Human Trafficking

It's Everywhere and We need to Notice

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“Human trafficking is, quite simply, the exploitation of human beings for profit. It is a scourge that is not defeated by barriers of wealth and influence—trafficking is an immense problem for developed and developing nations alike.”

Anne T. Gallagher, Officer of the Order of Australia, former Advisor on Trafficking to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2013

*U.S.Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

There are three major types of human trafficking:

1)Forced labor, servitude, and slavery

2) Sexual exploitation

3) Organ removal

1) Labor that is coerced and gotten by threats. This is often happens to migrants. This may include bondage in domestic work especially in children. Child labor is huge and is often used in third world countries. Use and requirement of child soldiers is also under this category. Many regimes have used child soldiers to add to their power and strength. Child soldiers are often sexually exploited as well. They are at high risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases.

2) Commercial sex, such as prostitution, as a result of threats and the like. This often happens in debt bondage, where a person cannot pay back, or owes the employer. So the person is asked to pay in sexual favors. Children (under 18) that are under the same conditions for commercial sex are automatically victims of trafficking, even if there is no force or coercion, it is still a crime.

3) Many people in the word need organ transplants. The transplants that actually happen only satisfy 10% of the worlds needs for organs. This creates the illicit market for organs. Many countries around the world have criminalized they buying and selling of organs to prevent such a market. However the need outweighs outweighs the cost. Many of the operations performed to remove the organs of the illegal donor are not sanitary and not professional, causing major health problems in the donor. Many times the donor is trafficked illegally to gain their organs. This leaves them even more vulnerable after the removal of an organ. Many times it is the kidney that is taken out of live donors. After the donation, many victims are forced into labor or sexual acts by the trafficker.

* U.S Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

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Who is being Trafficked?

Most often the person that becomes a victim of trafficking is female. Often times it is a young female or female child. Approximately half of all trafficking victims are adult women. While males are often taken for forced labor or child soldiers, women and young girls are taken mostly for sex trafficking. The number of child victims of trafficking is increasing. The majority of offenders convicted of trafficking are male.

A major community at risk is the LGBT. Many people in the LBGT community are already socially put on the outskirts of society. Many are oppressed and ridiculed publicly. This puts them at a higher risk of being trafficked. Threats of violence are common in this community. Many of the LGBT community are trying to escape social alienation and find the comfort in an employer at first. Eventually the employer uses Psychological methods to break down the person's resistance. The LGBT homeless youth make up 20-40 percent of nation homeless population. The LGBT homeless youth are at a high risk of forced prostitution. The law enforcement needs to be able to handle the specific needs of the LGBT community when a trafficking case emergences.

*Global Report on Human Trafficking, United Nations

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Trafficking Can happen subtly and not be as noticeable

Initially a victim may be aware of poor working conditions, bad pay, and duties of the job that underlies their exploitation. Often victims sign contracts to work for an employer, but be tricked by some of the terms in the contract. This especially happens if the victim isn't fully literate. Often threats of harming family or overwhelming debts force them to continue the work. If any coercion methods have been used, victim consent is irrelevant. With children the proof coercion isn't needed and the child is automatically a victim of human trafficking.It is hard to define the line of consent, especially in adults. Many cases haven't been through a full trial because not enough evidence was present to convict the trafficker

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

For The Record: Human Trafficking in the United States

Major Sporting Events Huge for Sex Trafficking

Major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or March Madness are huge for sex trafficking. In the United states the Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking and March Madness the biggest week. Many organizations have made steps to combat the human trafficking during these times. One such campaign was the End It Movement launched in 2013 at the Final Four Basketball Tournament in Atlanta. Training has occurred to make the law enforcement and volunteers of such events more able to see indicators of human trafficking and identify victims.

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

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What can we do in the U.S.?

-Increase screening for victims, look for at risk youth, detained individuals, persons with disabilities

-Support agencies that provide victim services

-Listen and collaborate with victims to help improve programs, policies and strategies

-Make sure the people of the United States have the right definition and knowledge of Human trafficking

-Have the Media tell stories of different types of trafficking besides sex trafficking

-Don't just look for the numbers but also the victim stories

-Find out what your community is doing and get connected

-Be aware of the Psychological effects trafficking has on a victim

-Turn a victim into a survivor

The main problem in the United States isn't the law enforcement or the laws in place, but rather the media and the way it portrays human trafficking. The people of the United States are given false views and therefore don't think that human trafficking is a big issue in the U.S. A huge step forward would be to get the information on what the United States government defines human trafficking as and ways they are combating it. The U.S. government has made the information public, but it is up to the people to look into it. Transparency only works if the people of the U.S. look into what the U.S. government is doing.

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

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Victims of Human Trafficking

-Many victims of human trafficking are tried as criminals and charged with theft, prostitution, etc. Many victims of human trafficking are not properly screened after a crime is committed. Many victims are forced to do criminal acts through threats and coercion. The victims are not seen as victims but rather criminals. This needs to change. Victims of human trafficking should not be held responsible to the criminal acts that they were forced to do while under the dominion of their "employer". Law enforcement and judicial officials should look into what really went on in these criminal instances and check if there was human trafficking involved. It is however, difficult sometimes to distinguish when there is a victim of human trafficking involved. It is especially hard for the victim to be upfront in stating what they have been through and endured.

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

Seeing Justice

It is a government's obligation to confront modern slavery. They alone can prosecute the suspects responsible. The government needs to make it clear that trafficking is a crime and will be punished as such. For a victim, seeing the the person that held them in slavery get their due justice can have a major effect positively, to their recovery process. Also with the knowledge that their enslaver is behind bars and can no longer harm another, the victim feels safer and its easier for them to overcome the trauma they have endured.

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

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Pope Francis 2013

"I exhort the international community to adopt an even more unanimous and

effective strategy against human trafficking, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end."

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

Immediate Needs of Victim

Victims of trafficking have been through not only physical abuse but also psychological and or sexual abuse. In the aftermath of trafficking many programs treat the victim until their physical abuse is healed. This is a huge mistake. The after effects of the victim can last for a lot longer than the time period of physical healing. Victim services needs to recognize that it will be hard having confidence and making decisions as a victim. Sending the victim off right away after a few nights in a shelter will damage the internal healing process. Also shelters may need to provide translators for the victims that don't know English very well.

A Place To Stay

After a victim is liberated, they need a secure and safe place to gather themselves and to recover. A victim needs to feel the independence to make his or her own decisions. Many shelters for victims feel like a detention center. Many of these centers have other residents that often don't get along well with the victims of trafficking. This is caused by the criminal acts that the victim was forced to be part of during their imprisonment. A shelter that is welcoming and is more of a come and go as you see fit, would better suit the needs of a victim of human trafficking. For a child victim there will need to be more restrictions and and a firm structure. It is important for the government to partner with international organizations and civil society groups to fully meet the needs of the victim, and to help them with the process of victim to survivor. This may be a long term type of situation for many victims. It is impertinent for programs to be flexible in meeting the needs of the victim.

*U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report 2014

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Indigenous People

In North America especially, aboriginal Canadian and American Indian ,women and girls, are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. In the unique situation where culture clashes with the government it is important to have trafficking prevention efforts that are culturally sensitive. The government needs to work side by side with the culturally communities to empower them to identify and respond to human trafficking.

Human Trafficking: Two false hoods and two truths

False hood:Human trafficking and human smuggling are the same thing

Truth: Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling. “Trafficking” is based on exploitation and doesn't require movement across borders. “Smuggling” stems from and involves moving a person across a country’s border without consent, which is a violation of immigration laws. Human smuggling often turns into trafficking if the the person smuggling uses force, fraud, or coercion to detain people against their will for labor or sexual exploitation.The federal law states that every minor encouraged to participate in a commercial sex act is a clear victim of human trafficking.

False hood : Trafficking victims will , most likely try to seek help when in public.
Truth: Human trafficking is a crime that usually stays hidden. Victims are often afraid to come forward and get help; they may be forced or coerced by threats or violence; they may fear punishment from their captors, including putting their families in danger; and they are probably not in possession or control of their own identification documents.

*Homeland Security: Blue campaign