Human Trafficking Essay
Define what constitutes human trafficking and what constitutes human smuggling by providing examples found in your course material. Sate why it is difficult to differentiate the two by discussing the Ng Case and by providing the facts of the case as well as the decision. Why is the case instrumental in the proceedings of human trafficking? How has modern technology influence influenced human trafficking and human smuggling?
There is often confusion between the terms human trafficking and human smuggling as they both involve the transportation of people from one place to another. Also, both are considered serious offences and are punishable by Canadian law. These people who are being transported from one place to another also share something in common, and that is there structural ailments, social, economic and political issues which can make them more likely to want to move from their homeland. Some people come from countries under dictatorship and subscription, are or poverty stricken, and others are taken against there will.
A commonality among all these people, is that they are either promised or expecting a better life. However, there are two key differences between trafficking and smuggling. First, trafficking involves exploitation of people being moved, whereas smuggling does not. Secondly, trafficking does not necessarily involve movement to a new country, as it can be domestic or international. Smuggling on the other hand, does involve movement to a new country.
(Danis L5,S2) To further demonstrate this distinction, I will provide an example of each. In human trafficking, a 17 year old girl from china is recruited by a supposed model agency to become a dancer in America. Fair pay is promised, as well as her flights and travel documents being looked after. Upon arrival, everything she owns has been taken away from her. She is forced into a debt bondage where she is driven into position against her will.
She is physically and emotional abused by her employer. She is completely cut off from her family, works longs hours with barley any pay and is told what she can and can’t do (Danis L5,S7). In human smuggling, a known white-collar criminal is tipped off that he is going to be charged with several felonies. He knows that he will be prosecuted and face the death penalty if found guilty. So, he contacts a smuggler and pays him or her a large fee to get himself out of the country, where upon his arrival is free to do as he pleases and is under no restrictions. (Danis L5,S2)
In the case of Michael Ng, it was difficult to differentiate between human trafficking and smuggling mainly because of validity of the victim’s statements, as they were deemed “not sufficiently credible.” There was also conflicting evidence in testimonials making it impossible to prove a human trafficking offence had taken place beyond a reasonable doubt. It became apparent that the victims had not been “trafficked” and were not modern day sex slaves, as it is noted they did not have to escape from Michael Ng.
The victims had their own cell phones, keys to where they worked, the leisure to roam freely in the community and keep in regular contact with friends and relatives. It seems as though law enforcement jumped the gun by charging Mr. Ng with human trafficking on the basis of faulty information they had been given. However, Mr. Ng did organize and supply the victims with fake travel documents to get into the country, also for the solicitation of sex and running his illicit operation. Mr. Ng was charged with 22 offences and was found guilty of 5, serving a total of 15 months in jail. (Vancouver Sun)
There are many reasons why this case can be seen as instrumental in the preceding of human trafficking in Canada. Right off the bat, it gave international exposure to the issue creating more awareness of the problem. It was the first time someone had been charged with human trafficking since new laws were placed in 2002, setting somewhat of a president. I believe the justice system will be more careful when charging people with human trafficking, possibly leaving the resources to be used elsewhere. Possibly fighting the issue in another sort of way. If we know it’s a major problem and a direct violation of ones rights why are only people like Mr. Ng getting accused. I think the government has to revise its strategy to fight this problem because it does not seem very efficient.
The RCMP estimates over 2,000 people are being trafficked per year from Canada to the U.S alone. There are presently 36 cases both domestic and internationally before the courts in Canada today, which seems strangely low (Danis L5,S5). Typically, people who are being trafficked are not physically able to come forward, which I believe is the biggest problem which needs to be addressed. In summation, this case is evidence that we need to revisit the legislation regarding human trafficking and or our efforts to counter it.
Technology has made, and will continue to make human trafficking and human smuggling easier. The four major aspects of technologies are newfound efficiencies in enhancing communication, financial transactions, recruitment and advertising.(UN.gift) The Internet has made it much easier for individuals to communicate gain access to different networks, in which they meet people who can or are already involved with trafficking.
The anonymity, affordability, accessibility, and speed of the Internet makes it the perfect tool for human traffickers and smugglers. Financial transactions can also be performed online with ease making it superior to cash in hand exchanges of the past. Advertising has never been easier, with people and legitimate businesses making real advertisements in enabling them to lure in victims or get the word out to prospective customers of their products. Which are either the victims themselves in sex trade, or a product of the victim via slave labor. The innovations in transportation have made it much easier for traffickers or smugglers to move people from point A to point B.
The options are limitless; you could have them flown by plane, shipped by sea, driving by truck etc. The arms race, and war in general has had an indirect influence on human trafficking and smuggling by providing the means of conflict. The technology of weapons being introduced to developing countries has paved the way for an environment subject to humans being trafficked or smuggled, and especially children to be trafficked. (Danis L5,S3). The global availability of high tech tools has made traffickers and smugglers able to forge official documents required upon departure or entry to a country a moderately easy task.
(Vancouver Sun) Article link: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=94d3df47-05b5-4b30-8ad0-a2a8f0e7b9c1
(UNgift) PDF link:
Do you agree or disagree that society should fight organized crime? Why or why not? Consider the impact of organized crime on society the globalization of organized crime, and the types of criminal activities covered in the course so far. Use examples from the course material to support your argument.
Society should fight organized crime, as it has several negative impacts. Additionally, the problems we face are only getting bigger, more complex and harder to stop. We’ve seen the globalization of crime take criminal networks across boarders and beyond with impacts that devastate our communities on a economic scales as well as individually. On top of organized crime, other criminal activities such as human trafficking and white collar crime continue to ruin the lives of many, and will continue to do so until the collective speak out and take action.
With increasing sophisticated transportation, communication and various other technologies, organized crime has evolved and grown across international boarders. It is more important now than ever to stop such organizations as the new age of technology has given criminals the upper hand. Globalization has provided organized crime groups and criminals the means to work together and collaborate. This expansion has also made it harder on police and anti-crime agencies to collect information, not to mention the fact that most are reluctant to share information with one another as they would not want to compromise their own investigations (Danis L1,S3). A lot of crime does not happen within the public eye, and because of this some people adopt common attitudes about crime.
When it comes to organized people take on an attitude that resembles the “modus operandi view”, which is the assumption that criminals are almost all the time killing criminals not harming anyone else. Another common attitude is that most criminal activity is driven by police prejudice and racism (Danis L1, S1). The real truth is that organized crime has real consequences that touch everyone in our society; either in a direct or indirect way. By exploring the economic and human impact of criminal activity it will become clearer as to why it must be fought.
Economic impacts of organized crime and other illegal activities go largely unnoticed by society as a whole, such as money laundering, increased insurance costs, fear intimidation and extortion to name a few.
Money laundering, also known as “the act of concealing or transferring to conceal the source of illegally obtained money,” (Danis, L1 S4) can have serious negative effects on the local economy. For example, in a small port town arrives a new fishing company. It is an instant success because of its ability to offer produce at a lower price relative to it’s competitors. The other companies try lowering their prices in order attract customers back; suddenly they see themselves unprofitable and are forced to close down. Little did they know, the new company is being owned and operated by a known criminal back in the city. He is able to offer such low prices because he’s laundering the money he is making from illegal gambling and prostitution rings through his new fishing company.
Once he’s done cleaning his money, and after he’s driven the competition to bankruptcy, he closes his company down. Now everyone has to drive into the city to get there produce. Territorial wars between rival gangs also pose an economic threat, as property damage is most likely to occur. If criminal activity and property damage continue to occur over a “turf war” then insurance companies will assess a higher risk to these areas. Consequently, higher insurance rates arise for local residents and businesses in the area, not for the gang members who are responsible for the damage that has taken place (Danis L1,S5).
The drug trade market in Canada is estimated to be between 7 and 10 billion annually, accounting for nearly 88% of all organized crimes group activities according to a survey done by the Canadian Centre of Justice in 1998 (Danis L1,S2). This makes the drug trade one of the most lucrative activities of organized crime groups. This effects society because it costs society a lot of money. According to a study titled “costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002” the overall social cost of substance abuse in Canada was estimated to be 39.8 billion (Danis L1,S5). Which in essence is coming out of Canadian citizens tax dollars.
Therefore, the government is continually raising taxes to cover these costs and to maintain our standard of living. Fear, intimidation and extortion are other tools organized crime groups use to amongst each other, and in public to protect their own business interests. For example, say your uncle owns a pizzeria, but because of newly formed gang territory in which his restaurant is located, he’s forced to now pay for protection in order to operate. Soon, combined with his payment to the gangsters, he no longer has enough profit to pay rent and cover his expenses. He is forced with a difficult decision, ether sell his restaurant and look for a new job, move his entire family outside of town where real estate is cheaper, or refuse to pay the gangsters, thus putting himself and his whole family’s life at risk.
Alongside economic impact, we should also consider the horrible social impact crime can have on society. Every evening on the news there are stories of someone getting arrested or beaten up or even killed close to where you work, live, or daily commute route. The chances are quite high that at least some of those events have been criminal acts or associated with organized crime. After hearing about these events you choose to live your life differently, but still without a doubt you believe something that awful you saw on the news could ever happen to you.
The truth of that matter is yes it can happen. You could get a phone call from the police saying your relative has been killed by a stray bullet of a gang related drive by shooting, or somebody close to you was found dead this morning in a park from a apparent experiment with a new street drug. These are extreme examples, but nonetheless circumstances that people have to deal with everyday. Tragedies such as these are a by product of organized crime and criminal activity and can have a life altering impacts. According to the 1998 study done by The Canadian Centre of Justice, “over one half of organized crime groups were believed to exert influence and corruption in the areas of politics, the media, public administration, judicial authority or the economy”. (Danis L1,S2) Crime is everywhere, and if you’re not directly impacted by it, you will be indirectly.