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Human Trafficking

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Combating Human Trafficking

Over the past several years, human trafficking has become a sizable world-wide problem. Human Trafficking has had a considerable affect on the World and United States. To combat this, several laws and initiatives have been enacted. While this allows for some headway in combating this problem, there are still several things that we can do to help. This review of literature on Human Trafficking focuses on these areas and provides the information on the steps that can help combat this epidemic.

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons is slavery. The United Nations defines human trafficking as "The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation". The Department of Justice notes that human trafficking frequently involves the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation and also often involves exploitation of agricultural and sweatshop workers, as well as individuals working as domestic servants.

The University of Pittsburgh's Legal Paper (Jurist Law) estimates that human trafficking victimizes some 800,000 people worldwide. (Jansen, 2006) While the article "Slavery in the Suburbs" (Smith, 2007) reports it's an industry that's worth some $32 billion worldwide. Trafficking in persons is also the third most profitable criminal activity after illegal weapons and drugs. (Morse, 2006)

This is a vicious and senseless crime that has become an epidemic of the world. It affects several areas of the world's economy and relations. In October 2001, the State Department (DOS) created the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and in June 2002, it published a report, under the direction of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, assessing the efforts made by 89 countries to combat trafficking in persons. This report is the most comprehensive anti-trafficking review to be issued by any single government. (Lackzo & Gramegna, 2003) This report (updated in 2007) lists each country based on the extent of government action to combat trafficking, rather than the size of the problem, into one of the three tiers.

The DOS describes Tier 1 as Governments that fully comply with TVPA; Tier 2 as Governments that are making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards. There is also a Tier 2 Watch List which includes countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Act's minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and:

Ð'* The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; or

Ð'* There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or

Ð'* The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year

They define Tier 3 as Governments that do not fully comply and are not making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards.

Two examples, India and Thailand, of the findings as stated in the DOS Trafficking in Persons Report, 2007 are listed below:

Ð'* INDIA (Tier 2 Watch List)

India is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. India's trafficking in persons problem is estimated to be in the millions. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) estimates that 90 percent of India's sex trafficking is internal. Women and girls are trafficked internally for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage. Children are subject to involuntary servitude as factory workers, domestic servants, beggars, and agriculture workers. Men, women, and children are held in debt bondage and face involuntary servitude working in brick kilns, rice mills, agriculture, and embroidery factories. India is also a destination for women and girls from Nepal and Bangladesh trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Bangladeshi women reportedly are trafficked through India for sexual exploitation in Pakistan. Although Indians migrate willingly to the Gulf for work as domestic servants and low-skilled laborers, some later find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude, including extended working hours, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement by withholding of passports or confinement to the workplace, and physical or sexual abuse. Bangladeshi and Nepali men and women are trafficked through India for involuntary servitude in the Middle East.

Figure 1. Photo by Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department.

Shown above, a 9-year-old girl toils under the hot sun, making bricks from morning to night, seven days a week. She was trafficked with her entire family from Bihar, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped states in India, and sold to the owner of a brick-making factory. She has no means of escape, and is unable to speak the local language; the family is isolated and lives in terrible conditions. (Human Trafficking Website, 2007)

Ð'* Thailand (Tier 2)

Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Regional economic disparities drive significant illegal migration into Thailand, presenting traffickers with opportunities to force, coerce or defraud these undocumented migrants into labor or sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Russia, and Uzbekistan for commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. A number of women and girls from Burma, Cambodia, and Vietnam transit through Thailand's southern border to Malaysia for sexual exploitation primarily in Johor Bahru, across from Singapore. Thai and hill tribe women and girls are trafficked internally and to Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, Europe, Canada, and the United States for sexual exploitation.

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