Human Trafficking: A Transnational Problem

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Human Trafficking: A Transnational Problem
Human trafficking is the world’s oldest form of slavery. Since biblical times, men, women and children have been sold across borders into slavery. Human trafficking today is a growing business. Human rights groups estimate that the number of modern slaves exceeds that of the Atlantic slave trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (ProQuest Staff). In the modern world, globalization has made it easier to mobilize these victimized individuals. Human trafficking is a recognized problem worldwide that is brought on for various reasons and the methods to end trafficking have, thus far, fallen short.

First, it is important to understand precisely what human trafficking is. According to Diaz, human trafficking is as follows: “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of 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 prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs (UN, 2000, art. 3).” While it seems unlikely that here in the 21st century slavery still exists, it is a growing concern. In fact, it has grown to “epidemic” proportions as the forces of globalization have made human trafficking a highly profitable and virtually risk-free enterprise (Kara). While exact statistics are elusive due to human trafficking’s clandestine nature, the U.N. reported that 2.4 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking (ProQuest Staff). Internationally, about 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked each year. In the US alone, 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked annually. Of all trafficked, half are children and approximately seventy-five percent are women. And of all females trafficked, seventy percent are trafficked for sexual purposes (Hodge). In the United States, victims were identified from more than 40 different countries of origin spanning the globe (Hodge). Whether for commercial sex, construction, domestic work, carpet weaving, agriculture, tea and coffee, shrimp, fish, minerals, dimensional stones, gems, or numerous other industries investigated, human trafficking touches almost every sector of the globalized economy in a way it never has before (Kara). Moreover, just behind the drug and arms trade, human trafficking is estimated to be the second highest source of revenue for criminals(Hodge). Of all forms of slavery, sex slavery is one of the most exploitative and lucrative with some 200,000 sex slaves worldwide bringing their slaveholders an annual profit of $10.5 billion (Leuchtag).

"Trafficking in persons" is primarily understood as the movement of persons across international boundaries for a variety of forms of exploitation. The crime of trafficking, of course, is not essentially about the movement of the person but about the exploitation. Trafficking is the denial of freedom (Goodson). Regardless of the trafficker/trafficking industry, they each share three common practices: Acquisition of persons, movement of said persons and the exploitation of said persons (Kara). Acquisition is completed in a variety of ways, but the common thread between them is deceit. The first method for enticing potential victims is through false-front agencies. These consist of elaborate organizations that promise work and help to those who seek it (Hodge). However, they do not intend on giving these services. Instead, they trap these women and children into a binding contract. Usually something along the lines of “you live here, you do as I say.” This is to say that they are promised jobs like an au pair or secretary, but...
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