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Modern society defines human trafficking as a form of slavery that includes the use of deception, coercion, or even physical force. The purpose of the action is to obtain any kind of free labor or for-profit sex. Numerous children, women, and men were reportedly subjected to trafficking in a single year in nations all over the globe. One of the nations that has kept track of these occurrences is the United States of America. According to statistics, the annual earnings from human trafficking amount to billions of dollars. (Bruckert and Parent, 2002). The illegal activity is only second to the trade of illegal drugs. The second-most lucrative transnational crime is human trafficking. Human traffic has remained hidden for a long time. The situation is because most of the victims are not willing to expose their masters. Their reluctance has been attributed to fear of the traffickers, language barrier as well as the fear of the law.
Human trafficking involves the exploitation of subjects and forcing them to offer their services without pay. That means that most of the victims are forcefully acquired. The crime cuts across all the communities and nations in the world. The illegal trade come slavery must be addressed with a lot of care and urgency (Clawson and Grace, 2009). In most cases, the FBI has been working on the cases of human trafficking. Both the Violent Crimes Against Children and Civil Rights programs are some of the departments in the FBI that look into the offense. The victims of human trafficking are repeatedly exposed to harsh treatments. They are beaten, forced to work in brothels as prostitutes and do domestic jobs. Sometimes the victims are starved and forced to work in factories without pay. The trafficking of people has been classified as an atrocious type of crime. The practice mostly abuses the weak people in the society. The abuse is against the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. The Act protects people against any form of slavery or giving any involuntary services to anyone.
In line with the human trafficking program, the FBI conducts investigations in the cases where people are forced to engage in any form of commercial sexual acts. The bureau also investigates any forceful labor or service that is a threat to the legal processes of the state.
Regarding its definition in the Persons Protocol, trafficking of people consists of three major elements.
The element refers to the manner in which human trafficking is conducted. The act includes the transportation, harboring, recruitment and transfer of the victims (Väyrynen, 2005). The provisions of the amendment majorly focus on the acquisition of the people and how they are transited to the foreign countries.
The element refers to the way of conducting the crime. Under this category, there is abduction, threat, coercion, usage of force, misuse of vulnerability of power of the people. The means also include the receipt of payment or any other benefits by the controllers of the victims.
The element looks into the major reason why the crime is conducted. The category tries to explain the motive behind the exploitation. The causes include the exploitation of the victims for example prostitution (Bruckert and Parent, 2002). The exploitation may be in form forced labor, sexual exploitation, and slavery. Other practices under this category can be in the form of removal of the victim's organs.
The definition given by the third article of Trafficking in Persons Protocol provides the necessary consensus and consistency around the world. The unanimity is in terms of the occurrence of the trafficking of people. Therefore, as per the requirements of Article 5, criminalization of the conduct outlined in Article 3 is in domestic legislation (Tyldum and Brunovskis, 2005). The internal regulation required no precise following of the Trafficking in Persons Protocols. The adaptation of the protocol is made according to the legal systems in the domestic sector.
Trafficking in Persons Protocols also provides for the criminalization of;
a-Any attempts made by a person to commit a trafficking offense.
b-The organization or any attempt made to push other people into trafficking.
c- Being an accomplice in a trafficking offense.
The cases involving human trafficking fall under several areas of investigation. These areas include
The investigative action applies in a situation where citizens of a foreign nation are forced to engage in commercial sex in the U.S (Väyrynen, 2005). The case applies to both juvenile and adult victims. The exploitation must be in the form of fraud, coercion, and force.
Domestic sex is a case where adults engage in sexual acts for commercial purposes. For action to be taken, it must be established that the victim was lured into the act either through fraud, coercion or by the use of force.
Domestic servitude refers to a situation when a person either from a foreign country or a citizen of the United States of America is forced to offer domestic services to households or families unwillingly.
Forced labor refers to a situation when a person either a foreign national or a citizen of the US is forced to give service in the industry or any commercial constitution.
The most efficient way to do the investigation is through tribal partners (Clawson and Grace, 2009). Other alternatives include collaborative or a state approach. In such a situation, investigators from the FBI lead and participate in task forces within the state.
The state has a multi-agency task force called Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Traffic. The agency receives funds from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) also funds the organization. These task forces consist of members from the federal law enforcement and the office of the U.S. Attorney (Väyrynen, 2005). Other members include a service provider for the community and a person from the office of the local prosecutor. The goal of these members is to help recover victims of human trafficking. The task force also investigates the traffickers. The inquiries are made both at the federal and state level.
Human Trafficking Task Force is a branch of the FBI working with native and federal agencies to combat the illegal action. Their activities are done through collaborative and proactive actions. The FBI Human Task Force identifies and recovers victims of human trafficking.
The agency is tasked with improving the access that victims have to legal experts and intelligence services (Clawson and Grace, 2009). The ACTeam oversees the implementation and development of strategic action plans. The plans lead to the performance of prosecutions and other federal investigations. The initiative has twelve officers from the FBI.
The Act enacted in 2000 gave law enforcers a chance of protecting international human trafficking victims. TVPA outlined several ways which could make it possible for the authorities to go about the protection issue. Some of the forms reprieves provided by the Act include T.visa and Continued Presence. They are immigration reliefs aimed at ensuring that the protection of the victims is easy of and efficient. T.visa gives foreign human trafficking victims an opportunity to become American residents temporarily. Continued Presence provides the law enforcers with an opportunity to acquire temporary status in the United States of America (Väyrynen, 2005). The regulation is a legal agreement that allows officers from foreign countries to stay in the U.S. in the course of conducting their investigations. Through the provisions of the Act, a human trafficking victim can become a permanent citizen of the U.S. Acquisition of permanent citizenship is possible if the person stays in the country for more than three years. The TVPA also requires the human traffickers to compensate their victims for exploitation.
The TVPA has also focused on preventing human trafficking by creating public awareness programs. The awareness is done both abroad and domestically. Also, the bill has given FBI officers authorities to investigate matters of forced labor.
Most of the activities of the human traffickers take place in hidden and private areas. The privacy makes the activities of the trackers go unnoticed. Human trafficking can either occur outside or within the shores of a country. The actions that occur within the shores of a country are known as internal trafficking (Clawson and Grace, 2009). Activities of human traffickers which take place outside a country are called external trafficking. Internal human trafficking can take place within a community, village or in the same locality. In this case, the crime is mostly done for child labor, domestic labor, sexual exploitation or illegal adoption.
In external trafficking, the victim is taken outside the bounds of his or her country. Therefore, the exploitation of the victim occurs outside his or her country of residence. In this kind of trafficking, the main aim is to get cheap labor. In other instances, it is done for sexual exploitation.
Regarding the issue of forced labor, Africa has been ranked top by the International Labor Organization. The percentage of children offering forced labor in the continent stands at 40%. The percentage is for children within the age brackets of between five to fourteen years. According to the statistics provided by the International Labor Organization, 200,000 to 300,000 children are trafficked annually. The trafficking activity has been found to take place mostly in the Western and Central parts of Africa (Bruckert and Parent, 2002). The children are sold into commercial sex and forced labor. Additional figures by the International Labor Organization show that 980,000 to 1,225,000 girls and boys are forced into toil situations. The report gives the figures for the year 2005. It states that those in forced labor had been acquired through trafficking. In the United States of America, 17,500 people from foreign countries are trafficked every year. Reports have it that the total number of victims of internal trafficking in the U.S. is greater than that of the external victims. The figure stands at two hundred thousand American children.
Agents conduct the investigations done by FBI officers in the human trafficking program. The agents get information regarding human trafficking in some ways;
b- Law enforcement agency referrals
c- Complaint by citizens
d- Operations of recovering victims
e- Non-governmental organizations' referrals
In the course of the investigations involving human trafficking, the main aim of the officers is to recover the victims. Examinations are done to help the law enforcers to save the victims from the violent and exploitative environments they occupy (Laczko and Gramegna, 2003). The representatives of the agencies work together with advocates of the victims. The collaboration is done to enable the organizations to provide the victims with some basic needs. Some other help they accord to the victims includes counseling services, job training, and education assistance.
There has been a successful utilization of sophisticated legal systems to conduct investigations. The agencies have sometimes undertaken concealed investigations, and Title III wire intercepts to track victims of human trafficking (Stoecker, 2000). The techniques have helped the agencies to catch traffickers and recover victims. In the past years, more than two thousand traffickers have been nabbed by the authorities. The combined efforts by the law enforcers and agencies have led to the recovery of thousands of victims.
The market trend drives the human trafficking business. The motivating factor regarding the development is demand and supply. Many factors have exposed the vulnerable groups such as children and women to trafficking. The criminal act has been encouraged by the rising need for cheap labor in several industries all over the world. There are also escalating incidences of commercial sexual activities.
Some of the reasons that have led to the increasing cases of human trafficking include;
The criminal trade has been associated with high-profit margins. The extraordinary earnings are due to the growing number of willing buyers. The rise of brothels in most of the countries in Asia has caused the upsurge in the number of willing buyers. The brothel owners part with large amounts of money to acquire commercial sex workers. To make more profits, the traffickers mostly exploit young children and women (Bruckert and Parent, 2002). The increase in the number of industries and big plantations has necessitated the need for cheap labor. The low cost of getting victims and high returns realized has made human trafficking a lucrative venture. According to the research done by Siddharth Kara from Harvard, a slave goes at an average of four hundred and twenty dollars. However, the same person can generate up to five hundred percent regarding returns annually. The human traffickers have also found easy preys who they can exploit.
Poverty has been ranked among the leading causes of human trafficking. There have been many cases where children from low-income families are given away. The act is done so that the family members can afford to acquire their basic needs. In some cases, the human traffickers disguise themselves as agents and promise children better and prosperous lives (Feingold, 2005). Refugee camps have been found to be the key locations where the exploitations take place. When the displaced persons are unable to meet their basic needs, they become vulnerable to the traffickers. In such a case, the victim has no choice but to agree to the mistreatments. The abuses force the victims to survive in a harsh environment. In the parts of West Africa, these traffickers pretend to be teachers. They prey on the unsuspecting children and capture them. In this case, the children are forced to comply with the wishes of their masters.
Homelessness is another cause of human trafficking. According to the New York Times, a fifth of the youths on the streets end up in the hands of traffickers. In the year 2015, the Associated Press found out that most of the Thai immigrants were living as slaves (Clawson and Grace, 2009). They were being forced to work in the industries supplying seafood. The traffickers recruited the young children together with the disabled in the industries.
Another reason fueling human trafficking is the difficulty of identifying victims. The traffickers ensure that the victims are properly hidden from the public. In other cases, the victims are traumatized to the extent they cannot talk about their experiences. Therefore, the suffering victims will be unable to express themselves to other people (Kempadoo et al., 2015). Some of the human trafficking victims have developed fear. The distress makes them scared to talk to an investigator for fear of confrontations with the law enforcers. The consumers, also known as the buyers and traffickers are aware of the dangers of the business. Therefore, they do their best to ensure that the tracks are covered properly.
Devaluation of children and women expose them to human trafficking. The traditional practices among communities make the said group susceptible to the illegal trade. Reports have indicated that girls and women make up ninety-eight percent of the total number of victims.
Most of the victims of human trafficking have reported incidences of degrading experiences. The dehumanization is prevalent in those victims who had been sold into the sex industry for commercial purposes. In the brothels, the victims may be forced to have sex with more than twenty men in a day (Shelley and Lee, 2007). Prolonging such an incidence takes away the humanity of a person. In the end, the victims remain shells of who they were before. Most of the trafficked people end up with low self-esteem, and, in some cases, they become ashamed. Some of the victims become unruly and get angry at the slightest provocation. The victims of human trafficking may also become depressed and attempt suicide.
A number of the victims of human trafficking are physically abused. The abuse comes from either the traffickers or the buyers. Mostly, the human traders use this tactic to inflict pain and fear in their victims. The act gives them a feeling of being in control. In some cases, the victims contract sexually transmitted infections. Cases of HIV/AIDS have become rampant among former commercial sex workers (Clawson and Grace, 2009). Physical torture in some cases destroys the health of the victims. The victims may be harmed to ensure that their chances of escaping are minimal.
There are few options for stopping human trafficking. The issue requires a collective effort of both the authorities and the member of a community. The collaboration will ensure that the cases are reduced. Combined efforts between countries will also ensure that the vulnerable groups are protected. Public education about the impacts of this menace can help in creating awareness in the citizens (Di Nicola, 2007). Once the people are made aware of the harmful effects of human trafficking, they will be able to cooperate with the authorities. The collaboration can go a long way in ensuring that citizens take it upon themselves to assist the victims. Outlined legislations must also be followed. Any trafficker found guilty should be locked up and forced to take responsibility for the harm the victims are exposed to. The efforts will help in reducing the number of traffickers willing to put their lives in line because of the business. Brothels and any business that increases the need for human trafficking must be outlawed.
In conclusion, human trafficking is a practice that must be stopped at all cost. All the concerned agencies should channel a good amount of money to fight this practice. The resources will help in facilitating the activities of the investigators. In turn, the swift action by these officers will assist in thwarting any incidences of trafficking from taking place. Stopping human trafficking will help the world to become a better place.
Bruckert, C., & Parent, C. (2002). Trafficking in human beings and organized crime: A literature review. Ottawa: Research and Evaluation Branch, Community, Contract and Aboriginal Policing Services Directorate, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Clawson, H. J., Dutch, N., Solomon, A., & Grace, L. G. (2009). Human trafficking into and within the United States: A review of the literature. Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Human and Heath Services. Retrieved December, 25, 2009.
Di Nicola, A. (2007). Researching into human trafficking: Issues and problems. Human trafficking, 49-72.
Feingold, D. A. (2005). Human trafficking. Foreign Policy, 26-32.
Kempadoo, K., Sanghera, J., & Pattanaik, B. (2015). Trafficking and prostitution reconsidered: New perspectives on migration, sex work, and human rights. Routledge.
Laczko, F., & Gramegna, M. A. (2003). Developing better indicators of human trafficking. The Brown Journal of world affairs, 10(1), 179-194.
Shelley, L., & Lee, M. (2007). Human trafficking as a form of transnational crime. Human trafficking, 116-137.
Stoecker, S. (2000). The rise in human trafficking and the role of organized crime. Demokratizatsiya, 8(1), 129-144.
Tyldum, G., & Brunovskis, A. (2005). Describing the unobserved: Methodological challenges in empirical studies on human trafficking. International Migration, 43(1‐2), 17-34.
Väyrynen, R. (2005). Illegal immigration, human trafficking and organized crime. Poverty, International Migration and Asylum. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 143-170.
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