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Human Trafficking

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking simply said is modern day slavery. This is an act that is not new, especially in overseas areas. It is defined as the movement of people (mostly women and children), through violence, deception, and coercion for the purpose of forced labor, servitude, or slavery-like practices. It is one of the worst and most prominent international crimes. It has become popular because traffickers can make easy profits in poor and deprived regions of the world by exploitation and the knowledge that there are no serious penalties against them. I feel strongly that we as Americans should take a stand to combat this issue through stronger prosecutions for traffickers, by providing more awareness in those areas affected, and offering enhanced protection for potential vulnerable victims.

As I mentioned, one of the most important steps that needs to be taken in the effort to reduce and eliminate human trafficking is to first provide awareness to the nation about the problem. There are several groups involved in the campaign to fight human trafficking. One of these campaigns aims toward mostly young Lao people and their local government officials; it is called the "Be Smart. Be Safe" campaign. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and UNICEF developed the campaign. This is a multi-media campaign, which comes with a music CD, video, posters, billboards, pamphlets, and TV and radio dramas. The goal is to provide the youth of Lao PDR with information regarding trafficking, how to avoid it, and it allows for the community to come together and figure out how to protect their children from becoming victims.

The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention is the office responsible for crime prevention, criminal justice and criminal law reform. They work to, "strengthen the rule of law, to promote stable and viable criminal justice systems and to combat the growing threats of transnational organized crime, corruption and trafficking in human beings." The Global Progamme against the Trafficking in Human Beings, which they are responsible for, is launched to try to assist select countries in combating the issue. The goal is to test the countries in their ability to communicate with police both locally and internationally.

In addition to awareness campaigns, the television is another good start to exposing human trafficking. Recently, ABC aired a special on human trafficking called "Slavery in America: Living in the Shadows", to provide awareness to Americans about the human trafficking problem. The show reported that an estimated 800,000 people are bought and sold every year. Of those 800,000 people, approximately 15,000 enter the United States under these conditions. During the show, one woman was interviewed about how she was manipulated into coming to the US for what she thought was going to give her a better future. She was under the impression that she would be receiving an education; sadly, she was only given a job working 18-hour days and beaten regularly by her female captor. This special is extremely necessary for Americans to see, because we are often under the impression that America is a Utopia. We do not realize that slavery still exits and unlike the olden days, these slaves may be your next-door neighbor.

In Israel, a documentary was aired on the Internet about human trafficking. Apparently Israel is becoming a haven for selling women into servitude. It was reported by Fox News that most of these women are from the Soviet Union and are being traded by the Russian mob. Approximately 3,000 women are sold into slavery each year in Israel. The documentary revealed that behind a concrete wall was a narrow passage that led to girls who were living inside. It took them 15 minutes to break the wall down and locate the girls; the conditions were not suitable for living human beings. The girls had apparently been trapped for 3 hours. Although, the cops were there to let them out, they treated the girls very disrespectfully. The house was three stories with secret passages throughout. The pimps controlled the doors with a hydraulic mechanism that did not allow for the girls to be able to escape. Behind the walls of these floors were hidden rooms crammed with women. This video was disgustingly real and very saddening.

I have provided a clear vision of what human trafficking is and how evil it is, but what is more important is the law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) came about in October 2000, prior to this there were no laws to prosecute traffickers or protect victims. TVPA has three goals and those are to prevent human trafficking overseas, protect victims and help them rebuild their lives in the U.S. with federal and state support, and to prosecute traffickers under stiff Federal penalties. In some cases, traffickers can be sentenced anywhere from 20 years in prison to life in prison depending on the age and acts committed against the victim. In 2003, the Bush Administration revised the law allowing for $200 million to be used to help combat trafficking.

The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons (2000) was adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy in 2000. The overall focus of the protocol is requiring ratifying states to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, protecting and assisting victims of trafficking and promoting cooperation among states in order to meet those objectives. There are several items that the protocol addresses. One item addresses is the states are liable for facilitating the return and acceptance of children who have

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