Slavery is malpractice that exposed the inhuman nature of mankind. The malpractice was ridiculed and criticized by many people because it violated the natural freedoms and rights of man. Unfortunately, the end of slavery marked the new beginning of new malpractice that has left millions of people helpless and hopeless (World Health Organization, 2012). This modern malpractice is known as human trafficking.
Warpinski (2013) believes strongly that human trafficking is the worst form of slavery in the 21st century. Human trafficking has emerged as a new industry that denies freedom to over 20 million global citizens. Experts have gone further to indicate that every individual has increased chances of being trafficked. Every victim will lose his or her liberties and be unable to pursue every personal goal. Statistics indicate that over 80 percent of persons trafficked are sexually exploited. The remaining percentage includes individuals who are involved in forced labor. It is therefore undeniable that human trafficking is a major problem affecting every global community.
Defining Human Trafficking
Many analysts and scholars have indicated that human trafficking is the third-largest kind of crime in the world today (Warpinski, 2013). Barner, Okech, and Camp (2014) define “human trafficking” as a form of slavery whereby an individual is captured, sold, and transported to a different location. The victim will be forced to offer commercial sex services, domestic servitude, or forced labor.
The outstanding fact about trafficking is that it involves all people across the globe. Within the law, human trafficking is a crime encompassing “the possession, receipt, transfer, recruitment, transportation, or harboring of persons to receive (or giving) payments to assert control over their rights for the exploitation purposes” (Warpinski, 2013, p. 3). Exploitation focuses on several malpractices such as slavery, forced labor, and sexual exploitation.
The trafficking cycle is characterized by three unique steps. The first one is the act (Barner et al., 2014). This element encompasses illegal recruitment, harboring, receipt, or transportation of persons. The second process is known as the means and details of how the targeted victim is captured. The stage features different practices such as fraud, abuse, abduction, use of force, and provision of payments to the trafficker (Hepburn & Simon, 2010).
The last step or elements outline how the trafficking process is done and its purpose. This stage includes different malpractices such as sexual exploitation, slavery, removal of different body organs, and forced labor. These three processes are usually completed for the human trafficking cycle to be complete.
Using the case of the United States, it is agreeable that specific individuals are usually targeted the most by many human traffickers. The first bracket targeted by the offenders is defined by race. In this country, over 77 percent of individuals who are involved in human trafficking processes or incidents are usually people of color (World Health Organization, 2012). A study by the Bureau of Justice indicated clearly that most of the people of color originated from different regions such as Africa, South Asia, and Central America. The second group affected by the malpractice was the Hispanic population (Warpinski, 2013). However, some of the victims involved in the process indicated that they had no ethnic or racial affiliation.
Minority groups or races in the United States have been targeted the most by human traffickers. This is the reason why analysts have indicated that there is a relationship between racism and human trafficking. Most of the racially discriminated groups in the country, therefore, have increased chances of being trafficked in the country (Barner et al., 2014). People living in poor neighborhoods and communities are usually trafficked across the country and beyond.
A report released by the U.S. State Department in 2016 indicates clearly that women (or females) are targeted the most by traffickers. Over 80 percent of the trafficked individuals are usually girls or young women. This gender is preferred because it can support the global prostitution industry. The affected victims are usually transported to unknown locations and forced to engage in commercial or forced sexual activities (World Health Organization, 2012). This kind of exploitation denies the victims of their fundamental rights.
Another group that is widely affected by trafficking in children aged between 5 and 17 (World Health Organization, 2012). These children are usually trafficked because they have the potential to offer services such as labor for many years. The average age of many teenagers involved in the forced sex trade is between 12 and 14 years. Most of the girls are usually captured by the traffickers after running away from their homes. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has also indicated that girls and women represent the biggest percentage of victims who are forced to offer labor. The percentage of trafficked men stands at around 45 percent (Barner et al., 2014).
Recruitment, Exploitation, and Coercion
Human traffickers have been using ingenious methods to recruit potential victims. The use of such methods has been successful because many victims are usually unsuspecting. The first method is usually “known as loverboy” (Barner et al., 2014, p. 153). Using this approach, the patient offender will take some time to establish the best relationship with the intended victim. The individual will use the best approaches to convince the victim and develop the best trust. More often than not, the targeted victim will usually be a naïve woman. After a long period of courtship, the offender will find it easier to strike. The emergence of social media networks and the internet have exposed more people to this method.
Traffickers have been pretending to offer jobs that can support the needs of more individuals. Individuals can create deceptive advertisements for job opportunities and openings. The targeted people will not be required to have any job experience (Perry & McEwing, 2012). Individuals who show interest will have increased chances of becoming victims. The increasing level of unemployment in different corners of the world continues to expose more people to this method.
Another common method used to get victims is the recruitment for prostitution. Women and girls are usually lured to get lucrative jobs in commercial sex or prostitution. After hiring the girls, they are eventually coerced and transported to a different location (Hodge, 2008). The offender eventually fails to pay them and forces them to work as prostitutes. The fourth common method used is recruiting individuals for video chats (Hodge, 2008). The victims are eventually manipulated and threatened by sending the chats to the victim’s family members. Some individuals might go ahead to kidnap or hijack to get the required victims.
As mentioned earlier, the captured victims will eventually be exploited in several ways. To begin with, the victims will be forced to do unpaid labor in several industries such as food packaging, construction, and agriculture. The victim will be sold by the trafficker to offer free services. Some individuals might be required to offer domestic labor. Studies have indicated that most of the young women and girls in domestic servitude will be sexually abused by their bosses (Perry & McEwing, 2012). This analysis indicates clearly that forced labor is usually provided involuntarily since the victim is threatened by the trafficker.
Sexual exploitation has been closely linked with human trafficking (Hepburn & Simon, 2010). Individuals who have been captured and trafficked to offer free sex will be controlled through the use of deception, violence, and threats. The targeted victims might be forced to engage in commercial sex, produce pornographic videos or materials, and engage in sexual rituals (Hodge, 2008). These exploitation techniques affect the lives of the victims and eventually make it impossible for them to pursue their goals.
Coercion has remained common malpractice within the circles of human trafficking. Studies have indicated that human traffickers use various strategies to force their victims to do whatever they want. For instance, many traffickers have been observed to use intimidation, lies, blackmail, and threats to coerce their victims and force them to engage in commercial sex (Farrell, Pfeffer, & Bright, 2015). The methods are also used to force more children and young people to do forced labor. The purpose of coercion is to instill fear and force the individuals to do something they would not attempt under normal circumstances. The traffickers exhaust a wide range of techniques to create or inflict fear. They inflict “psychological trauma and force them into gratitude for being alive” (Perry & McEwing, 2012, p. 7).
Coercion in sex trafficking can be achieved by threatening to publish elicit videos or photos online (Hepburn & Simon, 2010). Some offenders might threaten to kill the children, parents, or siblings of the victims. Anger, mood swings, lies, and guilt are powerful psychological approaches used by offenders to inflict fear and pain. The use of coercion has therefore been observed to give offenders and traffickers an upper hand over their victims (Hodge, 2008). That being the case, experts have been focusing on the best approaches to understand how coercion is applied in different settings.
Individuals or victims who refuse to offer the intended services will be coerced using different methods. The ultimate goal is to ensure the individuals are forced to engage in commercial sex or forced labor (Deshpande & Nour, 2013). The trafficker might decide to use illegal drugs or alcohol. The use of violence or threats has successful whenever threatening different victims. Relationships of mistrust or trust might be used to exploit the victim and make it easier for her to engage in sexual activities (Cole & Sprang, 2015). These methods of coercion have been used widely by traffickers for many years. Malpractice makes the victim vulnerable and defenseless.
Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
Many people in different parts of the world are affected the most by human trafficking. The malpractice has been targeting young women, children, and men from different racial groups. The individuals are coerced and forced to offer numerous services that are against their will (Cole & Sprang, 2015). Human trafficking is therefore a detestable practice that leaves many victims vulnerable and incapable of leading normal lives. The malpractice has been ranked as one of the processes that take away the liberties and freedoms of many people.
It would therefore be appropriate to implement powerful practices and efforts to tackle this problem of human trafficking. The first approach that can produce positive results should focus on different policy areas. This strategy should be guided by the notion that human trafficking is a complex crime that does not occur independently. This is true because the crime is linked with other offenses such as drug trafficking, money-laundering, and terrorism (Efrat, 2016). The use of a comprehensive mitigation strategy will be able to tackle the problem and support the lives of many vulnerable people.
The implementation of anti-trafficking campaigns will ensure appropriate strategies are put in place. For instance, societies that record increased cases of human trafficking can use educational programs targeting women and girls (Cole & Sprang, 2015). These individuals are usually vulnerable to malpractice and can be empowered using the right education. The individuals will find it easier to protect themselves from every trap. The government can go a step further to increase the salaries available to different officers in the criminal justice system. This approach will encourage the officers to become ethical and avoid bribes.
Individuals in every community have unique roles to play in an attempt to deal with human trafficking. To begin with, people should avoid chatting or establishing new romantic relationships with unknown people. This practice is relevant to minimize the chances of deception. Community programs can be implemented by different individuals. This approach will sensitize more people about the challenges of human trafficking and equip them with the right skills to protect themselves (Efrat, 2016). Business owners and employers can train their employees to be prepared against any form of human trafficking.
New policies should be designed and implemented to protect more people from any form of trafficking or abuse. The global community should come up with a powerful framework to disorient the channels used to transport more victims across the globe (Warpinski, 2013). This move will protect more people from malpractice. Experts should also come up with new initiatives to deal with this problem.
Human trafficking is a heinous form of crime that leaves many people hopeless and incapable of realizing their potential. This form of slavery has attracted the attention of many scholars and governments across the globe. The malpractice is currently affecting over 20 million individuals across the globe. The malpractice revolves around forcing victims in prostitution, completing them to produce pornographic videos, or subjecting them to slavery (Warpinski, 2013).
Trafficking has mainly targeted women, girls, and children. Recruited men are eventually forced to offer forced labor in different industries. It would therefore be appropriate for governments to redesign their policies in such a way that they tackle the problem of human trafficking. Police officers should get better salaries to minimize the chances of being bribed. Powerful campaigns will empower more people to protect themselves from every form of abuse or trafficking.
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Deshpande, A., & Nour, M. (2013). Sex trafficking of women and girls. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6(1), 22-27. Web.
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