Human trafficking is one of the most prevalent criminal activities in the world. It involves various concepts, which include forced labor, commercial sex, and domestic servitude trafficking. Human trafficking is slavery, which does not have any boundary restrictions. Different approaches are being utilized to fight human trafficking, including border control and monitoring. However, border control is not sufficient in the management of human trafficking, but a comprehensive and holistic method, which involves interagency cooperation and states collaboration, is recommendable. This paper aims to explore human trafficking as a global crime and provide viable solutions that prevent and deal with cases of this type of human rights violation.
Overview of Human Trafficking
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2016) defines human trafficking as “recruitment, harbouring, transportation, transfer or receipt of persons by use of threat, force, coercion, deception, fraud, abduction, abuse of power and use of vulnerabilities, and receiving benefits for the purpose of exploitation” (p. 7). The exploitation aspects involve sexual misuse and prostitution, slavery, servitude, and removal of organs (UNODC, 2016). Human trafficking is a global problem. The International Labor Organization’s estimates show that there are 20.9 million people, who have been victims of human trafficking worldwide (Glover, 2016). The International Office of Migration indicates that 500,000 people experience human trafficking in Western Europe while 50,000 to 100,000 people are trafficked each year to the United States of America (Jones, 2010). The U.S Department of State (2015) in its Trafficking in Persons Report describes human trafficking as an insult to humanity and freedom. The report condemns selling of women and children, sex trafficking of girls that flows from Central Europe, fishermen enslavement in Southeast Asia, and exploitation of farm workers in North America. All the victims in the mentioned cases do not have fundamental rights.
Various factors contribute to human trafficking. Jones (2010) identifies economic, social, and political factors, as well as issues associated with organized crimes, communication and technological progress, state corruptions, and border controls. Jones (2010) further mentions patriarchal culture, attitudes, beliefs, interplay of globalization, consumerism, and commodification as variables that induce human trafficking. The empirical assessment of human trafficking as a form of human exploitation and rights violation is complicated. Its complexity arises from a lack of comprehensive definition of human trafficking, difficulty in detecting human trafficking activities, limited work interaction with both victims and offenders, and insufficient inter-organizational collaboration. The contemporary form of slavery represented by human trafficking does not operate in isolation. It is linked to other challenges of the 21st century, which include extreme poverty, discrimination of women and vulnerable minorities, corruption, and associated government failures (U.S Department of State, 2015). Other issues determined by the U.S Department of State Report (2015) that are connected to human trafficking include abuse of social media and transnational organized crimes.
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Management of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a human rights violation phenomenon, which the international community must address. The U.S Department of State (2015) in its Trafficking in Persons Report says that “human trafficking is not a problem to be managed; it is a crime to be stopped” (p. 5). The usage of multiple strategies can address the problem. First, the community is an essential asset in human trafficking prevention. According to UNODC (2016), the community-led programs are significant in preventing human trafficking. An example is an instance where the UNODC has supported the Community Vigilance Project spearheaded by the local leaders and women groups with the aim of mobilizing the community to identify and prevent trafficking. This event occurred at a porous border between India and Nepal where were increased incidences of human trafficking amongst the vulnerable communities.
Second, the creation of awareness and public education can safeguard individuals against trafficking. The community needs to have access to information about trafficking. It is not the only public who needs to know about the problem but also the civil society, law enforcement organizations, and policy makers. In this case, Zero Tolerance for Human Trafficking Coalition is multi-agency, which operates nationwide in the United States of America. Its core aims include facilitating of awareness, building capacity, improving policies, and increasing coordinated services for the human trafficking victims (Glover, 2016).
Third, the law enforcement departments play a paramount role in preventing human trafficking and smuggling across the borders. Since human trafficking is a worldwide problem, it requires cooperation amongst the law enforcement agencies from different nations and utilization of holistic approaches to deter human trafficking. The law enforcement bodies ought to use comprehensive and interagency cooperation to ensure that the human traffickers do not establish new routes for smuggling. The states must utilize resources and tools to deter, identify, apprehend, and prosecute the offenders of human trafficking. Since the causes of human trafficking are diverse and complex, no single state or department can work effectively to eliminate the vice. It requires collaboration amongst the countries and relevant agencies since it is a global issue (Lee, 2013). Furthermore, addressing of this global problem is not only limited to states and its agencies but also the input from the private sector, legal community, civic societies, and academic institutions is essential. The governments are accountable for enforcing the rule of law, provision of judicial resources, sharing of information and enacting policies that guide basic human rights (Lee, 2013).
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, which exploits millions of people. It is a criminal activity that involves violation of core human rights and abuse of human dignity. A significant loss for human trafficking victims is freedom. Sex and labor trafficking are some of the common forms of human trafficking. The high profits associated with human trafficking have facilitated the continuation of this crime for a long time. The high monetary gain has made the offenders engage in the crime in spite of harsh penalties and prosecutions. The international community should do everything possible through a comprehensive interagency collaboration to ensure the elimination of this modern-day slavery.