Through the Looking Glass of Human Trafficking

By: Makhissa Sano

According to City and County of San Francisco Human Rights Commission, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring 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 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.” . In other words it is an action of transporting a person from one place into another place without choice to do trafficking of some type. The Ratiu Center for Democracy (Romania) is making great efforts to campaign against human trafficking.

Although human trafficking is used frequently to describe different situations mostly sexual labor, there are names for those types of situations. For example the different types according to Human Rights Commission are, “Domestic Servitude, Agricultural Work, Manufacturing, Janitorial Work, Hotel services, Construction, Prostitution, Exotic Dancers, Hair and Nail Salons, Health and Elder Care.” But if we were to group all of these it would be divided into three groups. The three groups are sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage. These are the most common types of human trafficking we see today. 

The first category sex trafficking is the transportation of a person by force or threat from place to place be sold to the buyers who supply the market with their money, to fulfill another’s sexual needs. The person who sells these victims are the traffickers who exploit their victims to earn money from buyers. The victims who are bough and sold for profit, usually in sexual trafficking are women and girls but the common age for a child to enter sexual trafficking is fourteen to sixteen year olds http://sharedhope.org/the-problem/what-is-sex-trafficking/. In today’s society it seems that people get prostitution and sex trafficking mixed up.  “Prostitution is the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment”.Prostitution is more of a job that someone can choose to do and sexual trafficking is more coercion.

The second category according to human trafficking Search, “Forced labor is work or service that is extorted from someone under the menace of any penalty and work or service that the person has not offered voluntarily.” .  Some victims end up in situations like these to to seek a better opportunity for themselves and get out of a situation that they’re in. Which can also tie into debt bondage because they could forced into labor to pay off the money they couldn’t pay. A “Debt bondage is a type of forced labor, involving a debt that cannot be paid off in a reasonable time.” . So the victims end up being under the authority of another person because of the debt they have.

Some might say, “ oh well how come they can’t escape” or “why did they fall for it in the first place”. It’s easy to say that but to do it in a situation like that is totally different.

Although these three categories have differences they also share some similarities. What all three have in common is they all tie into the psychological and legal reasons for why human trafficking exist.

Barbara Amaya an award winning author, advocate, trainer, speaker and survivor of human trafficking talks about the legal reasons of why human trafficking exist in her blog. “Human trafficking does not only exist because people are vulnerable. Human trafficking is fueled by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex services. Human traffickers exploit and manipulate others in order to profit from demand.” . What Barbara Amaya mean is human trafficking exist because people are wanting other people to meet their own special needs or work that are not being fulfilled by themselves so they rather pay. This kind of  action is modern day slavery. The demand is one of the big factors that contributes to human trafficking existing in the United States and it continues to thrive because of several of reasons.  “Low Risk: When the public is unaware of this issue, when governments lawmakers and community institutions are not trained to respond, when there are ineffective or out of date laws to address the crime, when services for victims do not exist, and when law enforcement does not prosecute the crime, human traffickers see no reason to stop their criminal operations.High Profits: When individuals are willing to buy commercial sex, they create a market and make it profitable for traffickers to sexually exploit children and adults.When consumers are willing to buy goods and services from industries that rely on forced labor, they create a profit incentive for labor traffickers to make money.” . A trafficker can sell someone for hundreds of times tie but can only sell a certain amount of cocaine or number of guns before needing to restock.

Now looking at the psychology aspect of why human trafficking people being vulnerable plays a big role in it. “People are vulnerable to human trafficking for various reasons.  People who are in a new country, who don’t speak the language, who believe they have no rights, who are desperate to leave their place of origin are perfect bait for traffickers.  Even our own citizens are vulnerable.  Teens, especially those who are escaping bad home lives are often naïve about their rights and about the different helping systems.  The most marginalized members of our community – newly-arrived foreigners, and youth on the street – are vulnerable due to lack of social support and our willingness to overlook their need.”Although these three categories have differences they also share some similarities. What all three have in common is they all tie into the psychological and legal reasons for why human trafficking exist.

Barbara Amaya an award winning author, advocate, trainer, speaker and survivor of human trafficking talks about the legal reasons of why human trafficking exist in her blog. “Human trafficking does not only exist because people are vulnerable. Human trafficking is fueled by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex services. Human traffickers exploit and manipulate others in order to profit from demand.” . What Barbara Amaya mean is human trafficking exist because people are wanting other people to meet their own special needs or work that are not being fulfilled by themselves so they rather pay. This kind of  action is modern day slavery. The demand is one of the big factors that contributes to human trafficking existing in the United States and it continues to thrive because of several of reasons.  “Low Risk: When the public is unaware of this issue, when governments lawmakers and community institutions are not trained to respond, when there are ineffective or out of date laws to address the crime, when services for victims do not exist, and when law enforcement does not prosecute the crime, human traffickers see no reason to stop their criminal operations.High Profits: When individuals are willing to buy commercial sex, they create a market and make it profitable for traffickers to sexually exploit children and adults.When consumers are willing to buy goods and services from industries that rely on forced labor, they create a profit incentive for labor traffickers to make money.” . A trafficker can sell someone for hundreds of times tie but can only sell a certain amount of cocaine or number of guns before needing to restock. Also another perfect bait for traffickers to find their victims are social networks, home neighborhoods, clubs or bars,internet, schools and many more. Since the victims are vulnerable in their situation traffickers lure their victims with promises that sound assuring and good to the victims. For example promises of protection, love, home, opportunity, money, security and etcetera. Once the victims fall for this the traffickers have them in control. The tactics they use, “to ensure compliance and demand is, fear, violence, intimidation, and threats.”  If some Victims are lucky enough to escape they are. Most victims likely go, “unidentified silenced by fear and the control of the trafficker  or misidentified pigeonhole into treatment for only the surface issues.”  Human trafficking is in existence because of two factors, the psychological and legal reasons and it will continue to exist if we don’t do something about it. Human trafficking is something that will be a global problem and one solution can not help all of it. The best we can do as a community is to bring awareness to it. Things you can do is know the steps of how to identify a human trafficking victim or simply call the National Human Trafficking Hotline if you know of someone being trafficked. The hotline is open twenty- four hours and on the go for anyone who needs it.  Knowing the definition of human trafficking and the different types and how they correlate or differentiate from each other can bring people a step closer on getting an idea of how to stop human trafficking. Especially knowing the factors of why it exist legally and psychologically people can definitely try to put a stop to those factors to end human trafficking.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mia teller says:

    overall I think this piece is really successful and well done 🙂 you really brought to light a bunch of things I never knew about human trafficking, and made them easy to absorb through the use of media throughout the essay, I think this is an incredibly important topic that is somewhat taboo because of it’s nature so I think it’s really cool you guys decided to study it.

    Like

  2. ceceliabell17 says:

    I didn’t know all of the different types of human trafficking. It was interesting how you broke it up into sub categories.

    Like

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