The abusive and wasteful process of slavery is one of the most destructive and atrocious forms of detrimental human behavior. However, innovative technological and transportation advancements have enabled human trafficking to develop as a form of modern slavery. The human trafficking industry deprives victims of basic human freedoms, forcefully requires victims to perform undesirable actions without compensation, and prevents the victims from being able to participate or contribute to the legitimate endeavors of the given society. The United States must take action to prevent human trafficking because trafficking incidents are rapidly increasing and the crimes significantly damage the progress of society and our species.
Human trafficking refers to the act in which an offender recruits, harbors or transfers innocent human beings as objectified commodities by using force, coercion or deception (Human Trafficking, n.d.). The primary purpose of trafficking humans is to exploit the victims and require people to perform certain tasks under the obligations of owners who are granted control of the victims and who dictate the actions of the victims without providing compensation. However, many law enforcement experts organize and classify victims into three categorical types of human trafficking. Forced labor trafficking involves the offenders using force or coercion as a means of requiring their victims to perform arduous jobs, difficult tasks and undesirable duties (Human Trafficking, n.d.). Similar to slavery, victims are required to perform various tasks according to the demands of the owners and are not permitted to receive any payment for the work. For instance, reports indicate that many human trafficking victims that are bought and sold in the forced labor industry must work for the offenders in restaurants, clubs, factories, farms, sweat shops, organized crime facilities, or at the households of the offenders.
Sexual exploitation is the most common purpose of human trafficking organizations. The crimes of sex trafficking apply to offenders who use force or coercion to require their victims to engage in sexual activities with the owners, perform sexual acts with diverse people, or consistently serve as prostitutes for an organization. As a result, sex trafficking victims are typically found in many different venues of the sex industry, including online escort services, street prostitution rings and residential brothels (Myles, n.d.). Sexual exploitation is especially destructive because the offenders deprive their victims from enjoying basic human rights, degrade the victims of all human dignity, and make the victims susceptible to obtaining a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases.
However, another common form of sexual exploitation is the human trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Offenders in the child sex trafficking trade transfer children under the age of 18 to owners who then require the kids to fulfill sexual acts with them, friends or customers (Myles, n.d.). The vulnerable and innocent nature of children renders the child sex trade industry an astonishingly deplorable criminal industry, as the offenders exploit the easily manipulated minds of the children, rob them of their innocence, and expose the children to devastatingly traumatic experiences that can significantly impair the psychological and social health of the children for the rest of their lives. As a result, US law establishes that children who are immersed in the commercial child sex industry are considered as human trafficking victims, regardless of whether or not force or coercion was utilized by the offenders to obtain the services (Myles, n.d.). Thus, human trafficking organizations often buy and sell victims for the purposes of requiring them to act as servants in the forced labor, sexual exploitation or child sex industries.
Many research studies conducted by US and foreign governmental agencies indicate that the human trafficking criminal industry is a prevalent and dangerous problem around the world. A difficult challenge in accumulating human trafficking statistics is that many victims are reluctant to discuss their situations because of the pain associated with the experience or because of the illegal and undocumented status of their citizenship. However, reports indicate that over 2.4 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking at any given time, 80 percent of those victims are exploited as sexual slaves, and the remaining 20 percent are typically trafficked to perform forced labor (Jones, 2012). Additionally, about 66 percent of the trafficking victims are women, only one in every 100 victims is rescued, and human trafficking networks earn approximately $3.2 billion each year (Jones, 2012). Thus, many different countries around the world are experiencing the struggles of eliminating human trafficking.
The United States must take action because the issue of human trafficking is also rising steadily in the US. The victims of human trafficking in the United States can be either US citizens or foreigners who pay organizations to illegally enter the US but are then sold to the dangerous confines of a trafficking ring. According to the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between the years 2008 and 2010 law enforcement agencies investigated 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking in the US, which yielded 144 arrests (Banks and Kyckelhahn, 2011). However, because the consistently underreported trafficking crimes can be hard to detect, extensive reports estimate that there are several hundred thousand human trafficking victims in the US, 100,000 of those victims consist of children in the child sex trade, and incidents of human trafficking in the US have been dramatically increasing over the past decade (Myles). Additionally, reports also indicate that about 41 percent of sex trafficking victims and 20 percent of labor trafficking victims are US citizens.
US and foreign governmental agencies have recognized the growing problem of human trafficking and have enhanced efforts to alleviate the problem over the last decade. In the year 2000, the US officially established the illegality of human trafficking with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which prohibits people from harboring, transferring or using humans for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. Many United States law enforcement agencies have also received funding from the government that enables the agencies to actively investigate the issue of human trafficking within the confines of their state laws, pursue telephone and Internet leads, locate and apprehend offenders, and rescue victims from bondage (Winkowski, n.d.). Additionally, most other modernized countries have also perpetuated laws to prohibit human trafficking, for the hidden concealment of the organizations and the international nature of the problem necessitates that different countries and law enforcement agencies must collaborate together to identify and capture trafficking offenders.
Because human trafficking has been increasing in frequency and intensifying in cruelty, government agencies must exert tremendous effort to prevent the development of human trafficking organizations and to apprehend offenders who perpetuate the criminal industry. As the modern form of slavery, human trafficking deprives innocent people of their human rights by forcing them into bondage and wastes valuable resources by preventing people from participating in their given society. However, working to eliminate human trafficking crimes can help adorn the atmosphere of safety that should permeate through every society, solidify the basic rights of physical freedom that every human being should possess, and increase the number of people who can contribute to the legitimate intellectual and professional endeavors of society.
Banks, D., & Kyckelhahn, T. (2011, April 28). Characteristics Of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=2372
Human Trafficking. (n.d.). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html?ref=menuside#What_is_Human_Trafficking
Jones, B. (2012, April 4). U.N.: 2.4 million human trafficking victims. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-04-03/human-trafficking-sex-UN/53982026/1
Myles, B. (n.d.). Human Trafficking. Polaris Project: National Human Trafficking Resource Center . Retrieved from http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/the-nhtrc/overview
Winkowski, T. (n.d.). Human Trafficking. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. Retrieved from http://www.ice.gov/human-trafficking/
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