Accordingto the United Nations, human trafficking is recruiting, transportingand harboring people against their will by the use of coercion forforced labor, slavery and prostitution. This practice is a form ofslavery in today’s world. Traffickers violate the human rights oftheir victims as they force them to do something against their willfor their personal benefit (Hepburn& Simon, 2013). In sexualtrafficking, the victims end up as street prostitutes and offerescort services. In labor trafficking, the victims end up as workersin factories and farms often to provide cheap labor. Traffickers usedeceit, blackmail, and violence to trap their victims, and theseverity depends on the type of trafficking. It can occur within orbetween two countries. The trade generates billions of dollarsattracting gangs and criminal organizations to take part in theseactivities. It occurs as there is the lack of awareness on humantrafficking in most communities and there are many misconceptionsabout it.
Humantrafficking just like any other business relies on two factors, whichare supply and demand. Children and the youth have increasedvulnerability and exposure to this illegal business. Vulnerability isnot the only factor that fuels human trafficking. Other factorsinclude the demand for cheap labor especially in farms and factoriesand as commercial sex workers. The traffickers use force and fraud,as they want to gain profits from this demand. For the government andother institutions to eliminate this trade, they have to address thefactors that increase demand and ensure elimination of the humantrafficking market.
Itis therefore, clear that human trafficking whether for sex servicesor labor thrives for two reasons. First, there is low risk associatedwith the business, as there are a few or no barriers to it. Theoperations have a low risk of detection by law enforcement officersand the government even with the high penalties and prosecution ofthose caught in the act after a thorough investigation. The lawenforcement personnel have little training on how to conduct aninvestigation of these crimes. Communities also lack awareness on theissue and therefore have no way to curb the problem. They could alsohave no resources to look for the victims including trainedprofessionals and technological equipment to conduct the searches.There are laws on human trafficking that are not efficient and unusedin most countries. The second is the high profits from the businessas there many customers that want commercial sex services andprovision of cheap labor for their businesses. With the availabilityof consumers, there is increased drive for traffickers to increasethe number of children and adults for the trade (Hepburn & Simon,2013).
Humantrafficking in today’s world remains prevalent even with thelegislation and organizations in place to eliminate it. Globalizationis one of the reasons that causes an increase in the rate oftrafficking compared to other points in history. However, slavery inthe past was an accepted way of life as people were laborers in farmsand domestic workers in the home. Today, the victims mostly provideservices in brothels, in the streets as prostitutes and in factoriesto provide labor for industries. It occurs because they aredisposable and cheap. The victims in history were expensive, andpeople took better care of them. Some victims today are as young asthree years old and often have scars from beatings or burns andappear unkempt. There is no consideration of human rights for humantrafficking victims today. The reason is that there is an increase inmoral degradation in today’s society and the greed for money,especially for large enterprises. Most people assume that slaverydoes not exist in today’s world but in reality, it exists in verysevere cases. Practices such as debt bondage are examples that peopleignore as forms of human trafficking. Women and children are victimsof trafficking as they provide cheap unskilled labor, especially inthird world countries. However, there is no confinement of this tradeto third world countries only but extends globally. Globalization hasled to an increase in the need for labor, which is to meet the demandfor cheap goods and services that keep rising.
Thereare various types of human trafficking today. One type is bondedlabor. There is the lack of awareness of its existence because ofmany assumptions about it. It is very common and occurs as a way torepay a debt after acquiring goods and services. The victim providesmore work than the money owed. The second type is forced labor wherepeople work against their will under threats and punishment if theyare unable to complete tasks. They have no freedom or autonomy. Menmostly provide unskilled labor in sweatshops, factories, andindustries. In agriculture, large-scale businesses with farms such ascoffee plantations and gold mines fall prey. These cases occur morethan sexual exploitation according to research done by theinternational labor organization. Another form is child labor wherethose under eighteen years of age work which affects their social,physical and mental development. This form of human trafficking hasdecreased over the years. Children undergo sexual exploitationthrough involvement in pornography, prostitution, early marriage,illegal adoption, begging and recruitment as soldiers during a war.Child traffickers target low-income families who sell children as away to earn a living or paying off debts. They could also give theirchildren off for adoption for a fee especially to wealthy families orto other countries. Orphans and vulnerable children need protection,and each government should work towards coming up with laws andregulations to guard them.
Anexample of vulnerable children is those with albinism, which is agenetic disorder where the skin lacks melanin. The society alienatesthese kids and other people capture them and sell them to witchdoctors, as they believe that they have supernatural powers. Theirparents and friends even try to sell them to these traditionaldoctors. Another form is sexual trafficking, which is dangerous asthere is high exposure to diseases such as HIV/AIDS and sexuallytransmitted infections. Forced marriage takes place in marriageswhere there is selling, transfer or inheritance of people withouttheir consent. In extreme cases, people engage in organ traffickingwhere traffickers convince them to give up body organs for money, orthey remove the organ without the victim’s knowledge. Homeless,illiterate people and migrants often undergo exposure to this.
Fromthe information on the types of human trafficking, it is evident thatthere are factors that encourage the illegal trade. They includepoverty, illiteracy, globalization and neglect of orphans andvulnerable groups in the society. They create a need that traffickersexploit for their personal benefits regardless of the human rightsand freedoms that they violate. For example in third-world countries,most household heads earn low wages, and they live below the povertyline. They may choose to engage in human trafficking and make fastmoney, and they have no awareness of the harm they cause to thevictims. They hinder successful child development by exposing them tothe harmful conditions in labor and sexual trafficking. The blackmarket also thrives from the long lists in hospitals where patientslook for organ donors. Corruption and lack of advocacy for vulnerablepeople in the society are catalysts that encourage trafficking. Thegirl-child undergoes discrimination, as it is a social norm in mostsocieties. The marginalized people feel inferior and have noeducation or knowledge making them vulnerable to sexual exploitation(Hepburn& Simon, 2013).
Humantrafficking has various effects on the victims includingpsychological trauma, physical violence, and emotional instabilitythat affects their social life. They include loss of innocence forchildren and the youth at a very early age in life. It also leads tohigh financial cost, slavery, emotional scars, increases in gangactivities, judicial burden and degradation of morals and cultures incommunities. In sexual trafficking, victims face threats and physicalviolence from customers, employers, and law enforcement officers. Thesociety alienates them, which leads to exclusion and stigmatization.The victims demonstrate behavioral change and may begin abusing drugsand alcohol. These are both short and long-term effects. They mayalso contract diseases such as stress, depression, HIV/AIDS, andanxiety.
Toend human trafficking, various institutions in the society have towork together. They include individuals, community leaders, lawenforcement officers and lawmakers. They should enforce existing lawsagainst human trafficking, amend and come up with new and betterlaws. They should also assist survivors and victims’ by providingthem with counseling for them to cope with life. Creation ofawareness on the issue and human rights is also important.Governments should also eliminate the situations that lead to humantrafficking.
Hepburn,S., & Simon, R. J. (2013). Human trafficking around the world:Hidden in plain sight.