Human Trafficking Research Paper Starter

Human Trafficking

This article focuses on human trafficking, which is the sale and trade of people, typically for the purpose of sexual slavery or forced labor. Human trafficking is a serious crime involving the kidnapping, coercion, and exploitation of people. A 2005 report by the International Labor Organization estimated that more than 2.5 million people were being exploited as victims of human trafficking at any time. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and a grave violation of basic human rights.

Keywords "Second Wave" Recruiters; T Visa

Human Trafficking


Lucy Magambi is a survivor of human trafficking who now resides in New Jersey with her husband and children. Several years prior, Lucy's life took a catastrophic turn when, as a Kenyan citizen, she responded to a job advertisement posted by a US resident who was soliciting housekeeping services for which he would pay $200 a month, a figure that she deemed astronomical in contrast to her meager earnings. Looking forward to the opportunity that lay before her, Lucy embarked upon her journey to the United States, although when she arrived she found herself overworked, unpaid, abused, and isolated. Fortunately, Lucy was eventually able to seek asylum through one of Catholic Charities refugee resettlement and human trafficking programs, which helped her locate and reconnect with her son whom she had temporarily left behind in Africa (McNally, 2007).

Due to the illegal and clandestine nature of human trafficking operations, there are divergent statistics on the prevalence of human trafficking. The collection of accurate data on human trafficking figures is extremely difficult. This is exacerbated by the fact that many cases fall below the radar and are never reported. Authors Sally Cameron and Edward Newman estimate that each year 600,000 to 800,000 people are commercially coerced into labor, exploited, and transported between countries against their wills. Cameron and Newman estimate 80 percent of trafficking victims are women and children and 50 percent are minors (2008). Kathryn Farr, on the other hand, indicates that there are up to four million human trafficking victims worldwide (2005). Human trafficking is a corrupt and lucrative system, and the United Nations estimated that human trafficking generates $10 billion a year, of which each trafficker receives approximately $10,000 per victim, depending on their location in the world and the type of work the victims are forced to undertake.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), trafficking in persons is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practice similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Human trafficking affects men and women alike, both of whom are forced into various forms of unpaid labor, including domestic and factory work, as well as construction (Barboza & Chen, 2008; Beydoun, 2006; Preston, 2008). The recruitment of child soldiers is also a form of human trafficking. According to the UNODC, sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form of human trafficking (79 percent), followed by forced labor (18 percent), although the UNODC report acknowledges such data may be slanted due to statistical bias in that sexual exploitation tends to be more visible than forced labor practices and is therefore more frequently reported (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes, 2009). Other forms of human trafficking and exploitation are thought to be significantly underreported, including forced labor, domestic servitude, forced marriage, organ removal, and child begging.

Svitlana Batsyukova differentiates sex slavery from prostitution (2007) in that prostitutes typically engage in their trade voluntarily and are monetarily compensated. Further, the legalization and regulation of prostitution varies between countries, whereas human trafficking and sexual exploitation is unanimously illegal and a blatant violation of basic human rights. Furthermore, victims of trafficking are not reimbursed or paid and are unable to escape their undesirable positions unless they do so surreptitiously, risking brute force or even death.

Further Insights

Victim Profile

Many victims of human trafficking are typically offered employment or other opportunities under false pretenses by traffickers. Traffickers exploit the poverty and hope of vulnerable individuals, enticing them with the opportunity to improve their lives. Human trafficking involves the recruitment and abduction of victims, who are then transferred to the destination where they are isolated and exploited. Although they may initially travel with their trafficker voluntarily, victims of human trafficking are then isolated, coerced, threatened, beaten, and restrained. In international cases of human trafficking, the victims’ identification papers are often destroyed or withheld by traffickers; because of their illegal immigration status in the destination country, many victims of trafficking are made to fear law-enforcement authorities. Victims are often imprisoned in extreme isolation and are dependent upon their captors for food and shelter. Victims are often threatened with violence against themselves or their family members at home.

According to data aggregated by the UNODC, women accounted for 66 percent of trafficking victims identified by authorities in 2006, girls accounted for 13 percent, men represented 12 percent, and boys accounted for 9 percent of identified trafficking victims; however, the UNODC report cautions that this data may be skewed due to local laws and priorities that often focus on child victims and victims of sexual exploitation rather than victims of forced labor, which is the major form of exploitation of adult men. In most reported cases, victims were moved across international borders but not necessarily over long distances; many victims of trafficking were transported into neighboring countries.

The UNODC report identified general patterns of trafficking flows. Europe is the destination for victims from the widest range of origins, while victims from East Asia are trafficked to the widest range of destination countries. East Asian victims of trafficking have been identified in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Most African and Central American victims of trafficking were transported to Europe and North America, while most Central and Eastern European victims were exploited in Western Europe and the Middle East. There are regional differences in the profile of victims as well. In 30 percent of countries that supplied information to the UNODC, child victims were more prevalent than adult victims, particularly in West and Central Africa, the Mekong subregion, and some countries in Central and South America. Adult men and under-aged boys made up a significant number of victims in Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil, where forced labor practices were more prevalent. In Bolivia and Peru, under-aged girls were the...

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