Human trafficking has been a worldwide problem affecting many countries today. It has been commonly referred to as the processes and activities of trading in human beings for purposes of labor exploitation or sex slavery (Cole, 2009). It has been a major area of concern that involves the systematic recruitment, harboring, transfer, transportation or the receipt of individuals without their consent. Studies have revealed that culprits employ the usage of force, abduction, deception, coercion, fraud or abuse of power to acquire the victims. Either, they take advantage of victims’ vulnerability and give payments to individuals who have control over the victims without their consent for the sole purpose of exploiting them.
Women and children have been found to be at the highest risk of being victims of human trafficking. Statistics from the UN has it that most of the culprits are usually sold at an average cost of 1,895 dollars. In the year 2008 alone, close to 12.3 million individuals were estimated to have been sold as forced laborers, sex workers or bonded laborers. An approximated 1.39 million worked as sex slaves of whom 98% were women and girls. In the year 2009, the US department of justice reported 1,229 human trafficking cases of which 83% were related to sex trafficking (Dicksons, 2004). Either, a UN report indicates that close to 27 million individuals are today faced by modern day slavery with the US state department reporting the highest number of children engaged in commercial sex trade.
In the year 2011, the UN also developed a thematic program that highly discourages the organized trade of human trafficking and has come up with a coordinated criminal justice response system that collaborates with various countries. This followed an initial protocol that was adopted, signed and ratified by the UN member states in the year 2000. The trade has had a serious impact on the criminal legal practices. Even though the police in the various countries have tried to contain the situation, cases of complacencies have been witnessed. The police have not had adequate training to deal with this menace. In countries like India, there exists a sex worker rights organization that has opposed police intervention thus greatly interfered with the police efforts of rescuing minors who are exposed to sex slavery (Department of State, 2009).
The effects of human traffic are varied depending on the intentions of the trafficker. The victims are held without their consents and at some point violence is meted on them to make them comply. This affects them as majority develop depression while the sex workers are exposed to deadly diseases like HIV AIDS. A number are forced to engage in drug trafficking too thus exposing them to their dangerous use (Rachael & Ashley, 2008). This research paper, therefore, endeavors to explore the various aspects of human trafficking in terms off highlighting its causes, its effects, the various measures taken to mitigate the problem and the culpable people who fall victims of human trafficking.
The variables that are intended to be incorporated are the various traits of victims that will be sort through observations, interviews and administration of questionnaires. The other variable is the information materials available.
Several studies differing on when trafficking of human started have been done. Some researchers believe that slave trade formed the basis of human trafficking (Cole, 2009). There are those who think that labor imposed on children during 1700s formed the starting point of human trafficking. Nevertheless, human trafficking is a common act up to date (Department of State, 2009). According to Louise Shelley, there has been an increased demand of human labor all over the world and this has contributed to the rise in cases of human trafficking(Dickson, 2004).The act has been growing at a fast pace recently. Whether domestic, labor, or sexual, human traffic is a sensitive issue which need to be addressed (Cole, 2009).
A study done by McGaha indicated that the period from 1890 to 1914 witnessed mass migration, rapid globalization as well as a rise in economic inequality (Rachael & Ashley, 2008). The 2004 report by U.S Department of States indicates that international trafficking is on the rise with over 600,000 people being trafficked internationally annually(Department of State, 2009). Several people are also trafficked locally. There is no much difference between the past and present methods of trafficking. Among the methods used are coercion, kidnapping and selling of girls by parents (Cole, 2009).
Currently, sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking (Odge & Lietz, 2007). This is despite the existent of law making this act illegal. A study done in Latin America indicated that human trafficking especially of women and children indicated that very few data is available regarding human trafficking (Cole, 2001). Another study done in America showed the same trend (Cole, 2009). There have been different figures when it comes to the number of people who have been trafficked. In Caribbean for example, studies that have been done on human trafficking gives different figures on human trafficking. From 2007 to 2008, there were 102 women who were identified to have been taken to Ireland illegally through trafficking (Dickson, 2004). The women had the knowledge of other 62 women who had entered Ireland through the same means. The women were not aware that they had been brought to Ireland as objects of prostitution (Department of State, 2009). Globally, trafficking of women for sex purposes is on rise (Schauler, 2006). Women are lured that they will be offered jobs once they reach the destination (Cole, 2009). Studies done have revealed that about 800,000 are victims of human trafficking each year (Hodge &Lietz, 2007). Majority of these are women (80%). About 50% of these people are minors (Dickson, 2004). Most women and girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Research done to determine profit made owing to human trafficking showed estimated $27.5 Million (Department of State, 2009). According to the study, several men in Island confessed to have bought sex on several occasions (Rachael & Ashley, 2008). Some also indicated that they have had sex with women who had been compelled to do so.
An international research where 207 women were interviewed showed that these women are not only trafficked but also experience violence (Cole, 2009). About 95% of these women underwent sexual or physical violence. 75% were hurt physically. About 90% of these women reported the assault (Hodge &Lietz, 2007). Most women who are involved in prostitution (89%) are willing to stop prostitution. In most cases, human traffickers targets women for prostitution purpose. Children are also targeted simply because it is very easy to lie to a child than an adult (FCADC, 2004). Women fall into the many promises they are made to belief in prior to them being trafficked. For example, they are promised good life as well as jobs (Cole, 2009).
The victims of human trafficking experience trauma (Department of State, 2009). All their dreams of good life they are promised prior to their going do not materialize. They instead end up being prostitutes (SHI, 2009). The worst thing is that some of them are never paid for their service as all the money goes back to the traffickers. The victims also sustain injuries after he/she is physically assaulted (Hodge &Lietz, 2007).
Human trafficking is an organized cartel. The traffickers have contacts with the country of destination. Majority of victims are drawn from developing countries. This is where the traffickers are located. Developed nations are the main countries serving as countries of destination for the victims (Department of State, 2009).
The studies expected result is that there are so many cases of human trafficking. Most of the victims to be interviewed are expected to tell of the horrific story about their experiences. It is also expected that the number of victims will be higher (FCADC, 2004). Most of the victims are expected to be from developing countries especially Africa. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent of human trafficking in the world as well as its effects on the victims. Two hypotheses have been formulated for this study (Cole, 2009). The first hypothesis is that human trafficking is equivalent to present day slavery. The second hypothesis is that most of the victims of human trafficking are from developing countries.
Strategies that aim at addressing human trafficking are also expected to be part of the result. It is expected that most of the victims of human trafficking comes from poor background (Department of State, 2009). The other findings are that the most common form of human trafficking today is sex trafficking. The findings of this study are aimed at assisting the government and other stakeholders in curbing this problem (Cole, 2009). Most of victims of sex trafficking are expected to be willing to stop the act if they are helped to do so.
Purpose of the Study
Most of the earlier researches have concentrated their attention on the causes of this menace and partially looked at the various effects on the individuals and the society in general. Concentration has also been given to the various measures taken by the government and other international bodies in an attempt to solve this problem. This research paper takes a different approach to study the causes and effects of human trafficking by identifying the various stake holders involved and there by enumerating various recommendations on how to solve this problem.
This is an explorative type of study. This is because its goal is to formulate the problem of human trafficking. Apart from this, it will also clarify concepts, gain insights, gather explanations, as well as formation of hypothesis. Data will be collected using questionnaires and interviews. Those knowledgeable will be issued with a questionnaire each to fill. The questions will be basically touching on their experiences (Cole, 2009). The authority responsible will also have a set of questions which will mainly touch on their commitment to end human trafficking.
The study population comprise of individuals who in one way or another have ever been a victim of human trafficking (Hodge &Lietz, 2007). Since it is difficult to identify them, only those who have reported the incidences with the United States authority will be targeted (Department of State, 2009). The authority will be of great help in identifying these victims.)
Simple random sampling method will be used for the purpose of this study. A total of 300 victims will be targeted for this study. Secondary data will be collected from authority as well as from previous studies done (Miller, 2007). Primary data will be obtained from interviews, observations, questionnaire and interviewing the victims as well as the authority (Miller, 2007). Consent to conduct this will be done prior to embarking on the task. In order to avoid sampling errors, all respondents will be interviewed. In total, all the 300 of them will undergo interview with some filling the questionnaires (Cole, 2009)
The study instruments will include standardized interviews, questionnaires and observations. Biases might exist within these instruments especially on the interviews and observations as the researcher might structure them in a manner that suits his personal objectives rather that the study objectives. To eliminate such biases, the researcher might be force to incorporate the services of other professionals during the interview and observation period.
The data collected will consist of primary data and secondary data. The primary data will be obtained the interviewing, observing and administering questionnaires to the trafficked victims who have reported the matter to the authorities. The secondary data will be collected through interviewing the authorities as well as from previous studies done. The process of data collection is expected to run for a period of 3 weeks with periodic reminders sent in the form of e-mails and physical visits to the respondents.
The major limiting factors in this study were the unwillingness of participants to fully cooperate and give factual information freely as some of them feared that repatriations would take place. Others did not want to give too much sensitive information and those that touched on individual personal life. Time limitations were also a problem as there was no adequate time to reach as many people as possible.
The research findings were found to be consistent with other previous researches. The information gathered was not conclusive as various gaps exited within the authorities. There was little and conflicting information on the trends and the number of human trafficking cases that had been reported. The findings indicated that majority of the victims were mainly from developing countries especially Africa and the Caribbean countries with most of them being children and women. Either, kids were found to be vulnerable as it was easier for the traffickers to lie to them as compared to the adults. Most victims found themselves in the current situation due to the empty promises they were given (Cole, 2009). Others were sold out while a few abducted. Most of them were found to have faced a form of violence at least more than once. They were found to be traumatized too.
Implication and Recommendations
The implications of these findings are that:
- The various governments had done little to combat this menace despite the fact that the UN had developed a thematic program that highly discourages the organized trade of human trafficking and made attempts of ensuring a coordinated criminal justice response system that collaborates with various countries.
- Very little and inconsistent information was available concerning the human trafficking cartels and their victims.
- A number of trafficking cases went unreported by the victims as most of them lacked the necessary knowledge of who to approach or where to report to.
- Most victims were held without their consent thus not given the chance to freely move. This denied them the ability to access the authorities to report to.
The study recommends the following:
- The governments should organize coordinated raids on the human trafficking cartels and sex workers brothels so as to rescue the victims who are otherwise held without their consent.
- The various governments should undertake to train their police forces and other security agencies by equipping them with the necessary skills and materials that they can use in combating this menace.
- Counties’ governments and other organizations should fully implement the proposed and ratified regulations made by the United Nations and stick to its recommendations.
- Authorities should make attempts at addressing the issue of existing gaps within the available information concerning the human trafficking cartels and victims of trafficking.