Inessence, human trafficking is perceivable as the process throughwhich persons are maintained or placed in a manipulative position foreconomic gain (UNITED NATIONS, 2014, p. 2). Thus, trafficking cantake place within the borders of a country or may entail movementacross national borders. Persons (men, women, and children), may betrafficked for a myriad of reasons, for instance, forced labor infactories, private homes, or farms sexual exploitation and forcedmarriages. Trafficking is a global phenomenon it affects all regionsof the globe (2014). This paper discusses the health effects of humantrafficking.
Consideringthe above assertion, it was not until the late 1990s that aninternationally accepted definition of what constitutes the"trafficking of persons" was developed (UNITED NATIONS,2014, p. 2). States began separating trafficking from other habitsthat were closely connected to trafficking, for instance, facilitatedirregular migration, in the late 1990s. The first internationallyaccepted definition of trafficking was slotted into the 2000 Protocol"to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons,Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United NationsConvention against Transnational Organized Crime" (UNITEDNATIONS, 2014, p.2). The definition beforehand has been integratedinto a myriad of other policy and legal instruments and national laws(2014). Human trafficking has been associated with health in a numberof ways.
Sextrafficking has, increasingly, been reported to result in mental,physical, and sexual abuse after victims are exposed to the ills oftrafficking (WHO, 2012). A quantitative study that was conducted in2006, in Europe, revealed that women trafficked for sexualexploitations suffered sexual, physical, and mental health symptoms(2012, p. 2). This survey, which incorporated about 200 women, 59% ofwomen contended that they had been exposed to high levels of sexualor physical abuse before trafficking, and 95% claimed that they werephysically, sexually, and mentally abused after being trafficked. Themost common ailments included back pain, sexual disorders such asSTIs, significant weight loss, and fatigue. Europe is not the onlyregion where such findings have been discovered other regions haverevealed similar results. A case in point is the Republic of Moldova,where persistent, prevalent, and comorbid psychological effects werediscovered in females in post-trafficking services the results wererevealed by physician-administered diagnostic interviews conducted inthe region (2012, p. 3). Sex trafficking is not the only type oftrafficking that has been associated with health issues, labortrafficking has also been associated with the same.
Thelink between labor trafficking and health has been highlighted innumerous studies. Victims of trafficking, who are usually moved inmany forms of labor, are vulnerable to various occupational healthrisks, which, in most cases, vary by sector (WHO, 2012, p. 3). Therisks these individuals are usually exposed to include poorsanitation and ventilation, repetitive motion activities, extendedwork hours, inadequate training in the use of high-risk equipment,lack of protective gear, heat/cold extremes, bacterial contaminants,and chemical hazards. As a consequence, exposure to such dangersresults in dehydration, repetitive motor syndromes, exhaustion,stress, heat stroke, frostbite, hypothermia, respiratory disorders,accidental injuries, and skin infections (2012). Closely linked tothe before-mentioned assertion is economic exploitation. Since thevictims of trafficking have little or no say over their earnings orwhat is charged by traffickers for any of the supplies or servicesthey receive, they may suffer from the psychological effects of debtbondage (2012). Health issues have also been proven to extend tochild trafficking.
Similarto labor trafficking, studies have also revealed that childtrafficking is intricately connected to health concerns for thevictims (Rafferty, 2008). To ensure that their victims lose theirphysical and psychological defenses, traffickers use methods such asisolation psychological, physical, and sexual violence deploymentin foreign regions dependence on alcohol and drugs monitoringwork-related activities through the use of weapons and rationingwater and food supply (2008, p. 14). Although comprehensive researchon the impact of trafficking on children is insufficient, numerousreports reveal that the emotional and physical trauma associated withfear and abuse present substantial risks to the psychological,physical, social-emotional, and spiritual development of thesechildren. Case studies have revealed that due to persistent social,sexual, and psychological abuse, victims become emotionally andphysically damaged (2008). Also, children who are trafficked aredeprived of their educational and advancement opportunities.Consequently, they suffer developmental delays, cognitive andlanguage difficulties, deficits in memory and verbal skills, graderetention, and poor academic performance (2008). Debt bondage,although subtly, also affects the wellbeing of the victims involved.
Debtbondage is a relatively subtle type of human trafficking thus, thehealth effects associated with it are also not very easilyrecognizable (SVAW, 2016). Viewed from the context of moving women,debt bondage arises where traffickers coerce women into prostitutionin a bid to force them to pay their ‘debt,` which is usuallyincurred in the process of recruitment, transportation, or evenaccommodation. In cases where women are in a foreign countryillegally and cannot speak the local language, traffickers usuallyuse violence against them, retain their travel documents, or eventhreaten to harm their families if they do not agree to theconditions of the traffickers. To ensure their victims remain undertheir control, traffickers may continue charging women accommodationfees but fail to apply the money earned to the services being used bythe victim (2016). The subtle nature of debt bondage makes itdifficult to notice thus, authorities cannot combat the illsassociated with the vice. Since traffickers use methods suchobligating their victims to repay the debt that has been accrued,manipulation of illegal migration, or threats of violence,trafficking is usually masked since the victims are never forciblyretained or kidnapped (2004).
Inconclusion, human trafficking can be perceived as the process throughwhich persons are placed or maintained in a particular position foreconomic gain. Trafficking, as opposed to popular perception, canoccur both within the boundaries of a nation or across the borders ofvarious nations. Also, trafficking affects all people, children, men,and women. Therefore, its impact is global. However, in spite of itswide-reaching impacts, trafficking of humans only gained recognitioninternationally, as a crime, recently. It was not until the late1990s that nations began developing legislations to regulate itseffects. The before-mentioned considered, human trafficking andhealth have a very close connection. All forms of trafficking,according to numerous studies, have revealed the health effects ofthe persons affected by human trafficking. These effects range frompsychological, physical, mental, and even developmental in theyounger victims. Thus, to eliminate the burden of this vice, nationsshould come together and fight to ensure all persons live in a mannerthat is humane and just.
Rafferty,Y. (2008). The Impact of Trafficking on Children: Psychological andSocial Policy Perspectives. Child Dev Perspectives, 2(1), 13-18.http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1750-8606.2008.00035.x
Thisjournal article delves into the circumstances that children areexposed to during trafficking. It discusses the psychological,social, and physical health impacts of trafficking on children. Italso discusses how traffickers corrupt the psychological and physicaldefense mechanisms in children. The reader gains a comprehensiveunderstanding of the negative impacts of trafficking on children.
SVAW,.(2016). Debt Bondage and Trafficking in Women. Stop Violence AgainstWomen. Retrieved 25 May 2016, fromhttp://www.stopvaw.org/debt_bondage_and_trafficking_in_women
Thisarticle offers in-depth insights into dent bondage. Debt bondage is arelatively subtle form of human trafficking. Thus, understanding itshealth impacts can be somewhat perplexing. A clear juxtaposition ofthe meaning of dent bondage vis-a-vis its impacts is offered in thisarticle, helping the reader gain insights into the perils oftrafficking.
UNITEDNATIONS,. (2014). Human Rights and , 2. Retrievedfrom http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS36_en.pdf
Thisjournal article offers an in-depth analysis of human trafficking. Itoffers a general definition of human trafficking, and then proceedsto offer a definition that is accepted in the international space.The article also discusses why human trafficking violates humanrights.
WHO,.(2012). Understanding and addressing violence against women: HumanTrafficking, 1-8. Retrieved fromhttp://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/77394/1/WHO_RHR_12.42_eng.pdf
Thisarticle provides an overview of why human trafficking is a globalphenomenon, and why it has gathered significant attention in the pastyears. It also reveals the health effects of human trafficking onwomen and how trafficking affects the various sectors of the economy.Finally, the paper reveals how human trafficking can be approached,with the intention of curbing its negative effects.