Human trafficking is a global issue that faces many countries in the world. Human trafficking involves a secretly transportation of victims across borders and sold like commodities or trafficked within countries. The vast majority of victims or targets of human trafficking are women and children. In most cases women and children are lured into other certain areas or countries with promises of jobs, education or marriage only to be sold and exploited in any form of slavery, whether sexual exploitation or labor exploitation. War, poverty, gender inequality, are some of the push factors leading to trafficking of women, men and children. In most cases countries suffering from these conditions, bear individuals who are desperate to leave their home countries for better lives abroad either they are promised by the traffickers or their own personal motive of relocating to another place/area or country or this is a misconception that many people have before they become victims of trafficking. Traffickers prey on the desperation of people who are in dire situations and make false promises of bringing them to a new country where a better life that the victims are desperately longing for. Once a person agrees to follow willingly, they are indebted to traffickers. Human trafficking has become an issue that affect the whole world and there have been multiple definitions to human trafficking and strategies or protocols that were implemented in fighting this dominant discourse of human trafficking. One of the protocols is the Palermo protocol.
The Palermo Protocol is the Protocol that was implemented to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime with the internationally accepted definition of human trafficking. This Protocol was signed by the United Kingdom on 14 December 2000 and ratified on 9 February 2006. It provides a definition of trafficking which has since become a widely accepted standard and used in other international instruments. It also outlines protection for victims.
Article 3 of the Protocol defines trafficking as:
(a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean 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 practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs; (b) The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) have been used; (c) The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered “trafficking in persons” even if this does not involve any of the means set forth in subparagraph (a) of this article; (d) “Child” shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.
Trafficking breaks down into three elements:
1. The act (what is done) ‘Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons’;
2. The means (how it is done) ‘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’;
3. The purpose (why it is done) ‘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 practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs’ (Note there is no requirement for the purpose to have been achieved, so a person who is rescued before exploitation occurs is still a victim of trafficking.
Human Trafficking as a modern day from of slavery
There have been different perceptions with regards to the ending of slavery in the 1900. Many theories have been made whether slavery ended or it failed to emancipation or the abolishment of slavery was unsuccessful. When human trafficking came into existence, how it was conducted led to a belief that slavery did not end but changed it form. They are many forms of modern slavery that were recognized within societies. Modern form of slavery is defined as a Purposes of exploitation which can range from forced prostitution and forced labour to forced marriage and forced organ removal. The most common form of modern slavery can include child trafficking, child soldiers, child marriage and child domestic slavery. Modern form of slavery involves denying someone’s human rights. It violates the fundamental rights of persons to life, liberty and the security of the person and to be free from slavery in all its forms. Based on child’s concerns, it undermines he rights of a child to grow up in the protective environment with a family and to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation and restricted from the right to education and it also damages the child’s psychology.
Human trafficking is regarded as a modern form of slavery which is thriving as a result of its profitability and it is the high profit that continues to fuel the trade of human beings worldwide. Humans are trafficked mainly for the economic reasons or gains as they are sold as commodities for various types of work such as sexual exploitation, labour exploitation as well as in armed conflicts (Mashiyi, 2010:41). It is regarded as modern form of slavery as it dehumanise a person, victims lose their dignity and identity in some cases especially when they are moved into different places so they cannot be recognised or traced their traffickers provide them with false identity documents where they have new names or details and there is a sense of ownership as the traffickers believe they own their victims and their jobs is to make profits for their bosses (trafficker). Human trafficking is a part of illegal migration and organised crime as it involves a number of actions and may include recruiters, intermediaries, transporters, employers of brothel/inn operators and sometimes even families (Mashiyi, 2010:42).
Poverty as a push factor for human trafficking
Poverty drives people to extremes. Desperate situations lead to desperate solutions. But in many cases, trafficking feeds off not extreme poverty, but disparity of wealth. In other words, someone relatively poor knows there are richer countries out there, where they could earn more money, and this kindles a desire to migrate. This, in turn leaves them vulnerable to the wiles of traffickers offering them an easy route into that ‘dream country’ only to find a horrifying life of slavery waiting for them. Poverty is a great fore that drives an individual to think the unthinkable and do the undoable. The desperate need for money and the lack of alternate means and ways to generate income creates an environment where a faint-hearted individual an easily succumb to the temptation of wealth that a sex industry has to offer (Chalke, 2009:73).
Poverty has been one of the most push factor in the modern slavery. People living in poverty are the ones at high risk of being victims of trafficking as they have a desire to escape poverty that they are sometimes forced into doing anything to survive, some even end up signing themselves over to the traffickers without being aware of the implications or whatsoever just because they were promised a small heaven on earth. Poverty has resulted into human trafficking by the lack of education that the victims of trafficking have, which leads to people not knowing about the dangers of human trafficking and so, are more easily duped by the pimps, having no other options but menial jobs, and often these are ‘maid’ jobs in cities, or foreign countries and so one of the only other options available for uneducated girls, (these are often, again ploys used to get the girls), sometimes parents sell their own children to support themselves. Parents also fall into the trap of traffickers who promise better lives abroad for their children, and parents will unknowingly give their children to traffickers and sometimes with the consent of the victims themselves because they have no idea of what going on besides being promised a better world. ‘Sex’ is considered one of the cheap pleasures in third world countries such as India, it has been reported that men have payed half a dollar for a session with a girl. At those prices, it is almost guaranteed that the girl is a victim of human trafficking. Traffickers exploit the aspirations of those living in poverty and seeking a better life, using dramatic improvements in transport and communication to sell women and children into institutions of forced labor and sexual slavery with virtually no risk of prosecution (Mashiyi, 2010:39). In a society in which poverty is present, local law enforcement and other relative individuals are more susceptible to corruption and bribes, therefore decreasing the likelihood of prosecution to those involved. Poverty creates necessity. Poverty stricken nations are generally more subject to unemployment, and therefore increases the likelihood of people turning to crime in order to fulfil their needs.
Nearly all causes for human trafficking are in some way or another linked to poverty.
Due to the poor economic conditions in their States of origin, many people migrate to develop States in order to seek better opportunities. Poverty affects economic, social and cultural rights, such as rights to work, food, housing, adequate standard of health, and education. Civil and political rights such as life. Liberty and security are also affected by poverty (Obokata, 2006:122).
The pervasive Gender inequality as a push factor for human trafficking
There are many discernible groups which are at greater risk of succumbing to human trafficking. The feminisation of poverty and the marginalisation of certain groups and the sex industry contribute heavily to the supply side. Gender discrimination is the reason why women turn to traffickers. They are marginalised economically, socially and politically in many parts of the world and therefore are unable to enjoy many basic rights enjoyed by men. Violence against women, as well as traditional family structures, which subordinate women sexually or otherwise, also promote their movement (Obokata, 2006:123). The demand for the inexpensive labour and sexual services in the destination countries and the significant amount of money to be made, stimulate the trade. The most vulnerable groups is composed of socially and economically abused women and children or minors, who live in an information vacuum without any real options in life. There is high demand of women and girls in sex industries which lead to women and minors being trafficked for sexual purposes (Jonsson, 2009:4-5).
The modern day form of slavery has its own target or a specific group of people trafficked. These are in particular women and children of both sexes. Women and children are the highest target market of human trafficking leading to existence of gender inequality in the modern day slavery. The most vulnerable are those without parents, from orphanages, homeless or disabled including young women who have either just finished their education and entering the labour market or those who with low education level, who do not have a stable job or a steady source of income, with a low-paying job, with many children or are single mothers, who work as prostitutes or working in a risky sector such as entertainment industry or those who intend to work abroad. This also include women who have been abused or beaten by family members as they are inclined to turn to risky behaviour due to psychological shock and post-traumatic stress disorder (Jonsson,2009:117-118). Gender inequality does not only encourage the migration of women but also support a profitable market for a trade in human labour.
Trafficking in girls and women has easily become the modern parallel to the Atlantic slave trade. Women ate the most vulnerable victims or exposed to trafficking. They are the target market in this so called industry. Women who are denied property rights, economic rights and participation in the political process are at a higher risk of being trafficked. In many countries where there is less investment in education, women tend to be provided with fewer opportunities for advancement (Jonsson, 2009:17). Women are deprived of opportunities than men and are sad to be the most vulnerable, weak species of humanity than men which causes them to be the target of human trafficking. Young women are lured with promises of good jobs and a beginning of a new life. But all that changes when they get there. There are beaten up, raped and forced into prostitution. Their traffickers who made promises and smuggled them unto the country usually in most cases they take away their passports and force them to work in the street. “Drug syndicates reportedly do not only traffic women for prostitution, but also push them into the drug business, using them as carriers and users” (Best Practice,2003:11).These women are kept in a secret place where they are drugged that they do not recognise even themselves or lose any power to escape and they become so addicted to this drugs that they themselves become submissive to their traffickers and willing to do anything just to get that dose of a drug and somehow feel ‘normal’ as that is the life they have been introduced too. They tend to lose hope and give up on life and accept what they have been dragged into. When this girls or young women are sent to work the street as prostitutes, usually they have a pimp who monitor their every move and they ate brought to their spot or place blindfolded so they could not know the route home in they try to escape and there are not even allowed to talk to anyone unless it a client. Their living conditions are very bad as they are locked up during the day, beaten if they do not work hard enough, and rarely see any of the money they earn but fed with drugs (Doezema, 2010:2).
What is an issue is that trafficked women because of their inability to have the legal status of protected workers, are outside the realm of law. Trafficked women do not have work permits and therefore have none of the salary, health, or pension benefits accorded to legal workers. Their legal status drives them underground into a world in which they are paid less, suffer greater risks and have no security for the future (Jonsson, 2009:21). The security of women in their communities is not addressed or lacks. When the law fails to protect and promote the rights of women, trafficking is facilitated.
A child means every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier (UNICEF, article1). Child trafficking refers to the transport of a child from one place to another, whether within or across country-borders, where the traffickers experiences economic, or any other form of gain resulting from this movement. This process can be described as a transaction, regardless of whether or not money was exchanged at the time the child was handed over (Mashiyi, 2010:7).
Socio-economic and demographic factors has played a significant role in the rise if the incidents of child trafficking. Debt and economic decline has played placed millions below the poverty line, making children and their families more vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Children are trafficked mainly for economic gains as they are sold as commodities for various types of work such ad sexual exploitation, labour exploitation as well as arm conflicts. “States parties recognise that the right of the child is to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development” (Mashiyi,2010:9). Sale of children means any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group to another for remuneration or any other consideration, child prostitution means the use of child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration, child pornography means any representation, by whatever means of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes (Mashiyi,2010:11).
The worst forms of child labour are all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflicts, the use of procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances, the use, procuring or offering of child for illicit activities in particular for the production and trafficking in drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties, work which by its nature or circumstances in which it caned out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children (Mashiyi,2010:13).
Women and children exposed to such stress are particularly susceptible to the deception of traffickers. Furthermore, women and children who have lost their parents have been deprived of their economic and psychological support structures. They often have no immediate family to protect them from traffickers. Therefore, their initial victimisation leads to their subsequent victimisation. “This is the case in most region of the world, but it has occurred in particularly large numbers with the large scale conflicts in Africa, in South-East Asian areas such as Myanmar and Nepal, and in central America” (Jonsson,2009:17). Women’s right are repressed and vulnerable children are subject to exploitation, denying them a viable future.
Conflict or Political instability as a push factor for human trafficking
Conflict or political instability such as war has been one causes of the modern day form of slavery. Conflict or political instability has caused people to leave their countries other countries seeking for safety. It is a push factor as many people migrate from their countries because of the conditions that forces them such as war, conflict or political instability. Migration is a relatively permanent moving away of a collectively, called migrants, from one geographical location to another, preceded by decision-making on the part of the migrants on the basis of a hierarchically ordered set of values or valued ends and resulting in changes in the interactional system of the migrants (Hamsen & Oliver-Smith,1982:2). The relatively permanent moving away, differentiates migration from population mobility, to be considered a migration, a movement must be include a relatively permanent change of isolated individuals but a collective movement of people who are related, sometimes as families, communities, or nations, sometimes through sharing status sets and normative orientations.
Conflict or political instability is one of the push factors of human trafficking as it involves forced migration and impelled migration. In forced migration, migrants do not retain any power to decide whether or not to leave whereas in impelled migration, they retain some power. In both classes the migrants are largely passive their will being unimportant compared to the socio political institutions that demand and direct the population movement such conflict or political instability. Any type of migration expresses a need or desire to relieve or redress some problem or failure in the present location which leads to human trafficking (Hamsen & Oliver-Smith, 1982:3). Migrants are forced to leave their present location seeking for a better location and therefore become victims of human trafficking as they are new people from that certain new area and they tend to be vulnerable in that they will do anything for their safety. Traffickers take advantage of migrants as they are aware of their forced conditions that pushed them away from their countries and how vulnerable they are. Conflict or political instability is a push factor to human trafficking as in most cases it sometimes lead to trafficking of children for war purposes. Children are kidnapped and sent to places where they are trained to become soldiers at a very young age. It involves the forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflicts. Conflict or political instability has led to the causes of trafficking in issues such as the abuse of power, corruption of authorities, discrimination, and state failure to protect civil, political, economic and social rights. In most cases, the disruption of traditional community life, along with its protective framework, and the resulting displacement of persons make people extremely vulnerable to exploitation. Millions of fugitives from territories torn apart from war depend from the help of international organizations. And many of them try to escape to more secure countries, paying to others for them to be smuggled, but everything they receive is a place in the labyrinth of modern slavery.
Human trafficking has a devastating effects which victims may take a lifetime to recover from and children’s lives can be easily shattered by a trafficking experiences. Despite the many prohibitions against trafficking in the form of international as well as national pieces of legislation, international networks that market women and children or prostitution continues to thrive as trafficking in persons is a multibillion dollar industry. Organised human trafficking involves issues of both state and human security. It threatens to undermine the democratic values of, inter alia, equality, transparency, protection of social and economic rights, and the rules of law in both sending and receiving countries (Jonsson, 2009:7).Trafficking in Human Beings has always been connected to migration. It doesn’t matter if it’s transnational or internal, modern slavery and its traffickers in regrutation methods has always taken advantage of people’s wish for a better life abroad. Through the many factors that influence on the trafficking process such as the factors mentioned above, we can see the close connection between every area of society. They are not the main ones that are “guilty” for trafficking resurrection, but surely they give their contribution on the crime.
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