In this 2006 article published in Feminist Review, the author criticizes the classic viewpoint which maintains that human trafficking is a problem which only involves two parties- the sex slaves themselves and organized crime individuals who readily exploit the slaves for the purposes of illicit profits. The criticism of this assertion is upheld by the author from the vantage point that in trying to represent a complex issue as a simple case of crime and victim, pivotal contributors to human trafficking such as illegal immigration, prostitution and the like are essentially ignored.
Additionally, as a result of this wholesale discounting of what appear to be legitimate factors in trafficking of human beings, the legal system and accompanying public service organizations have in effect turned their back on the victims of trafficking in many cases. Because of this disregard for legitimate crime victims, the impact of human trafficking continues to increase with time. Reviewing this article brought out several pivotal facets of the topic of human trafficking which are worthy of additional exploration.
Early in the article, the point is made that at the heart of the phenomenon of human trafficking is the fact that individuals are enslaved for the purposes of a lucrative, illegal sex trade, not only in the United Kingdom, but elsewhere as well. However, there is a grey area in terms of what constitutes slavery, and thus, what makes trafficking illegal in and of itself. Davidson points out that in the broadest definition of slavery, housewives, employees, professional athletes and other groups of people can be considered to be slaves, although those who are controlling them in most cases are not breaking the law.
Conversely, if this argument holds up, it can be asserted that traffickers are not criminals, at least from the standpoint of the control of other people; rather, they are overbearing supervisors, rather than criminal captors. In response to this apparent dichotomy, the author quite ably makes the point that the classic view of slavery differs from the new view of slavery and as such, human traffickers cannot be pardoned simply on the weak case that sex slave drivers can be likened to the operator of a low-paying, manual labor workshop.
Lastly, the definition of trafficking is brought into the evaluation by the author by making the distinction that not all prostitution is slavery, and therefore, not all trafficking is illegal, at least from the standpoint of the intent of the trafficking itself. In legalizing prostitution, the author maintains, more people can be protected, as the illicit activity essentially emerges from the shadows and can be monitored by the proper authorities.
In conclusion, the point made quite well by Julia O’Connell Davidson is that the state can in fact take a larger role in protecting women from forced sex work by focusing not on loopholes in laws and redefining words and their meanings, but rather by treating human trafficking like the crime that it is, and in some cases, legalizing and regulating adult services in order to be able to make sure that the workers in those services are in fact protected from abuse and harm like any other workers in any other occupation.
In other words, by treating victims as victims and crimes as crimes, and separating the illegal from the simply immoral, it is possible to advance the causes of human rights and crime prevention simultaneously. Trafficking for the Purposes of Labour Exploitation: A Literature Review by Samantha Dowling, Karen Moreton and Leila Wright
Through the review of a wide variety of sources, the authors of this article make the point that the trafficking of adults into the UK for the purposes of labour exploitation is a somewhat murky subject to explore, as there is a lack of solid data on the number of adults as well as children being brought to the UK as a final destination, which is also compounded by the fact that the centrality of the UK makes it a popular hub through which exploited individuals are passed on the way to other final destinations.
Also, as the article maintains, there is also a marked lack of social services in place to help victims of trafficking. The overall lack of data on the topic of trafficking in the UK, as the authors continue, is due in large part to the fact that law enforcement, research, and governmental focus in the past emphasized prostitution and all but ignored other trafficking elements such as forced industrial labour, etc. In fairness to the UK government, by 2007, efforts were being made for the UK to become more involved in a wider, international program of understanding and prevention of all types of trafficking.
As an important part of this heightened awareness and enforcement, the UK broadened its definition of trafficking as well as what constitutes trafficking in and of itself. Through this widening, it became possible for authorities to realize that there were far more criminals and victims involved in illegal human trafficking, and as such, there were far more possibilities available to fight human trafficking and protect its many victims.
In other words, opening the eyes of authorities to the existence of more crime and victims made it possible for society as a whole to be enriched. Generally speaking, this article is well constructed, factually based, and hard hitting in its final conclusions. By solidly making the argument that for all of the knowledge, prevention and awareness of illegal human trafficking there is still a great deal to be learned and done, this piece serves not as a final word in the topic of human trafficking, but in fact, only the equivalent of the first word.
By raising awareness of the epidemic-like characteristics of human trafficking in the UK and the tragedy of the victims of this all-encompassing crime, it has been possible for efforts to be made to reduce the crime rate in the UK and add value to the lives of victims by protecting them and saving them from the tragedies that have befallen them. Lastly, in additional endorsement of this article, it is research like this which in essence feeds upon itself; in other words, as more knowledge is gained, it is possible not only for the law enforcement community to better serve the public, but the social service agencies as well.
In other words, when it is discovered that a certain legitimate industry or business, or even an illicit/illegal industry or business has been revealed to be exploiting workers either totally illegally or through violations which are not yet illegal because laws do not exist to outlaw them, the gaps are able to be filled through proper legislation and thorough public policy, all to the betterment of the UK itself. Without an increased awareness of the plight of individuals as well as the abuse of laws that are in place, society will surely degrade into chaos.
Therefore, literature such as this serves an essential role in the protection of people and property. Pathologies of Security Governance by Cornelius Friesendorf Developing an Effective Criminal Justice Response to Human Trafficking by Anne Gallagher and Paul Holmes The Introduction of Quality Labels in the Prostitution Sector as a Means to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings by Conny Rijken and Linda van Krimpen These three articles, when evaluated in combination, truly clarify the issue of human trafficking, not only in the United Kingdom, but across all of Europe as well.
First, Friesendorf emphasizes that human trafficking is of key importance throughout all of Europe because of its explosion in occurrence and popularity since the 1990s, expanding from the traditional version which exploited adult females for sexual purposes to include not only female children for the same purposes, but also for adult and child males as sex slaves, but also for the purposes of drug trafficking, forced labor of all types, etc.
Friesendorf expands on the crime of trafficking in his article by making the point that in many cases, human trafficking is used as a means of financing the trade of other illicit commodities such as illegal drugs, stolen merchandise, undocumented diamonds and much more. Conversely, illegal commodities can also be used as a way of financing human traffic rings, creating the equivalent of a vicious circle of crime which holds the awesomely tragic potential to destroy millions of lives in record time.
The Anti-Trafficking Security Governance System also plays a key role in Friesendorf’s article, as the author makes the point that the realization that such widespread crime exists and is growing has led to an international effort to detect instances of illegal trafficking of all sorts, bring suspects to justice, and to prevent it from happening in the future. While these efforts have not been totally effective, the point was well made in the article that by its very existence, the ATSGS serves a major public interest.
It is through the prosecution of international traffickers, the author argues, that the entire world can in fact be improved. Gallagher and Holmes, in Developing an Effective Criminal Justice Response to Human Trafficking, likewise acknowledge the epidemic-like nature of human trafficking around the world, yet for all of the law enforcement efforts to both prevent trafficking and bring suspects to justice, no one program has been found to be totally effective, nor can any one nation lay claim to having found the secret to nipping human trafficking in the bud.
One of the key reasons for this, according to Gallagher and Holmes, is the lack of any one definition of trafficking which makes the distinction between what is illegal in trafficking and what is merely unsavory results in trafficking being deemed to be illegal or not simply based on where the trafficking is occurring in the world, thereby giving traffickers the option to choose the location of their operations based on where they can do so without the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads.
Gallagher and Holmes conclude their article by making the point that a cohesive, unified front against human trafficking, not only throughout Europe but worldwide, will require the establishment of international standards for legality and illegality, laws that are not limited by borders but can in fact cross borders to bring the guilty to justice, and a worldwide understanding that no matter where a trafficker goes, they can run but essentially cannot hide.
Then, and only then, will human trafficking be universally outlawed as it should be. A decidedly more open-minded approach is taken by Conny Rijken and Linda van Krimpen in their article, The Introduction of Quality Labels in the Prostitution Sector as a Means to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings.
This article puts forth the proposition that due to the fact that a large portion of human trafficking takes place for the purposes of prostitution, by legalizing and regulating prostitution throughout Europe, as is common in parts of the Netherlands, a great deal of criminal offenses will be eliminated and many victims will in essence be saved from exploitation at the hands of others because they will be voluntarily working in a business that is regulated by authorities, rather than being conducted in the shadows by criminal, often violent individuals.
Additionally, the authors continue, the licensing of such businesses will create revenue for governments, and also generate a massive additional form of taxable revenue. Through the review of these three articles, it is possible to draw some parallels between all of them. First, as few outside of the field of professional study of human trafficking would likewise agree, the crime of human trafficking is unacceptable from a wide range of vantage points, and is growing to the point where it jeopardizes the well-being of millions of people in all parts of the world.
Second, it will only be possible to fight human trafficking as the crime that it is when the nations of the world continue the efforts to establish universal definitions for the crime of human trafficking, coordinate enforcement/prevention efforts, and send out a clear message that human rights violations such as these will never be allowed to proliferate, regardless of the social, economic, or political status of any nation and/or its citizens.
Also, illegal immigrants will not be allowed to be exploited under any circumstances, regardless of the fact that they themselves may have likewise broken other laws. In this instance, as the old adage goes, two wrongs do not in themselves make a right.
Courtney from Study Moose
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