Human trafficking is the fastest increasing criminal industry in today’s world, coming in second after illegal drug-trade. This type of slavery has been traced back to the ancient Mesopotamian and Mediterranean civilization and has continued to grow. What is human trafficking? Commonly referred to as “modern-day slavery” is the illegal trade of human beings for forced labor or for exploitation. Exploitation referring to the using others for prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, or the removal of organs. Woman and young children living in poverty are the ones who usually fall in the trap of the traffickers.
Due to poverty many women are not educated and are not employed leaving them with no choice but to sell their bodies to provide for their families. An approximate of 17,500 foreigners are trafficked each year in the United States alone, the number of United States citizens trafficked within the United States are even higher. Human trafficking is a near-guaranteed death due HIV and AIDS women are infected with. Governments around the world are just beginning to address this problem and have realized just how strong this type of slavery has become.
Poverty is the leading cause in human trafficking. It has been documented that poverty leads to a lack of education leading to no employment and that leading to sex trafficking by fighting poverty many believe that there will be an end to sex trafficking too. Women living in poverty countries will not be looking into sex driven businesses for employment. “Trafficking is inextricably linked to poverty. Wherever privation and economic hardship prevail, there will be those destitute and desperate enough to enter into the fraudulent employment schemes that are the most common intake systems in the world of trafficking.” (The United States Agency for International Development) In Kenya, It has been reported that parents have sent their daughters into town for prostitution because they were desperate for money to feed their families. More then 1,500 girls under the age of 18 and as young as 12 in Kenya have been reported to be working prostitution in bars.
It is acknowledged that woman and girls who are trafficked to commercial sex are the ones who will most likely be infected with HIV/AIDS. The threat of the disease among the prostituted woman has not made sex trafficking and prostitution less likely to occur, but has increased the numbers of younger girls being traded. Clients sense that these younger girls are “virgins” and are uninfected by the virus, making them more popular. BBC News reported South America and India are leading with the highest numbers of infected people with HIV/AIDS in the world.
South Africa being the first, having 5.1 million living with the disease and India being second by having a rapid increase in numbers of infected woman due to sex trafficking. BBC News reported: “In big red light districts, such as Sonagachi in Calcutta, where at least 10,000 prostitutes make a living, some men continue to insist on sex without condoms.”, “The trafficked girls are forced to oblige. Many come from rural villages and do not know what Aids is before they are sold to pimps.”, “And as they are moved around the country they can unwittingly spread the disease.”
The United States government is committed to fight against human trafficking at home and abroad. The Trafficking victims Protection Act was signed in the year 2000. Stated on humantrafficking.org this Act: “enhances pre-existing criminal penalties, affords new protections to trafficking victims and makes available certain benefits and serves to victims of severe forms of trafficking. It also establishes a Cabinet-level federal interagency task force and establishes a federal program to provide services to trafficking victims.” The U.S is also helping countries abroad by providing many anti-trafficking and development programs. Millions of dollars were provided to organizations all over the world to provide programs so human trafficking can be fought. The programs contribute on informing people the dangers of trafficking and strengthening the numbers of non-government organizations.
Also stated on www.humantrafficking.org that: “The U.S. has assisted countries to enact anti-trafficking legislation, trained law enforcement officials, prosecutors, border guards and judicial officers on detecting, investigating, and prosecuting traffickers, and protecting victims and provided start-up equipment for new anti-trafficking police units.” The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act came out in 2003, dedicated to provide aid to approximately 20,000 victims that are trafficked into the U.S each year. President Bush had signed into law in early January the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005. The United Stated had started monitoring people who were being trafficked in 1994, and is continuing to do so until human trafficking is prosecuted.
All in all, human trafficking is a serious crime that not many people are informed about. Young woman and children are forced into this sickening business everyday. Woman and children living in poverty do not know the meaning of human trafficking due to the lack of education. The highest percentage with people carrying the HIV/AIDS virus is for woman on this planet, many believing part of the percentage is because of human trafficking. Not many woman and children know the risks they are taking when they have no choice but to sell their bodies. Government all over the world should be providing information on human trafficking because no nation is immune from this crime
Maria, a 15 year old girl, wanted to get a job and sell bread everyday at the street to increase her family’s little income. One day, A 35-year-old woman, Sofia, stopped by to visit Maria had a chat with her. Sofia and Maria became friends, and in 2004 Sofia recommended an offer to Maria. The offer was a promise to pay her a high salary that would permit her and her family fight poverty. Maria decided to take the offer however she did not inform her family that she was travelling. On the same day of the trip, Sofia made Maria drink something that made her feel really dizzy and unconscious. When she woke up, she found that both of them were in a cab arriving at a strange house in the capital. Inside this strange house, the taxi driver raped Maria. Shocked and broken, but feeling extremely defenseless to prevent what was happening, Maria was taken to a restaurant, where she was obliged to work as a waiter for a month .Sofia decided to be Maria’s mother and collected her income, then moved her to a different restaurant in the town. There, Maria was again forced to work as a waiter and soon after that the servitude extended to sex with customers in a backroom.
The cycle kept going on. This is an outrageous example of child labor. Another example of human trafficking is sex trafficking. In the movie Svetlana’s Journey, a young girl was abandoned by her mother. So, a family decided to adopt her when she was thirteen years old. Svetlana was very happy, but did not know that her adoptive family’s only concern was to advertise and sell her into the sex trade. Svetlana was bought for 10,000 euro, trafficked away from her state, and ended up in Amsterdam where she got beaten and raped every day. She was deprived of all her dreams and ambitions as well as she lost her self esteem. She tried her best to escape many times, but never succeeded. After a period of six months of torture and suffering, she decided that there was no other way to free herself other than to commit suicide. She decided to jump from a window of the building she had been locked in; however, she survived the fall and was taken to a hospital.
After that experience, she kept on trying to overcome the harrowing experiences of compulsory prostitution with the help of a non-governmental organization. These examples show that human trafficking is a serious issue that deprives humans, especially women and children, of their basic rights. Those victims of human trafficking are forced to work beyond their capability where their protests are unheard. In accordance with the meaning stated by the United Nations, human trafficking “involves the movement of people through violence, deception or coercion for the purpose of forced labor, servitude or slavery-like practices.” (Johnson, 2009) .Human Trafficking is a crime against human race that is happening worldwide. This crime involves an act of employing, transmitting, porting or receiving someone throughout a use of power and force for the purpose of exploiting them for commercial sex, debt bondage, or forced labor.
Human trafficking is also described as slavery since traffickers utilize cruelty, intimidation, and other types of compulsion to oblige their victims to work against their spirit/strength and will. Every year, human trafficking deprives thousands of kids, teenagers, men and women of their human rights, standard lives, and freedom because they fall into the hands of traffickers, not only in their own countries but abroad too. Human trafficking is a $32 billion business; it is the world’s second biggest illegal trade after the drug trade.
Victims of trafficking are forced to work with false promises of high pay and a superior life. Those victims work for little amount of income or no income and they are threatened with deportation, injury to family members, or imprisonment if they try to escape or report and inform their lives of servitude to law enforcement or other organizations. Because human trafficking is a process that forces people to conduct certain actions against their will, it should be universally prohibited in all its varieties. This paper will focus on those three points:
1- Sex Trafficking
2- Child Labor
3- Children and human trafficking