Human Trafficking: A Human Disgrace

Jones and colleagues (2007) state that “human trafficking is both a global problem and a domestic problem” (p. 108-109). What do they mean by this? Whose responsibility do you think it is to combat human trafficking? What are some important steps that can be taken to combat this issue?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defined human trafficking as the quickest growing industry in the world (2004) or identified by another name as modern slavery (Jones, Engstorm, Hilliard and Diaz, 2007). Trafficking with persons involves not only the transport or smuggling of a human being but also the harboring of them in the host country (US DOJ, 2006,pp.9-10). This above statement explains in a simple way why human trafficking is both a global and a domestic problem. When a person is trapped in a human trafficking web, by either false promise, threats to their families or themselves, oppression by their local governments or criminal groups or pure economic desperation, she or he becomes a victim who accedes to travel outside his homeland (Human Rights Center, 2004). Once the victim has left their home country, they become a global issue involving the many countries they may have to travel through to get to their next host country. Once the victims arrive at their destination, local governments have to deal with the situation making it so, a domestic problem.

Illustration for human trafficking
Prevention is the key to fighting trafficking

Human trafficking is not only an internal issue because of the victims that arrive daily in the U.S. i.e. but also because the countless of minors and women who fall victim to these trafficking webs. They are removed from families and forbidden the closeness with friends, so, the victimizer can better manipulate and control the victims into the labor they seem fit. Globally, human trafficking comprises many different jobs such as prostitution, child labor, sweatshop labor, etc. (Jones et al., 2007). Humans are harbored in brothels, factories and other service industries where it is hard for authorities to recognize the victims. Now, when talking about who should be responsible for combating this slavery, it’s easy to assume the responsibility to the government. But, the government is divided into different branches making it hard to find a single entity to take responsibility for the victims and to prosecute their oppressors (Jones et al., 2007).

The United States government should implement a more constant and strict practice when persecuting these criminals, while asking to the governments of the home countries from which the victims come from, to achieve prevention and enforcing the laws against this illegal practice. Prevention is the key to fighting trafficking. Educating citizens locally and internationally will diminish dramatically the incidence of victims falling for the trafficker’s charade. Vulnerable countries shall implement advertising campaigns, school programs and other forms of public communication to generate discussion about the risks of being condescending with it and expose the gimmicks traffickers employ to enroll people in their webs (Lloyd, 2012).

image_ciclljsymposium2015
Educating citizens will diminish dramatically the incidence of victims falling for this crime.

Research by Farrell and Pfeffer (2014), show findings on how vulnerable are those countries. They reveal that the poverty, low levels of education, government oppression and high levels of violence are the perfect mix. Thus, making it paradises to traffickers to expand their nets into these “rich in victims” lands. In Brazil, for example, is well known how government officials get bribed to look the other way while the traffickers implement their recruitment and exploitation (Studnicka, 2010). In the land of the samba, dealers do not need to take the minor victims outside the country because they are exploited into prostitution, as seen in the World Cup 2015 and the Olympics 2016 when thousands of foreign prospectors traveled to find a taste of the Brazilian pleasures.

As discussed by Hemani (2012), there are twenty-seven million slaves sold in the world, and surprisingly this estimate overcame the number of slaves that were traded for four centuries from Africa in the past. This situation has gotten out of hand due to the secrecy of the nets selling and buying humans. As shown by the author in a six-part series produced by the BBC, he displayed several examples of human trafficking, globally and domestically. It is shocking to see through a hidden camera a man selling his cousin of 10 years old in Africa, or even worst, another child kidnapped and raped by a tourist. In the series, heartbreaking scenes of children forced to labor in India for a single dollar every Sunday can be seen and even the story of a Kenyan woman who broke her hands trying to save her life when her owner pushed her off a balcony because she was a service slave and refused to become a prostitute.

rosi-orozco
“Unless we punish at every point in the chain of criminality, including the client. Until the demand ceases, there will be no end to this slavery.” — Rosi Orozco

It was surprising in the talk to listen to the interview to Mexico’s Congresswoman Rosi Orozco, head of Commission United Against Human Trafficking of Mexico City who rang the bell (Hemani, 2012). She stated the surprising number of convicted traffickers. Only one dealer has been sentenced in Mexico. Only one man has paid for this injustice. But, how can this be fought if the person the victims trust the most is the one who is selling them (Hemani, 2012). Now, thinking domestically, people do not believe these serious issues happen in the U.S., contrary to that opinion is the alarming number of a quarter of million girls who are trafficked within continental U.S.

How can we help to diminish this figure in the USA, when it is so hard to spot a victim? To help to lower the number of victims, it is necessary to make a similar approach as the one advised to vulnerable countries. The U.S. must educate victims not to fall into these trafficking nets. Since teenagers are the primary targets due to their emotional reactions to problems at home, they usually run away to find shelter in a boyfriend or any other person that offers comfort (Lloyd, 2012). But, sadly that people work to have teens involved in prostitution. Also, the government should invest in education about trafficking in schools and television, radio, and social media. And as said by the author Lloyd (2012), we shall not ignore this matter because middle-class white girls are not the victims, but African Americans and undocumented girls fall for this trade. They need to create awareness of the issue and prevent that more victims fall into this modern day shame.

 

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