The Underworld of Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking is the transportation, harboring or receipt of people for the purposes of slavery, forced labor, and prostitution. Most victims unknowingly enter the market after being lured by promises of work and opportunities by individuals and organizations. Others are children that are literally sold into slavery by parents as a means to pay a debt or to reduce the number of children they must feed. Some estimate that there are 27 million in slavery worldwide; that approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders. This does not include the millions trafficked within their own country. Child trafficking is said to be on the increase. It cites trafficking in persons as the second most lucrative crime around the world next to the drug trade and that 30% of trafficking victims are below the age of 18. Trafficking is estimated to be one of the biggest crime issues in the world and is steadily getting out of control.

Human trafficking occurs all over the world, especially in the United States. Human trafficking occurs in urban, suburban, and rural areas in every state. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking occurs more frequently in New York State than in any other state, after California, Florida, and Texas. Human trafficking affects men, women, children, and people of all races and ethnicities. Human trafficking victims are from nearly every country in the world. The majority of victims are from impoverished regions with little economic opportunity, political corruption and pronounced social inequality. High demand for victims and low prosecution of traffickers allows human trafficking to persist. Most victims are from poor countries and Asia and Eastern Europe are two primary source points. Victims are usually trafficked from these regions into more developed countries, mainly the USA, Western Europe, and Japan. Internal trafficking within these countries, particularly the USA, also occurs. The usual targets are teenage runaways and young people from poorer sections of society who get mixed up with criminals. People from affluent backgrounds rarely become victims of human trafficking. Victims are usually lured with the promise of jobs in more developed countries, only to be forced into harsh conditions when they arrive. The most victims work in sex trade (usually as forced prostitutes) and domestic/manual labor. Contrary to popular belief, although the threat of violence is common, victims are rarely physically abducted or kidnapped. When they do arrive in their target country, they are usually controlled by threats, occasional physical coercion, and their lack of education and unfamiliar surroundings. Most victims do not fully know their legal rights and do not fully understand their immigration situation. Many think that they are legally at fault and will be prosecuted if they contact authorities, and for that reason they are cautious to get police assistance. A lot are also from countries where police forces are less reliable than in the west, and as a deduction they are less willing to contact them. Many victims even have access to a phone but are too frightened to call for help. Australian police have previously observed that even when victims are rescued, many are initially unwilling to cooperate with police until they have been reassured that they will be protected. The psychological consequences of being a victim of human trafficking are closely associated with the consequences of being a victim of child sexual abuse, or domestic violence. There are fairly predictable things that happen in a women or youth’s mind in an effort to adapt to these extreme and horrid situations. Each situation gives a person “a history of subjection to totalitarian control over a prolong period (month and years)” as described by Judith Herman. It is important to note the connection exists between physical consequences and emotional reactions. While anxiety, for example, can clearly...
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