The analytical report concerns the problem of human trafficking which currently is one of the most serious issues of the contemporary world and in the future, it may aggravate dramatically if no measures are undertaken. It is why, in such a situation, such states as the US has to solve this problem since to a significant extent they unwillingly stimulate human trafficking because they attract criminals involved in this ‘business’ due to its profitability. As a result, it is necessary to undertake preventive measures and improve the current situation to prevent sufferings of victims of human trafficking, which are defined in this research, and stop the harmful impact of human trafficking on the socio-economic life of the target countries.
Nowadays the problem of human trafficking is growing to be extremely important and affect practically all countries of the world. In fact, it is possible to estimate that human trafficking is gradually becoming a global problem. At the same time, this problem is extremely serious and needs an immediate solution. Otherwise, it will become the great dilemma for practically all states to solve.
It is not a secret that human trafficking provokes many socio-economic problems and affects the life and well-being of many people. It is obvious that people who are the victims of human trafficking probably suffer the most since they are simply turned into slaves as this notion is currently understood. On the other hand, human trafficking also affects societies where these people come from and to because, on the one hand there remained families the victims of human trafficking left and, on the other hand, the new states also suffer from their illegal activities.
As a result, the burning problem of human trafficking has to be solved, and primarily the developed states have to do it because they are the destination states of human trafficking. Moreover, to a certain extent, it is developed countries that stimulate human trafficking since it is a very profitable ‘business’ for those who operate in this field. One of the most developed states that face the problem of human trafficking in the US and the local government has already started to work on this issue. By the way, if you need professional writing assistance on this topic, just visit this site.
The definition of human trafficking
Apparently, to understand the consequences and potential threats of human trafficking, it is primarily necessary to define this phenomenon and reveal its types. The latter is particularly crucial because human trafficking is a very complicated phenomenon that may be realized in various forms and have a different background. It is why, on analyzing human trafficking it is necessary to be very careful about its definition and understand that it may involve various aspects of life, such as labor, services, etc.
First of all, it should be pointed out that many specialists believe that the contemporary human trafficking is nothing else but a new form of slavery (4). Moreover, human trafficking involves all people regardless age or sex, though it hardly involves representatives of upper classes while, in stark contrast, the most deprived layers of the society are the most affected by this phenomenon and suffer the most.
Practically, human trafficking is “the illegal trade in human beings and modern form of slavery” (Bales 2002:31). Obviously, this definition is insufficient to realize the essence and enormity of the problem of human trafficking. This is why it is quite useful to refer to The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, which provides legal definitions of the crime in the USA. Among different forms of trafficking the following may be singled out as the most severe: a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, or b) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery (Bales 2002).
Consequently, it is also necessary to clarify some notions to fully understand what human trafficking in its different forms means. In this respect, it should be pointed out that, according to TVPA, ‘sex trafficking’ means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act. In such a context, ‘commercial sex act’ is defined as any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
Furthermore, ‘coercion’ means a) threats of a serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; b) any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or, c) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process (Bales 2002).
Also, it is necessary to define the notion of ‘involuntary servitude,’ which is one of the key notions, especially for human labor trafficking. Basically, it includes the condition of servitude induced by means of a) any scheme, plan or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or, b) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process (Bales 2002).
The definition of human trafficking also needs clarification of the notion of ‘debt bondage’ which imply the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and the nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined. Finally, ‘peonage’ means holding someone against his or her will to pay off a debt.
Thus, there is a variety of forms of human trafficking but the most serious and dangerous is human labor trafficking since it dramatically affects not only the life of victims and their relatives but it also produces a significant impact on the socio-economic situation within the destination country, decrease social stability and may lead to such negative phenomena as increase of crime rates.
Roots of human labor trafficking
On analyzing the situation concerning human trafficking, including human labor trafficking, it is getting to be evident that this problem has deep roots, mainly of socio-economic nature, which are the primary cause of the problem. Moreover, it is vitally important to research the roots of human trafficking because it is impossible to solve the problem if its causes remain hidden. In other words, it is possible to stop, or at least minimize human trafficking only on the condition that its main roots are eliminated.
Apparently, in such a situation it is necessary to search for the roots of human trafficking or to put it more precisely, human labor trafficking, in socio-economic domain since economic problems force people to seek for a better life in developed countries and easily believe in generous promises of criminals involved in human trafficking.
In fact, it is not a secret that one of the main reasons why people are involved in human labor trafficking is the security which victims of human trafficking are promised in the destination country. Obviously, numerous victims of human labor trafficking which are basically from Mexico, Caribbean region and other countries of Latin America are attracted by social stability and prosperity of the US which is viewed from developing countries as a Promised Land. As a result, they are easily deceived by expectations by earn money and provide for their families in the rich country such as the USA.
As a result, it is possible to state that one of the main reason and the profound root of human labor trafficking is poverty the countries of Latin America and other developing sender countries suffer from. Consequently, people become victims of human labor trafficking because they do not have an opportunity in their native countries to afford themselves and their families.
Furthermore, another root of the problem of human labor trafficking lies in “the imbalances between labor supply and the availability of legal work in a place where the job seeker is entitled to reside” (Bales 2002:140). In such a way, it is obvious that the problem of human labor trafficking is to a significant extent provoked by the high rates of unemployment in sender countries. The high unemployment leads to deterioration of the position of ordinary people who cannot find any job and, consequently, have no other choice but to seek for new opportunities to be employed in other countries, such as the USA, regardless the conditions of work, working hours, low payment, etc. As a result, they easily accept propositions to be employed in the US and naturally become victims of human labor trafficking.
However, the intention to be employed in the US cannot be the root of the human labor trafficking since potentially there are opportunities to find a job in the US. In actuality, human labor trafficking occurs “in a range of different circumstances, such as when employment itself is illegal, when the conditions of work are worse than those prescribed by law, when the worker seeks to reach a country where there are barriers to legal migration, or where the worker is below the minimum age of employment” (Bales 2002:197).
As a result, the roots of human labor trafficking can be easily found in the socio-economic domain but, unfortunately, been seduced by promises of criminals involved in this ‘business’ victims of human trafficking are practically doomed to become slaves and suffer from their deprived position even more than in their native countries. Moreover, the labor market even of such a state as the US is not unlimited and the less room in the market the higher is the probability that human labor trafficking would increase the exploitation of its victims and deteriorate their position. Moreover, it should be said that the situation in the destination country may be absolutely different from the expectations of the victims of human labor trafficking and their dreams about a good job in the US as a rule turns to be just a self-deception because the real situation in the labor market of the destination country cannot provide them with the possibility to be well-employed.
On the other hand, it is necessary to remember that the roots of human trafficking may be traced not only in sender countries but also in destination countries as well. It is not a secret that American legislation has been stringent to immigrants from Mexico and it remains quite severe for Latin Americans and residents of the Caribbean region.
As a result, often immigrants from developing countries simply do not have legal opportunities in arriving at the US and be employed there. It means that immigration barriers artificially and intentionally created by the US and other developing countries become one of the reasons for illegal immigration and human labor trafficking because legal barriers cannot stop desperate and deprived people whose socio-economic position is extremely poor from further attempts to find a job in the destination country. At the same time, it is obvious that their position in the new country would hardly be better than in their motherland.
Thus, the problem of human labor trafficking has deep roots, and all of them are closely interrelated to the extent that it is possible to speak about a vicious circle in which both situation and policy in the sender and destination countries are involved.
Victims of human trafficking
Naturally, it is impossible to analyze the problem of human trafficking without discussing the consequences of this phenomenon, notably the effects of human labor trafficking. In this respect, it is necessary to speak about the victims of human trafficking since they suffer the most from this phenomenon. In the case of human labor trafficking, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that its victims are not only the individuals directly involved and deceived by criminals but also their social surrounding, including their families and the society at large since the exploitation of victims of human labor trafficking deteriorates the socio-economic situation within the society where they are forced to work. In such a situation it is possible to speak about the society and some of its members as indirect victims of human labor trafficking since they are not directly involved in this ‘business.’
Nonetheless, it is probably better to start with direct victims of human labor trafficking, i.e., people who are deceived by criminals and become slaves of this negative phenomenon. Generally speaking about victims of human labor trafficking, it should be pointed out that, as a rule, they are “forced to work long hours in inhuman working conditions, with few or no breaks” (Bales 2002:301). In fact, it is necessary to emphasize that there is no need to speak about civil rights of the victims of human labor trafficking for they are practically deprived of any right and remain slaves of the human traffickers. Often, the victims of human labor trafficking have to live and work in absolutely inhuman conditions.
In actuality, they are not simply deprived of their basic civil rights and personal freedom, but they are forced to work hard regardless total exhaustion of their organisms. As a rule, they destined to do the work that no other legal employee or any other employee who is free refuse to do. It is not surprising then that the victims of human labor trafficking are doomed to do the worst job, which is often physically demanding and simply exhausting. Specialists emphasize that in some instances, “victims have been chained to their stations and not even provided with regular breaks to use the restroom” (Stark and Hodgson 2003:194). As Stark and Hodgson (2003) underline, psychological abuse is usually persistent, extreme and intended to demolish any and all mental, emotional and physical defenses.
In such a situation, it seems to be natural that, being deprived, the victims of human labor trafficking receive little or no payment. Consequently, it is possible to speak about total physical exploitation and severe deprivation along with constant psychological pressure. In such a way, they suffer physically and psychologically and remain slaves of traffickers.
Naturally, the traffickers have developed an efficient mechanism of control over their victims to continue their exploitation. To better understand the harm of human labor trafficking to victims it is necessary to briefly discuss the basic mechanisms of control widely used by traffickers.
In this respect, it is worthy to mention intimidation and threats that are commonly used by traffickers to control their victims. Practically, it results in brutal violence, emotional abuse, watching violence against other victims which destroy the personality of a victim. At the same time, often not direct maltreatment but threats are used that also produce a significant psychological pressure on victims.
Furthermore, such ‘innocent means’ of control as lies and deception are also used. Lies and deception are used to achieve cooperation from a victim and his/her family. As a rule, it involves making false promises of employment.
Another efficient mechanism of control of victims by traffickers is money since often “victims transported by traffickers often incur debt that they owe traffickers” (Bales 2002:259). As a result, victims are simply forced to work to pay their debt off, and it may also be treated as debt bondage of victims. Besides, traffickers increase the victims’ feeling of being in debt by taking ‘care’ for victims by paying rent, buying food, clothes, etc.
Attempting to control their victims, traffickers create situations when the former feel unsafe and unprotected so that they need help, assistance, and protection of their abusers. In other words, traffickers intentionally destabilize the situation and the position of their victims making them completely dependent on their ‘masters.’ For instance, starvation is often used to show victims that their life is in the hands of traffickers (Stark and Hodgson 2003).
Social isolation is another sample of traffickers control over the victims of human labor trafficking. Practically it means that victims are separated from their families, friends, and compatriots and moved around from place to place depriving of a possibility to develop relationships with other people. Such a situation may be particularly depressing for victims since, on arriving at a new country, they already feel isolated from their traditional social surrounding and constant social isolation stimulated by traffickers deteriorate the situation dramatically.
It is also necessary to point out that victims are often controlled using intentional or forced drug addiction. As a result, victims are getting to be physically and psychologically dependent on their abusers since they cannot afford without taking drugs regularly. Also, traffickers often use different means of control over the legal status of their victims. For instance, they often take all documents of victims, and they simply cannot prove their identity.
Alternatively, it is quite noteworthy to refer to Zimmerman’s (2003) observations concerning health risks, abuse, and consequences for women and adolescents victims of human trafficking presented in the following chart:
Finally, it should be said that the problem of human labor trafficking affects not only victims but their family who are practically deprived of a possibility to communicate with their enslaved relatives. At the same time, human labor control undermines social stability in the destination country because the work of victims is not paid off or, in the better case, the costs of their labor are minimal. As a result, the potential local employees are deprived of a possibility to find a job, though, as it has been already mentioned above, the job the victims of human labor trafficking do could hardly be acceptable for local employees. Moreover, the illegal and deprived position of the victims of human labor trafficking often forces them to act unpredictably and commit desperate acts. As a result, they may commit crimes and become social outcast that naturally deteriorates socio-economic situation in the destination country, such as the USA.
Response to human trafficking
As the problem of human trafficking, including human labor trafficking, is extremely important and affects the lives of victims, their families as well as the society of the destination countries, it is quite logical that the latter has already initiated the development of effective measures of prevention of human labor trafficking aiming at the total solution of the problem. In this respect, the American example is quite noteworthy.
The recent legislation acts implemented in the US indicate the importance of the problem for American society. In such a situation, it seems to be quite natural that the US attempts legally prevent the problem of human trafficking. One of the first significant acts implemented in the US aiming at the solution of the problem of human trafficking was Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000). This act enhanced three aspects of government activity: a) it provided for a range of new protection and assistance for victims of trafficking in persons; b) it expanded the crimes and enhanced the penalties available to federal investigators and prosecutors pursuing traffickers; and, c) it expanded US activities internationally to prevent victims from being trafficked in the first place (5).
Another important legislative act was Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization (2003). This act significant enlarged and improved the TVPA (2000). For instance, this act provided benefits and services available for the dependent children of trafficking victims that potentially deprive traffickers of a possibility to treat victims’ children. Furthermore, federal funds were granted to provide ‘transit shelters’ at key border crossings where victims could help train border officials to find other victims, etc. (5).
At the same time, it is evident that to efficiently function the legislative acts should be available to victims of human trafficking. In other words, at the present moment, the strategic goal is to inform victims of human trafficking about their rights, and they simply should know what to do if they have been trafficked. Specialists (Stark and Hodgson 2003) recommend the following guidelines to use when a potential victim of trafficking has been identified or referred: firstly, conduct brief safety assessment; secondly, always inform victims of their basic rights in the US.
In such a way, one of the primary tasks of the government in the struggle against human trafficking is the informing of potential victims about their rights and prevention of victims being deceived due to the international cooperation worldwide. It is very important that the government has already created a juridical basis for the struggle against human trafficking within the US but still, the problem cannot be adequately served in the territory of this country only. The efforts of sender countries are also essential for the success of American efforts. Practically, it means that sender countries should respectively implement legislative acts preventing human trafficking and improve the socio-economic situation to minimize the number of those who are willing to leave the country for the American dream’s sake.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that human trafficking is one of the most serious problems the contemporary world currently faces. In this respect, human labor trafficking seems to be particularly dangerous since it dramatically affects the lives of victims of trafficking, who are forced to work and live in unbearable conditions, the life of their families, which are separated from the relatives, and the social stability of the destination country, where socio-economic situation deteriorates and the crime rates increase.
The example of the US perfectly demonstrates the necessity and the ways of the solution of the problem of human trafficking. The American government has managed to implement legislative changes aiming at the improvement of the current situation and prevention of human trafficking. However, the efforts of one state are obviously insufficient. It is why the problem of human trafficking, being a global problem, has to be solved by the mutual efforts of the worldwide community.
On the other hand, it is impossible to eliminate the problem until its roots are still flourishing. It means that human trafficking will exist as long as poverty and deprivation in developing countries keep forcing people to abandon their families and motherland in search of a better job and better life. Thus, until severe socio-economic problems of sender countries exist, the issue of human trafficking will not be solved entirely.
Bales, K. (2002). International Labor Standards: Quality of Information and Measures of Progress in Combating Forced Labor. Paper prepared for National Research Council Workshop on International Labor Standards: Quality of Information and Measures of Progress.
Stark, C. and Hodgson, C. (2003). Sister Oppressions: A Comparison of Wife Battering and Prostitution. Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress. Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press. 17-32.
Zimmerman, C., et al. (2003). The health risks and consequences of trafficking in women and adolescents.
Fact Sheet: Human Trafficking. Retrieved August 10, 2006, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/fact_human.html
Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Retrieved August 10, 2006, from http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/wetf/us_assessment_2004.pdf
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