Close to 800,000 people globally are forcefully moved across their countries’ borders and sold off to be exploited for various purposes. Most of these are teenage boys and girls including small children as young as 7. Human sex trafficking has been recognized as one of the major catastrophes facing mankind and a great threat to the freedoms of millions worldwide. Though immense steps have been taken by the international community, it is yet to be put to rest.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has defined human trafficking as including the forceful transportation and harboring of individuals by use of threat or financial payments with an intention of exploiting such individuals. Exploitation in this sense includes “at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation. ” (Cited in Sheldon, 2007, 107). Human sex trafficking includes the forceful initiation of people into prostitution or sex slavery. Children are forcefully recruited into prostitution or driven into early marriages.
Human sex trafficking is believed to be a multibillion industry although its expansiveness cannot be fully grasped due to the lack of a clear methodology. Though the reigning perception is that it is a trade that mostly affects the developing countries only, this is untrue. According to the existing accounts, almost each and every country has its own elaborate but intricate system of human sex trafficking. Influx, most of the times, is from the poor countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa then to the developed nations such as the United States.
Indeed, according to the U. S. State Department, there are “approximately 14,000 to 17,000 people trafficked into the united states annually. ” (Amy & Stephanie, 2008, 532) In light of these worrisome trends and much pressure from human rights activists, international organizations as well as governments have all stepped up efforts to curb the menace. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has led the path in this war and a number of high flanking countries have joined these efforts.
The United States, due to immense pressure form human rights activists and non-governmental organization, responded swiftly and at the close of the century began pushing other nations to adopt anti- human trafficking laws and policies. The passage of the Victims Protection Act of 2000 led to the establishment of a three tier system that ranks countries in regard to the perceived rates of human trafficking. International organizations such as Office of the Special Representative for Combating the Traffic of Human Beings has been hailed for the major steps it has taken in combating human trafficking in Europe.
Indeed, in addition to the United States, EU has also spearheaded campaigns aimed at eradicating human trafficking both in its territory and overseas. In 2002, for example, EU reached an agreement to harmonize the “policies of the member states in areas such as criminalization, penalties, sanctions, aggravating circumstances, jurisdictions, and extradition. ” (Kimberley, 2007, 46). These nations as well as other international organization have vowed to work together with the source countries to help them establish prudent mechanisms of curbing human trafficking.
Indeed the issue of human sex trafficking continue to plague the world and mechanisms are still being put into place to alleviate the situation. It is a problem that threatens freedoms of millions worldwide be it in the developed countries which are the destination of the victims or the poverty stricken countries where women and children are sourced from. It is hence a problem that requires a multifaceted approach that has to incorporate all the regions if the situation is to be effectively curbed.