Human Trafficking

Published: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 Written by Form 5 2013

At this point in our history, many assume that slavery would cease to exist after the exploitation of the Africans in the Americas.  However, in 2010, an estimated 12.3 million individuals were exploited in this multi-billion dollar commercial industry.  Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment and transportation of individuals by threats or fraudulent methods for the purpose of exploitation.  Therefore, due to the evils of this labour exploitation, this form of trafficking should be immediately combated by governments, international associations as well as nongovernmental organizations.  Three horrors of human trafficking are the facilitation of crimes, the violation of human rights and the endangerment of the victim’s health.

To begin with, human trafficking facilitates crimes.  Currently, trafficking is a lucrative industry in which annual revenues exceed that of multi-million dollar companies.  The profits generated from these illicit activities have encouraged participants of criminal groups to form establishing links with international criminal networks in order to obtain attractive salaries.  According to the United Nation, traffickers annually generate seven to ten billion dollars from this labour exploitation.  Also, the legal loopholes, the inefficiency of the police and the prosecutors’ lack of knowledge on the trafficking schemes have persuaded the criminals to continue human trafficking with impunity.  Additionally, the corruption of customs and government officials as well as the reluctance of the victims to identify the traffickers facilitates the operations of these illegal organizations. Moreover, drugs and weapons which are used to physically control slaves are smuggled as well. Drug abuse and the violent, defensive behavior of traffickers leads to violent crimes like murder against victims, investigators and others in the business.
In addition, this form of labour exploitation violates human rights.  According to the International Labour Organization, “Two hundred and forty six million children, one in every six children, aged five to seventeen are involved in child labour.” Also, individuals who are runaways, suffering from debt or experiencing unemployment are usually deceived by the traffickers who promise employment opportunities and rehabilitation in other countries.  Upon arriving at these ‘prospective’ countries, these individuals are forced into prostitution, sexual slavery, forced labour and other forms of servitude.  Additionally, these victims lose their identity since the traffickers provide new working names and confiscate their passports and other important documents.  Moreover,  these ‘slaves’ are sexually abused, beaten, subjected to inhumane living conditions, lack preventative healthcare and deprived of wages after giving the mandatory working hours of a slave from the eighteenth century. Besides these direct forms of abuse, some victims become forcibly addicted to harmful drugs, which when overdosed, cost them their lives.  According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “…slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.  No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Furthermore, human trafficking endangers the victim’s health.  A large percentage of those trafficked are sold into slavery and forced into prostitution as young as eight years old and experience systematic rape along with physical abuse.  As a result, this proliferates the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases while increasing pregnancies and infertility in females.  According to the U.S. Department of State, “Sex trafficking is an engine of the global AIDS epidemic.”  Also, victims are affected by mutilations, malnourishment, pelvic pains and a series of infectious diseases.  Moreover, these ‘slaves’ suffer from depression, stress related disorders, disorientation, phobias and panic attacks thus increasing suicidal attempts.  ‘Slaves’ that become industrial labourers may develop fatal respiratory ailments or numerous cancers due to the hazardous working environment. The successful victims who escape human trafficking also undergo post-traumatic stress disorders.
On the other hand, some may argue that the money circulated is good for the economy and in its provision of cheap labour to factories and industries thus reducing the cost of production, decreasing the price to consumers and hence increasing the sale of products.  However, this is one of the most nonsensical, poorly thought-out theories ever considered. The money spent and earned in human trafficking rarely goes to good cause. It does not benefit the average man or the nations’ economies on a whole. Human trafficking is comparable to global warming. Factory owners in support of human trafficking give money to traffickers and reap major profits from the low cost of production. Then, rather than invest that money into positive industry, more money goes into expanding factories, hence trapping more people into slavery. The money that goes back into the economy may well end up in the hands of human traffickers again. Besides, even if the money did benefit the legally flowing economy, the destruction of millions of lives is not worth the slight monetary gain. Victims are forced to work over eighteen hours a day, seven days a week and are provided with minimum or no wage. Is this really what it takes to get the economy flowing?
Overall, human trafficking is a heinous crime which is detrimental to society and degrades human beings.  This labour exploitation encourages criminal activity, infringes on human rights and places the health of the victims at risk.  Human trafficking is a prevalent issue and no expense must be spared in inhibiting its continuation.  It is an ongoing problem which affects everyone whether or not they are aware of its presence.  According to Maya Angelou, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”









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