepal-earthquake-human-trafficking-slavery)
However, because so many people lost their lives and bodies were never found, families may not know that their children have actually been trafficked out during the time of the disaster.
Evaluate the social/economic significance of Human Trafficking for people showing insight
The social and economic significance of human trafficking on people is very large as it shows major impacts, both direct and indirect, through these two aspects of human trafficking and these can also be related as to how human trafficking is driven in the first place.
Social & Economic Impacts (Impacts on the people-both Traffickers & Trafficked)
Human trafficking victims have significant direct impacts on themselves as they are going through this traumatic experience. Human trafficking victims experience various stages of degradation of physical and psychological torture. These trafficking victims are often deprived of sleep and food are unable to move freely, along with this, victims are physically and mentally tortured. These victims are mentally tortured in order to keen them captured, they are told their families and their children will be harmed or murdered if they (the victims of Human Trafficking) try to escape or tell anyone about their situation. There is also another of mental exploitation because when victims are brought to different countries from their origins, victims rarely understand the culture and language of the country into which they have been trafficked, they experience another layer of psychological stress and frustration.
For woman brought into the sex industry, before serving clients in the destination country women are forcibly raped by the traffickers themselves, in order to initiate the cycle of abuse and degradation that they will suffer. Some women are drugged in order to prevent them from escaping. Once “broken in,” sex trafficked victims can service up to 30 men a day, and are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. The human traffickers use isolation as one of the main ways to control the victims, they isolate the victims from their societies, religions, human interaction and the feel of being wanted as a person. Trafficking victims are very often sextually exploited (even when they are not going into the sex industry) so the traffickers can gain more control over the victims because in many religions and communities sex before marriage is forbidden and looked down on, so this can often make the girls can go through extreme mental stress and distrust yet controlled by the traffickers. Once victims are finished being exploited and sent back to their source communities, these victims are often not accepted back into their communities and families because they are no longer valued as a person because they have broken the ‘sex before marriage’ rule. This can make these victims feel like they have belonging, and in wich makes them extremely vulnerable to be re-trafficked back into the criminal network.
There are many indirect effects from human trafficking, which affect all trafficked, traffickers,connected families and the countries (source and destination) with most of these effects being negative. The long term effects onto these trafficking victims tend to lean towards the global scale of things. One of the major indirect effects of the victims is the health care.
Trafficking has a harrowing effect on the mental, emotional and physical well-being of the victims involved.
Physical abuse is used in the human trafficking industry against the victims of trafficking for control and to show that they do not have any control over their new lives. This can include any kind of physical violence from rape to being starved and to even being murdered. One of the most major indirect effects of human trafficking into the sex industry on the physical well being of victims is the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STD’s. Victims of trafficking that go into the sex industry are usually forced into sexual activities without the use of protection, and because of this, they become a very high risk of contracting STD’s or even HIV. With the mobile nature of human trafficking, the HIV virus is able to be spread into different regions and/or countries at a very fast rate.
Dr. Chris Beyrer, a leading epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins has linked sex trafficking to the AIDS virus, stating that the new strains of HIV are proving resistant to treatment. “What we are seeing is that the trafficking part of the sex industry is aiding the global dispersion of HIV subtypes.” And according to U.S. representative Jim McDermott, in a statement before the Congressional Task Force on International HIV/AIDS, the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, and the Human Rights Caucus briefing on the International Trafficking of Women, May 24, 2000: “New and more virulent strains of HIV are being tracked in Eastern Europe. The Congressional Research Service estimates that as many as 175,000 women and children are being ‘exported’ into the sex industries of Western Europe and America each year.” (http://www.stopvaw.org/trafficking_and_hiv_aids)
Because the extent of the sex industry and human trafficking victims, Other flow on effects that human trafficking victims that go into the sex industry include physical injuries, infections, chronic illnesses, laxity of rectal muscles & incontinence due to sexual activities that they are forced into, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, infertility, rape trauma syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, disturbed sleep-nightmare, regressive behaviour, psychosomatic illness, lost opportunities, feeling of betrayal, social-economic problems like strained family relations, nightmares, drug abuse, low self-esteem, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, and spiritual dilemma as the individuals tend to question their faith in God. These are all flow on effects from the trauma of being subject to forced sex in the sex industry around the world, some more negative than others, however, all having a significant impact on the victim’s life.
When trafficking victims are transported to the destination country, they no longer have any legal documentation for that country and/or region of destination because they (most of the time) are no longer legal citizens. This means that if a victim is in the need of health or medical care, they do not have the access to it cheaper or free. This means that Traffickers are not going to take their victims to get the correct medical care that they need to carry on, so if someone gets very sick or ill they will just get another trafficked person as they have a disposable mentality. This is a terrible situation for the victims of trafficking because they are forced to suffer and unable to help themselves recover from this forced violence.
Beyond the physical abuse, trafficked women, children and men suffer extreme emotional stress, including grief, fear and distrust. As some victims have been initially sold by their own family members for economic stability and/or a better life, it can create a sense of guilt and self-blame for the situation of the victim.
The impact of Human Trafficking on physical and psychological health for its victims are taken to the limits when they are usually exposed to abuse and violence, such as witnessing violent events like murder or extreme physical violence develop psychological health problems and occasionally, because of this kind of stress and trauma, in many cases has a permanent effect on their growth and development. Victims more than often experience a lack of control over their lives for the periods they are trafficked; and can therefore develop a sense of danger or inappropriate attitude towards authority. As they are constantly threatened and subject to violence (mental and physical), they develop a sense of fear that might last long after the trafficking period. Trafficking victims encounter trauma as well as the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which could eventually lead on to aggressive reactions, lack of gratitude, imbalanced emotions and gaps in the memory. These kind of indirect effects from trafficking need medical care before the victim can start even remotely feeling a sense of humanity again. When people suffer from these kinds of issues, they are usually directed to a psychiatrist and get help from there on, which is paid by the government. However, if a trafficking victim is left in the destination country after being exploited, with no way of going home, is it the destination countries job to pay for the psychiatrist and hospital rehabilitation that these people need, or is it the source countries? The answer is that no one should be paying for this kind of rehabilitation because this kind of crime shouldn’t be happening, but the reality of this is that it is happening all over the world and when these people go to get help from professionals they will always/most often never tell the professionals that they have been trafficked from another country (because of the threats they receive towards their families back home) and this means that the destination country will always end up paying for this care. The governments cannot stop giving away this care, because there are some people that have not been trafficked which genuinely need this help, but since the government can’t tell who is trafficked and who is not, it is just left open to both. This means that governments all over the world are paying for the help and rehabilitation of trafficking victims when they do not gain anything ($) from these pimps that exploit the victims.
The traffickers that initiate human trafficking only gain a positive economic impact and not much more. The cost of human trafficking to a pimp is massive, for example, one sex slave can be worth over $100,000 a year to a pimp, and globally creates a $32 billion-a-year industry that is fueled by corruption and human repression. These economic benefits only go towards one small group of people-the pimps, this makes the concentration of pimps powerful as they are gaining so much profit from this crime. There is no doubt about it that these pimps are some of the most powerful gang members in the world. An example of a gang is the MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha.) MS-13 is the most ruthless and deadliest gang in the world. They were started in California and today they have more than 70,000 members. MS-13 are known for drug smuggling, black market gun sales, theft, contract killing, human trafficking, and assault, especially on law enforcement. They don’t care about any kind of victims even kids and women. Authorities cannot have a major effect on these gangs because they are so large and are spread all across the world (like human trafficking). There comes to a point where these gangs (such as MS-13) can fuel the corruption in some government authorities because they are more wealthy and more powerful. When traffickers gain money from victims etc, this money is ‘black’ money and therefore is hidden from the governments and no tax is needed to be paid. When governments go in to try stop these massive gangs and the effects of human trafficking in general, the governments have to use tax money from its citizens to do this. However as it is a case of the government not gaining any economic benefits from this crime, this can lead to these governments and authorities going corrupt because they no longer have the power (or money) to control these people.
A global example of this is the Thai Bombings in Bangkok. In July 2015, Thailand forcibly returned 109 Uighurs to China, causing an international outcry and anger among the Uighur community because it was suspected that some of these people were linked to Human Traffickers. In August an attack at the Erawan shrine from the Uighurs in China, killed 20 people and wounded more than 120 and has now been names as the worst peacetime bombing in the country’s history. “The cause was the human trafficking networks, networks transferring Uighurs from one country to another,” Thailand’s police chief, Somyot Poompanmoung, said on Tuesday. “We destroyed their business, which caused anger.”
This kind of attack has caused outrage within the Thai government because bangkok’s biggest industry is Tourism and when an attack like this happens, it has the power to eliminate this economic income for the country. This shows just the kind of power that a criminal network has, especially when their business has been taken out of a popular destination country. This shows us how powerful these people can be when any kind of aspect is changed the way that these traffickers work, and they are not bothered if there it means that there will be fatalities of innocent people involved.
When talking about the global impacts of human trafficking, it is hard to cover all aspects of what is exactly going on (directly and indirectly) as it is very difficult to estimate the scope of human trafficking as there are no accurate statistics available. Various sources give different numbers of people being trafficked but it is important to note that these are estimations. This creates a situation where human trafficking can be under or overestimated.
- Everyone in the world is effected, if not directly then indirectly.
What we do know is that everyone in the world is affected by human trafficking in one way or another and if it is not directly (being a victim or trafficker) then it is indirectly. When buying food or goods that are sourced/or their products are sourced from poorer, LEDC countries, there is always an aspect to it where there could be link to human trafficking (through forced labour.) Such as in MEDC’s when buying products such as chocolate, we as a consumer might pick up a ‘fair trade’ block, meaning trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers. However, even going back to when the cocoa beans are picked or planted, these people could be forced into this work through trafficking. But the true extent of this, we do not know because of the crime itself. This is significant because lots of people look at human trafficking as a bad thing, but there is really no way for the governments to stop products that have been sourced and linked back to trafficking in even first world countries, and even when labelled as “fair trade.”
- Medical care paid by the government for treatment and rehabilitation of victims
No one should be paying for this kind of rehabilitation because this kind of crime shouldn’t be happening, but the reality of this is that it is happening all over the world and when these people go to get help from professionals they will always/most often never tell the professionals that they have been trafficked from another country (because of the threats they receive towards their families back home) and this means that the destination country will always end up paying for this care. The governments cannot stop giving away this care because there are some people that have not been trafficked which genuinely need this help, but since the government can’t tell who is trafficked and who is not, it is just left open to both. This means that governments all over the world are paying for the help and rehabilitation of trafficking victims when they do not gain anything ($) from these pimps that exploit the victims.
- “black” money, no tax to government
When traffickers gain money from victims etc, this money is ‘black’ money and therefore is hidden from the governments and no tax is needed to be paid. When governments go into communities to try stop these massive gangs and the effects of human trafficking in general, the governments have to use tax money from its citizens to do this. However as it is a case of the government not gaining any economic benefits from this crime, this can lead to these governments and authorities going corrupt because they no longer have the power (or money) to control these people. There is also the factor that someone else or a community (citizens of the country) may be missing out on major needs such as healthcare, education, roads, housing etc, because this money is going in to try and find and eventually exploit these gangs, with no benefits going back into the communities.
- Who pays the money to try and stop trafficking?
Do the countries that have the highest number of sourced trafficking victims pay for the authorities to try and stop these gangs, do the destination countries, or even the countries that aren’t even involved directly? Because governments all around the world do not gain any income from this crime and the large amounts of money that they make, then it is very hard for countries (especially LEDC-where human trafficking occurs most) to dish out this kind of money when they have more serious priorities such as education and the health of their people. With this constant confrontation of wondering who pays for the crime to be stopped, nothing tends to be done about it and it becomes an issue easily forgotten within a government. This is a major issue because it can cause confrontation between countries, each blaming each other for the constant supply/demand. This is significant because this is a global issue and needs to be addressed and stopped as soon as possible.
OVERALL EVALUATION & FINAL ANALYSIS
Human Trafficking is a significant issue that needs to be addressed, and it is very important that it does for the wellbeing of our future children, government’s, food and products. Human trafficking goes beyond the individual level and generates a negative effect on the whole society.
On an individual scale this crime is massive. This is because there is only few people in the world that gain benefits from this organized crime, and a lot of people that gain negative effects from the actions of these people. This is a significant issue because everyone in the world is involved, if not during the supply and transportation, then the demand. Us as consumers in a first world country believe that we play no part in the game of human trafficking, but however this changes when we want the cheapest goods and services for our money. This could be anything from clothing to child’s toys, to internationally sourced foods. When we (the consumer) demand more from international companies, they are forced into the habit of turning to sources of food and clothing material which give the cheapest and fastest option, this usually means that these companies that offer this are in LEDC’s where it is highly likely that the people working for them could be trafficked people, forced into the labour industry.
Another significant factor that this issue takes on is the idea that us in first world or MEDC’s are less likely to be trafficked and therefore we have nothing to do with it. An example of this is if happened to say, a teenager from a MEDC went missing, say from somewhere like New Zealand, Australia or the United States of America, there would be thousands of people looking for the missing teenager as soon as the word got out, and this includes government and authorities help to try and find the teen. This however does not occur in LEDC because there is no connection between the governments and their people, so if someone goes missing then it is just assumed that they have gone to find a better life in a bigger city with a healthy job. These two stories contrast significantly and show the stability of the government’s in both LEDC and MEDC and shows that the government and the authorities in MEDC’s can actually be a positive when it comes to human trafficking but in LEDC’s they can have a harrowing impact on a person’s or a community’s vulnerability.
Trafficking in persons is defined by the UN as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”.
Since December 2000, the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime serves as a legal framework for national legislation.
Human trafficking as a crime breaks many basic International human rights laws, which are the body of international law designed to promote and protect human rights at the international, regional, and domestic levels. Some of these laws that can be violated in the process of human trafficking are,
|• The prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status
• The right to life
• The right to liberty and security
• The right not to be submitted to slavery, servitude, forced labour or bonded labour
• The right not to be subjected to torture and/or cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment
• The right to be free from gendered violence
• The right to freedom of association
• The right to freedom of movement
• The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
• The right to just and favourable conditions of work
• The right to an adequate standard of living
• The right to social security
• The right of children to special protection
Different human rights laws will be relevant at different points in the trafficking cycle. Some will be more relevant to others when looking at the different circumstances and placements of the victims some will be especially relevant to the causes of trafficking (for example, the right to an adequate standard of living); others to the actual process of trafficking (for example, the right to be free from slavery); and still others to the response to trafficking (for example, the right of suspects to a fair trial). Some rights are broadly applicable to each of these aspects. While the link between human rights and human trafficking is clear, it does not necessarily follow that human rights will naturally be at the centre of responses to trafficking. For example, cross-border trafficking can be dealt with as an immigration issue, with human rights being addressed only as an afterthought.
A major violation of human trafficking is the human rights law that prohibits forced labour, defined by Convention No. 29 concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as:
“all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself [herself] voluntarily”.
Slavery, servitude, child sexual exploitation, forced marriage, servile forms of marriage, child marriage, forced prostitution and the exploitation of prostitution are also trafficking-related practices that are prohibited under international human rights law.
One of the main questions that we have to ask when looking at this international issue is why the doesn’t the international human rights law actually prohibit “trafficking in persons”—as opposed to “practices associated with trafficking” such as those listed above?
When an international crime can go as far as violating up to 2 million people at one time all over the world, how come this law hasn’t been set in stone when it is a significant human rights issue.
Human trafficking promotes societal breakdown by removing women, children and men from their families and communities to go into the sex industry or forced labour and this is highlighted in LEDC’s and the rural communities of countries. Trafficking fuels organized crime groups that usually participate in many other illegal activities, including drug and weapons trafficking and money laundering such as the notorious MS-13. It negatively impacts local and national labor markets, due to the loss of human resources and also impacting globally with the demand for forced labour. Sex trafficking burdens public health systems. And trafficking erodes government authority, encourages widespread corruption, and threatens the security of vulnerable populations and this is often in places where people are poor, isolated and weak. Issues such as disempowerment, social exclusion and economic vulnerability are the result of policies and practices that marginalize entire groups of people and make them particularly vulnerable to being trafficked. Natural disasters, conflict and political turmoil weaken already tenuous social protection measures.
Human Trafficking is a human rights issue and needs to be addressed this way, so that all victims are created and treated equal. To do this we need to put in place a basic law in the international Human Rights act which prohibit “trafficking in persons.” Putting in place this basic law could be the changing point of this global crime. This act will slow down the demand for trafficked victims because people will be more careful when collecting workers for them as it would be illegal for them to employ in the goods and services industries. This demand that will slow down will slow down the need for a supply and because of this, governments will be able to go in and work with the UN to stop these traffickers and gangs from violating people. Even if human trafficking doesn’t slow down for another 10-20 years I believe that this is the best place to start for the elimination of Human Traffickers which could eventually be a possibility. This global crime needs to stop for the wellbeing of the people directly impacted and indirectly impacted (with things such as HIV/AIDS etc) because if nothing is done to stop this crime, then more people will be killed and affected by these people that are just doing it for an income, and we on a global scale, will just be going in a constant circle of demand = supply.