Human Trafficking

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Sex trafficking in men, women, and children has resulted in the development of policies and prevention programs in order to reduce the alarming rates of human trafficking in America. The global problem of sex trafficking has received increased attention in recent years. Human trafficking is the most lucrative sex industry on the planet. Though this is a cost-effective scheme, at what stage does the benefit outweigh the cost of human lives and respect? Many people believe that sex trafficking only affects women. However, men, teenagers, children, and even transgender people are victims of sex trafficking. This essay will elaborate more the definition of human trafficking the methods used to conduct it and the solution to this problem

Over the years, the definition of trafficking has been altered and redefined.In 2009 as defined by (Seo-Young et al.), the US State Department stated that human traffic is enlisting, transporting, protecting, or obtaining of an individual for amenities, through force, pressure or fraud with the aim of subjecting them into instinctive peonage, servitude slavery, or debt bondage (p. 172). Sometimes, the term “human trafficking” may be confused as the trafficking of individuals for sex, but human smuggling includes both sex trading and other ways of traffic, such as forced toil. Human trafficking is a dismissive practice that violates the Human Rights Act.

When human trafficking comes to mind, I cannot help but think about governmental interference. Sure, the government has implemented various laws to prohibit the spread of human trafficking in the United States, but as it was previously stated this s a worldwide international sex system. This would require other nations and nation-states to pass constitutions to cease human trafficking. The prevalence of the sex trade is excellent, and evidently, sex trafficking is a significant percentage of the total persons in forced labor. As quoted by (Lee), the U.N Offices on Crime and Drug found in a global assessment of 155 countries that the most protuberant method of trafficking is commercial sex mistreatment, (p. 275). Not only is sex exploitation a significant part of trafficking as a whole, but it is an industry that is increasing. This fact is one that is not hard to prove, and is supported by a statement by Lee that broad choices of academics and researcher acknowledge that illegal human trafficking of people is an increasing social phenomenon, (p. 331).

The Need of the Prostitute

There are many different stigmas and opinions when it comes to trafficking, and one thing that dramatically influences those perspectives is prostitution. Most people would say that a prostitute chooses her destiny and wants to be on that street corner or in that brothel, but other evidence shows that the majority of prostitutes wish nothing more than to get out of the sex trade. As shared by Ryan Mackle, a producer of the upcoming documentary De Alas Rotas, a middle-aged white man once yelled at him outside of a brothel in Costa Rica saying “I’m getting what I want, and she’s getting what she wants,” (p.1155). The man was referring to the women in the brothel, and it may be assumed that what he meant to say is that the woman wants to be there because she wants his money. That man is correct in many senses, but the fact that many women end up in prostitution because of their financial need does not translate into her desire to be a prostitute, which will be further expanded upon in a later section.

For now, a more significant depth of the financial needs of women must be sought because of its effect on the sex industry. Although the previously stated comments came from a focus on Latin America, if the Eastern Hemisphere is also observed, you will find the same problem. Darla Schumm (2008) wrote about the issue in Thailand and talks about how the family of a poor, illiterate woman “may depend on her earnings to survive,” while explaining this woman’s reason for prostitution (p. 481). These comments help convey the globally prominent reason for why women go to the streets. From the evidence above, it can be concluded that women around the world have a lack of resources to the point that they decide to use their bodies as a means of survival.

The Prevalence of Fatherless and Abused Children

Many children in the world today are growing up without fathers, or with a father who harms them more than helps them. A deep connection has been discovered between fatherless, abused children and prostitution. There is much more evidence of this root problem. For example, MacKinnon (2012) found that a significant precondition for those who enter into prostitution in most countries is sexual abuse, and even stated that “no one can deny that most women enter the sex industry with previously violated childhoods” (pp. 279 & 298). In an interview with a 14-year-old girl in a rehabilitation program in Honduras, she said that when her step-father abused her as a 5-year old, and when she started living on the streets, there were times where she would go 3 or 4 days without eating. She told the De Alas Rotas film team, “I slept in the street. It wasn’t easy.

There came the point where I wanted to prostitute myself because I had nothing to eat. Wherever I went, they would say ‘here comes the drug addict, here comes the prostitute, and many other things,” (Schumm 178). This young girl gave a personal account that serves as evidence that many who end up in prostitution come from abusive pasts. The prevalence of fatherlessness and abuse not only affects the number of women entering into prostitution and being trapped in sex slavery, but it also has an enormous impact on males. According to Davidson (2009), the sex culture in Thailand is something that fathers perpetuate and pass on to future generations, (p. 22). This perpetuated cycle appears not only to occur in Thailand but internationally. It is one that tells boys it is okay to objectify women, and even the abuse of a boy in his childhood can influence his future as a father and male figure.

Not only does abuse and fatherlessness play a substantial contributing factor towards the decrease in self-value, but the lack of fathers sustains the problem from the area of finances as well. Mothers are left without a man to provide and take responsibility for providing for the family. In many cases, moms choose to sell one of their children to take care of the rest of them. A woman fighting the sex trade in Honduras shared a story about a mother who let two unknown men take her 12-year old daughter to sell clothing in the streets supposedly but found out that the men were selling the girl for sex, (Schumm 192).

For people who did not grow up in a home or region of the world where sexual abuse in the family is common, or where most men leave once a woman is pregnant, it may be difficult to understand why these victims do not only tell someone about it. It does not seem to make sense why a young girl or boy who is abused would not say another trusted relative, but this lack of denunciation is also something prevalent. It is a part of the fact that many cultures have an attitude of tolerance that promotes the industry, as explained by Shared Hope International when talking about countries that seem to flourish the most in the sex trade (as cited in Kotrla, p. 182).

As this issue grows and is known to have been existence for a very long time, there are a few key factors that maintain its presence and will now be discussed. To analyze human trafficking in a political scope, most women go into human trafficking because of the government rules that are in place in Third World countries. Women are often put into compromising positions. Women in Third World countries are often forced into trafficking, prostitution, and sex slavery because most cultures do not open nor believe in political, social and economic stability and growth for women (Seo-Young et al., 344). Because of this many are taught the way to survive is to be introduced to human trafficking and due to this mentality, many women believe this is the only way they can make a living.

There have been many laws created in decreasing the rates of human trafficking of men, women, and children in America. Sex trafficking is defined as an individual being forced into sexual exploitation. This includes but is not limited to, prostitution, pornography, stripping, sex tourism and so forth. The most common purpose is for exploitation and forced labor. As stated women are not the only gender involved in sex trafficking. Men also dominate in numbers. Male sex trafficking victims are rare in comparison to women and children. However, 12 percent of the victims of human sex trafficking are males. Women are the dominant gender in sex trafficking. Of the 800 thousand people being trafficked throughout the United States, 80 percent are women. Children make a total of 50 percent of sexual exploitation. This research study will reveal the disheartening and provocative truth about the sex trafficking industry.

There are various methods of coercion, recruitment, and enslavement when it comes to this growing industry. According to Immordino, & Russo (210), most victims of sex trafficking are promised a high paying job. Citizens who are brought to America from other countries are pledged to an education or citizenship. This is merely an example of how easy it is to be introduced into the human trafficking industry. An individual is guaranteed an opportunity, but in compromise of that change their body is up for grabs. Also, there is sometimes a family arrangement to introduce individuals to sex trafficking. Many individuals are sexually exploited by their parents, spouses and other family members.

There is also a large population who are kidnapped and forced into the industry. Even though these particular circumstances exist to force them into human trafficking, there are those who decided to go into the production at their prerogative. They willfully choose to be trafficked for various cognitive, social and emotional reason; nonetheless, vulnerability is how most enter the industry. There are also other methods to recruit sex traffickers. Some women unknowingly marry a sex recruiter. She then becomes the wife of a recruiter and introduced to commercial sex. Many ask, “Why do the women stay?” There are different implications as to why the women stay. Most women stay because they are frightened to leave because she wants to protect herself and protect her family. Much of that does not go into consideration when many ask “why do the women stay?” The frightened feeling is mostly felt by women in comparison so male sex slaves. When women try to leave the trafficking system, they are subjected to rape and even murder (Immordino, & Russo 222).

In the U.S, traffickers often have organized international crime connections that include networking up to the victim’s home country. They also can threaten the victim’s families in their home countries. These threats usually are quite active at controlling the victim’s life (Rieger 207). Over the years various laws and prevention strategies have been passed to stop the growth at which humans are trafficked. The act that protects the Victims mandates restitution be paid to human trafficking and protects victims as well as the survivors of human trafficking (Polaris 337). The Mann constitution was implemented in 1910 and amended in 1978. The act forbids the movement of small children, and the compulsion of grown-ups to traverse remote or nation’s state lines, for motivations behind connecting with productive sex activities. Both crimes are culpable of a quarter century jail, with improved discipline choices for the transportation of a minor.

The PROTECT act was another law that was implemented to protect children. Other Tools as well as the Prosecutorial Remedies fight to End, the mistreatment of Children. In the current times, the law heightened significant penalties for those people using kids in sex tourism both inside the U.S and in different nations. Also, The Amber Alert System was created for various strategies for alarming the general population of absent, misused, and kidnapped youngsters; and stipends for transitional lodging for child casualties of rape (Polaris, 416). Many are unaware that sex trafficking is a felony. You can serve about 15 years in prison. California has the highest numbers of sex trafficking in the U.S. Due to this California created a state law. The AB 22 Protection Act (Trafficking Victims) of 2005, stated recognized human trading for constrained work or administrations as a lawful offense deserving a sentence of three to five years in the state jail as well as of up to eight years if a minor was a victim (Rieger 230)

Though many acts were implemented many still smuggled foreigners in, or force others into the human trafficking business. There are different punishments for involuntary servitude, debt, bondage, coercion, and commercial sex. When it comes to discipline the government sends in the FBI investigators, they have accompanied state, local, tribal and federal agencies. The following organizations help the FBI conduct investigations. The Enhanced Cooperative Model to Combat Human Anti-Trafficking management team, trafficking agency, and the Human Trafficking Task Force (Phelps 162). The primary goal of the involvement of these organizations is to recover the victims and remove them from the environment they were once in. While eliminating the victims, they offer short-term possessions such as food, shelter, and clothing (Phelps 216).They also give long-term solutions such as education assistance, job training, and counseling (Phelps 278).

Now that there are acts in place one would think that human trafficking would slow down, well that has not been the case. There are implementations strengths and weaknesses in every law that is passed. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act works to prevent sex trading and strengthen families by providing a better child welfare system and reporting mission children who run away or have been suspected of missing. This is a strength of the act. What varies when it comes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, is that each state has different penalties and sanctions for traffickers (Pullins & Haar 314). This is a weakness because human trafficking regarding consequences can be lighter or harsher when it comes to convictions depending on the state (i.e., in California, there is a light punishment for rape and kidnapping.) This has been a criticism of the government and lawmaking. Many argue that the government is very “lenient” in particular states and there should be a more extensive punishment for specific crimes (Pullins & Haar 420).

How can human trafficking laws be better implemented? All states should have regulations, consequences, and policies regarding sex trafficking. Also, law enforcement should have a significant part in human trafficking. First, law enforcement should understand the system of human trafficking. There was a study done that showed that some law enforcers were not well informed of the method of human trafficking (Hoang & Nelson 145). With this being said the question follows when one is not knowledgeable in a particular area how do we expect for them to diminish the growing industry of human trafficking? By law enforcement increasing knowledge they will be able to identify and respond to the victims appropriately. Secondly, law enforcement should understand the role they play in human trafficking.

Law enforcement could profit incredibly from a superior comprehension of human trafficking so that knowledge may influence the lives of human trafficking casualties. Third, law enforcement ought to have the capacity to create, refine and share law requirement protocol to distinguishing human trafficking casualties and reaction procedure (Hoang & Nelson 210). Last, law enforcement should look to increase joint effort among law requirement (Federal, State, and nearby), prosecutors, and casualty specialist co-ops. When you are trying to change a problem that is affecting areas everywhere, the first place to start is to start locally.


Human trafficking is a crime that can hurt men, women, children, families and so forth. It can destroy people inside and out. There have been many laws established that try to decrease the rates of human trafficking and prevent this crime from occurring altogether. One of the significant implementations have been added to federal and state policies, and legislation is helping victims to recover. The fastest way this problem may begin to will be when the causes are changed. When boys are taught to respect others when sex is no longer perceived as a commodity when girls are raised understanding that they have value, and when children are no longer abused and used by their family members for pleasure or financial income, this issue will start to go away. There will always be a man who wants to buy a girl, and someone willing to fulfill his desire for money as long as that man does not value himself or that girl, no law can change that. In looking at all of the causes and role-players, it all comes down to value.

Works Cited

Davidson, B. (2009). Bound to the sex trade: Bangkok’s red-light districts. Christian Century, 126(16), 22-25.

Hoang, K. B., & Nelson, C. Raising human trafficking awareness and education among medical residents. Academic Pediatrics. Vol. 16, No.6, 2016 pp. 137-260.

Immordino, G., & Russo, F. F. Laws and stigma: the case of prostitution. European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 40, No.2, 2015, 209-223.

Lee, M. (Ed.). Human and sex trafficking. Routledge. 2013, pp. 205-350

Mackle, R. (April 26, 2013). Personal communication. Utah Law Review, 2010(4), 1143-1188.

MacKinnon, C. (2012). Trafficking, prostitution, and inequality. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 47(1), 271-309.

Phelps, S. B. Fighting human trafficking: US trafficking response efforts and immigration policy. Dartmouth College and systems that have been created for human trafficking victims and perpetrators. 2013, pp. 150-300

Pullins, A. J., & Haarr, R. Rescuing victims of human trafficking: Strategies and solutions. Eastern Kentucky University. 2016, pp. 310-450

Rieger, April. The trafficking victim’s protection act fails to protect sex trafficking victims in the united states.” missing the mark: why the trafficking victim’s protection act fails to protect sex trafficking victims in the United States. Federal Laws. 2010, pp. 200-314

Seo-Young, C; Dreher, A.; & Neumayer, E. “What is human trafficking?” World Development. No. 4, 2013, pp. 167-382.

Schumm, D. (2008). Rethinking Christian missions: Said’s Orientalism and Christian missionary responses to prostitution in Thailand. Missiology: An International Review, 36(4), 125-489.

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