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Human trafficking has evolved as one of the most rapidly growing criminal activities on the face of the earth. Human trafficking is often called modern-day slavery (Flores, 2016). Numerous protocols and policies have been imposed to tackle this menace. Despite spending billions of dollars earmarked and spent to curb human trafficking, it remains an issue that has always been simmering under the surface. Every now and then, there appears a piece of news on the media regarding the issue. Sometimes the victims are being forced or coerced into labour, at others they are made to serve as bonded labourers (Marschke & Vandergeest, 2016). Many juvenile victims of human trafficking end up serving as child labourers. Children trafficked are often subjected to prostitution. Another issue that trafficking involves is the illegal sale of the organs. Sometimes, the victims are tricked into giving up a vital organ. At others, despite being promised hefty amount for their organs, victims are subjected to fraud. Then there is the case where organs are removed without obtaining the consent of the victim. Finally, adult victims are forced into prostitution. This type of human trafficking is known as sex trafficking. This report intends to find the proper definition of human trafficking. The features of the criminal organizations involved in this dreadful act. The operational environment in which the organizations operate. Additionally, this report will include data on human trafficking from multiple sources.
In the face of growing human trafficking and the challenges it poses to global security, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution numbered 55/25 on November 15th, 2000. The resolution is named as "The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime". The significance of this resolution could be understood by the fact that it is the prime instrument employed by the UN to curb this shocking act. "The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime" further includes a protocol that is specific to human trafficking. This protocol is called "The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children". This article of the resolution number 55/25 was enforced on December 25th, 2003. This article contains a definition of human trafficking that the ratifying member states had agreed upon. According to the document of the resolution number 55/25, the definition of human trafficking is “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labour or sexual exploitation" (United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime). This protocol having huge importance in the global fight against this crime was signed during a three days meeting of the United Nations held in Palermo, Italy, on 12th to 15th December 2000. The resolution 55/25 highlighted the need for close international collaboration and the creation of strict laws to enforce domestically among the member states.
Features of the Criminal Organization
Ever since childhood, there exists a notion about freedom which is still present today. Children are taught that Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, emancipated numerous slaves. This is a belief which is reinforced by the fact that all men are created equal. However, at the same time, it seems that the number of slaves is at the highest in today’s modern society. Modern-day slavery is not only restricted to developing or underdeveloped countries, but this endemic persists in developed countries as well. This modern-day slavery is often known as human trafficking. The organisations involved in this dreadful acts are very well organized. These organizations thrive due to the fact that hundreds of people are willing to pay for their services. The ultimate goal of these organisations involved in this crime is to amass wealth. The members of the organizations take pride in their work. The leaders of these organisations wield great influence on politics and political leaders. These organizations are structured like a regular and legal business (Campana, 2015). The chain of command of these organizations is following. There is a boss or leader that sits at the top of the hierarchy (Campana, 2015). Further down there are deputies to the boss, treasurers and advisors. Furthermore, there are accountants and technical staff to help the smooth flow of activities of the organization (Lloyd, 2019). To engage in any battle on the legal front, these organizations hire top lawyers. Advisors working really close to the boss give crews certain duties. Members found derelict of their duties are often punished and fined. Therefore, members carry out their tasks with great dedication. Maybe, that is why this crime still exists in the 21st century.
Features of Operational Environment
The business of the organizations involved in human trafficking has certain activities that need to be executed with great cohesion. The hapless victims of this crime are, more often than not, allured by spurious promises like a well-paying job or a relationship that would last long. Human traffickers prey upon the recalcitrant youth that may have run away from their homes, people fleeing war-ravaged regions or tourists that might be adequately familiar with the language, laws and rights like the locals of a certain area (Freccero et.al, 2017). This implies that the victims may hail from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, however, what they share together is a characteristic of vulnerability (Dickman, 2016). The organization involved in human trafficking at their lowest level of operations hire a recruiter to lure people with fake promises of jobs or hire men and women to attract people with promises of marriage. The victims are tempted by the idea of a better life for themselves and their families. However, when a victim gets trapped in the net of this crime, it is a great challenge for them to escape that net. The reason behind this is the handlers of the victims deprive the hapless victims of their rights. Their consent does not mean one bit to their handlers. Often, handlers employ brutish tactics and physical force to keep the victims under their command. For instance, when a man or a woman, who were promised a lucrative job in a developed country, disembark from the plane after their arrival, instead of going to the office they were promised, they are intercepted by the handlers. The handlers force the victim to toil in the work of their liking. Victims work hours and hours without sufficient pay and rights.
Data on Human Trafficking
The United Nations released a report titled “A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”. The report portrays a grim picture when it comes to the human rights of the victims trafficked. The report was compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report collected data from 97 countries. The scope of the report is it presents facts and numbers of humans trafficked globally. Additionally, it also describes the actions taken against human traffickers by the authorities. Moreover, it also sheds light upon even more grimmer aspect of trafficking. Human trafficking in regions engulfed in armed and military conflict. The report describes that, although the number of humans trafficked annually has increased significantly, the capacity of countries in order to fight this crime improved remarkably. Additionally, the overall number of convictions also increased manifold. The increase in convictions is recorded mostly in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Data on humans trafficked in 2016 shows disturbing statistics. Based on the data of 97 countries, there were round about 25000 people that were detected (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). An average of 254 people from each of the 97 countries. The number of convictions also increased as indicated in the report. Globally, around 67% of the total people who were standing trial in human trafficking cases were convicted and were awarded sentences accordingly (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). This is an increase of 37% from the last year. This implies that with increasing human trafficking, the number of convictions increased too. For Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the conviction rates are 148%, 100% and 100% respectively (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). The conviction rate in Central America and South America stands at 130% (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). However, regions with fewer convictions do not mean that human traffickers are not present in those regions. Certainly, fewer convictions would send a message to the criminals involved in this act that they could act with impunity. The most common target of human traffickers is women. According to this report, 49% of the victims were women. This does not mean that men are not trafficked. 21% of the victims were males (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). Furthermore, the report also describes that there is a number of children among the victims of human trafficking. 23% of the children were girls and 7% of them were boys (Global report on trafficking in Persons, 2019). The report suggested that sexual exploitation is the most prevalent situation of human trafficking. In South America, Central America and North America, the victims are sexually exploited. The same situation persists when it comes to Europe and Asia. However, in North Africa, the victims are forced to beg. Forced labour is the most widespread outcome of human trafficking in the Middle East and West, East and South Africa.
Impact of Human Trafficking
The economic effects and impact of human trafficking are rippled through both countries. The one where humans are trafficked from and the other where they are trafficked to. Human trafficking has broader implications for the country from people are trafficked. That these people are bonded labourers and have a debt to pay off, they cannot send remittances back to the country of their belonging (Oosterhoff, 2018). Additionally, there is a loss of human resource to the country from people are trafficked. Due to forceful child labour, the children are often deprived of building their personalities and capacities to the fullest (Kiss, 2015). Had the children been given proper education and healthcare, they would have been more productive citizens. The societal implications are even broader to human trafficking. The people being trafficked leave their families behind in the hope of better lives. However, once these people are intercepted by the handlers, those dreams are shattered. The family of the man or women trafficked suffer a lot in the absence of their family member. The society as a whole suffers due to loss of human resource. In the case of women trafficked, lack of motherly love and support in the personality development of the children often results in the children being the least productive citizens. The damage done to them, in this case, is irreparable. The health risks involved in human trafficking are huge. Both before and after the journey, the victims are susceptible to multiple lurking dangers. There are risks of getting injured and even death. The inadequate food supply, dreadful sanitary conditions pose a grave risk to the health of victims. Victims of the sex industry, more often than not, end up contracting HIV due to unsafe sexual practices (Hemmings, 2016). The human rights of the victims involved in human trafficking are blatantly violated. They are deprived of their right to speech, right to freedom of movement, right to life and right to freedom from slavery.
One wonders that despite sufficient legislation, human trafficking is not being vanquished. In fact, according to the report “A Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”, human trafficking has seen a hike from previous years. There are multiple factors to be considered that are not letting this heinous act plummet. The biggest factor attributing in the rise of human trafficking is perhaps globalization. When human life is treated as a commodity it has monetary benefits attached to it. Human traffickers for the sake of money smuggle innocent beings. While these innocent beings are oblivious to their fate, traffickers forsee monetary gains from them. to fill the employment gaps, these trafficked humans are considered as a perfect match. That is because they can offer cheap labour in order to make ends meet. The surge in illegal immigration has provided traffickers with a ripe ground to expand their business. To counter this rise in illegal immigration and subsequent human trafficking, developed countries have imposed strict visa regimes. The globalisation of technology has assisted traffickers to expand their operational capabilities. The internet has provided traffickers with an opportunity to continue their dreadful acts while their identity remains obscure. Traffickers are using the internet as a tool for their business perhaps because the internet is highly unregulated. Another factor adding up to the list of human trafficking is the prevalence of cheaper transport. Decreased cost of transportation has encouraged the traffickers looking to indulge with innocent lives. To fight against human trafficking and save hundreds of lives, a massive public awareness campaign is a dire need at this time. Not only this is costing countries millions of dollars in the form of legislation, measures to curb this act, but it is also having detrimental consequences upon the societal fabric.
Campana, P. (2015). The structure of human trafficking: Lifting the bonnet on a Nigerian transnational network. British Journal of Criminology, 56(1), 68-86.
Dickman, E., Spears, A., Burval, J., & Hasty, C. (2016). Human Trafficking.
Flores, N. M. (2016). Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery. Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America, 71(1).
Freccero, J., Biswas, D., Whiting, A., Alrabe, K., & Seelinger, K. T. (2017). Sexual exploitation of unaccompanied migrant and refugee boys in Greece: Approaches to prevention. PLoS medicine, 14(11), e1002438
Global report on trafficking in Persons. (2019). Unodc.org. Retrieved 3 June 2019, from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/glotip.html
Hemmings, S., Jakobowitz, S., Abas, M., Bick, D., Howard, L. M., Stanley, N., ... & Oram, S. (2016). Responding to the health needs of survivors of human trafficking: a systematic review. BMC health services research, 16(1), 320.
Kiss, L., Pocock, N. S., Naisanguansri, V., Suos, S., Dickson, B., Thuy, D., ... & Borland, R. (2015). Health of men, women, and children in post-trafficking services in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam: an observational cross-sectional study. The Lancet Global Health, 3(3), e154-e161.
Lloyd, D. (2019). Human Trafficking in Supply Chains and the Way Forward. The Palgrave International Handbook of Human Trafficking, 1-24.
Marschke, M., & Vandergeest, P. (2016). Slavery scandals: Unpacking labour challenges and policy responses within the off-shore fisheries sector. Marine Policy, 68, 39-46.
Oosterhoff, P., Burns, D., Prasad, B., & Robinson, S. (2018). The Modern Slavery Trap: Bonded Labour.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. (2019). Unodc.org. Retrieved 3 June 2019, from https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/organized-crime/intro/UNTOC.html
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