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Causes of Human Trafficking

According to the UN, the definition of trafficking is the unlawful or forceful transportation, abduction, recruitment or harboring of persons. Human trafficking can be caused by an array of factors which may additionally be broadly classified as socio-economic and cultural factors. Steve Gutow states: “Every year, over 14,000 people are trafficked into the United States.” These people are forced into servitude or sexually exploited. In comparison, The Economist puts the global variety of trafficking victims at 21 Million. In a bid to explain the causes of the human trafficking both, Gutow and The Economist argue valid factors but Gutow’s sentiments cover a wide spectrum making his article more appealing and convincing to its readers.

From Gutow’s point of view, poverty, unemployment and hunger are compelling causes of contemporary slavery and human trafficking. In a bid to get out of poverty, individuals can be easily lured by charlatans posing as saviors who eventually turn out to be human traffickers. In this case, the desire of these individuals to escape poverty is exploited by the traders. They may use control and threatening measures; which further intensifies once the victims are in the destined country. In fact, due to poverty some parents sell their children forcefully or voluntarily in order to pay off debts.

Also, the existing global crisis has further promoted human trafficking. To elaborate this point, Gutow notes: “The current crisis has reinforced the connection between poverty and slavery (Gutow 95).” For instance, the Census Bureau indicates that over a million Americans fell into poverty after the global depression in 20007 – 2008. Globally, the World Bank estimates that over 90 million people may have fallen into poverty in year 2009 (Gutow 95). When such numbers are taken into factor, it is evident that more people would be convinced to move to better regions for the sake of their well-being and that of their families. Other reasons identified as instigators to human trafficking include inadequate prosecution and protection policies and presence of powerful individuals who control this illegal trade. From this argument, it is evident that Steve Gutow’s sentiments are more enthralling and substantial.

Interesting parallels are evident between the two sources but certain comparisons can also be drawn from the writings. According to The Economist, many countries have not constituted the necessary laws to target traffickers. Also, despite the presence of these laws, its enforcement proves to be a huge obstacle (The Economist 97). Worse still is the fact that most of the victims involved in the trafficking are treated as criminals. In addition, this edition argues that the Football World cup has promoted human trafficking. This can be elaborate by the statement, “football World Cup could be a candidate (The Economist 98).” Most World Cups require construction of huge infrastructure in order to comfortably host the games. For that reason, there is high demand of semi-skilled workers. Traffickers take advantage of large immigration to these countries.

Another documented reason is illiteracy of construction workers and other semi-skilled individuals looking to seek jobs in other countries. Most of these migrant workers are recruited without understanding the working terms and conditions. To elaborate this point, The Economist states: “There is evidence of ‘willful blindness’ to the terms in which migrant workers are being recruited (The Economist 97).” Among other reasons identified include political climate of the host country, war, social and cultural practices. The contrast between these views is clear but there is evidence suggesting that they are all valid; despite the fact that one argument has more weight than the other.

Works Cited

Gutow, Rabbi S. Bound Together: Contemporary Slavery and Global Poverty. CPA’s Washington. 2015.

The Economist. Modern slavery: Everywhere in (supply) chains. New York. 14/3/2015. Print Edition.

July 24, 2021

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