The Ugly Truth of Human Trafficking

Learn about human trafficking

Human trafficking is a global problem where men, women and children are transported for the purposes of slavery, prostitution, forced labor and servitude. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Trafficking victims are usually recruited by using coercion, deception, fraud, abuse of power and outright abduction. The exploitation of people includes an assortment of different things that are forced onto the victims. It can range from sexual exploitation, slavery or similar practices of forced servitude, forced early marriage, recruitment of child soldiers, beggars and even international adoption.

Trafficking is controlled by large criminal organizations in some countries such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and Colombia. The majority of trafficking is done by smaller networks or groups. It is an industry that lures people in because of the promise of profits. Little capital is needed to start up the business and prosecution is relatively rare.

Trafficking of humans is not only illegal, but highly immoral and demeaning to the human life in general. The exact extent of human trafficking is unknown due to the illegal nature and differences in methodology used among traffickers. According to the United States State Department it is estimated that anywhere between 600,000 to 820,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 70 percent are women and girls. Up to 50 percent are minors. The most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the U.S. The major sources of trafficked persons include Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.

There are currently about 10,000 forced laborers in the U.S. The University of California at Berkeley conducted research and found that about 46% of people in slavery in the United States are forced into prostitution. Domestic servitude claims 27%, agriculture 10% and other occupations 17%. Many people think that slavery no longer exists, but that is not true. Slavery still exists today in the form of human trafficking. It is estimated that 14,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

There are efforts to reduce human trafficking. Governments, international associations and non-government organizations have all tried to end human trafficking with various degrees of success. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) established an anti-trafficking mechanism aimed at raising public awareness of the problem and building the political will within states to tackle it effectively. In 2000 the United Nations adopted the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, also called the Palermo Convention which included protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children and protocol against the smuggling of migrants by land, sear and air. Many human rights organizations have campaigned against human trafficking. Several new non-governmental organization and human rights organizations have been formed to combat human trafficking. There have also been several movies which portrayed human trafficking.

There are many horrors of human trafficking. The statistics are not exact because it is hard to know exactly how many people are trafficked worldwide each year. The sad thing is that there is not more done about it and the fact that it is not well known like other problems of the world. In order for human trafficking to stop there needs to be more awareness about the fact that human trafficking is real and is becoming an increasing problem and there need to be more laws against organized crime in the United States and abroad. For more information on human trafficking and what you can do to help prevent it go to www.humantrafficking.org.

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Posted on May 26, 2011
Charlene Collins
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Posted on Aug 5, 2009