Human Trafficking or Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) is a crime against humanity and refers to the illegitimate trade in human persons for commercial ends, and to facilitate forced labor and sexual exploitation. Human trafficking involves the act of recruiting, transferring, transporting, confining or receiving a person for the purpose of exploiting the person, through coercive means. It is the aforementioned aspect of exploitation of the victim that distinguishes THB from people smuggling: whereas the latter refers to the procurement of persons who have illegally entered a state to which the person is a non citizen or a temporary resident for financial or material gain, the former, THB portends the exploitation of the migrant for prostitution or forced labor or both. Thus, human trafficking is the newest form of slavery. That human trafficking is a lucrative business is a fact that is underscored by revelation that it is the fastest growing criminal industry, the world over. Specifically, human trafficking remains at par with underground arms trade.
The term 'Human Trafficking' had been adopted by the United Nations in 2000, in Palermo, Italy. The main intent of the 2000 UN meeting in Palermo was to craft the Trafficking Protocol, one among three protocols that seek to rein in human trafficking. The Trafficking Protocol is virtually, a Protocol to Suppress, Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, with main emphasis being women and children. To this effect, international efforts have been concerted to draw diplomatic guidelines under the aegis and establishment of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Critical discussion of Human Trafficking as an organized crime activity (340 words)
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That human trafficking is a pervasive crime and activity is well exemplified by the fact that every country, the world over, is affected by the illegal trade. To this effect, a country may be the point of origin, the transit point, or the actual destination of the victims. At the time, estimates according to Interpol place human trafficking as an enterprise that is worth 28 US dollars. Normally, as a crime, THB takes five main forms.
The first and commonest form of THB involves the trafficking in women for sexual exploitation. That this undertaking is full fledged is supported by the fact that THB for sexual exploitation of women has become a multi billion dollar business, helping in the sustenance of organized crime. The second form of THB is that of people smuggling, which entails the procurement of non citizens for material or financial gain. Because of this, criminal networks that dabble in THB and people smuggling endeavor to exert a lot of control of the flow migrants across the borders.
Child sex exploitation takes the third form of THB. Nevertheless, this may be the widest and most profound form of THB, given that it ranges from the use of the Internet (pornography) to other visual portrayals of brutal sex crimes. Given that child sex has grown widely, Interpol has come up with the International Child Sexual Exploitation Image database (known in acronym as the ICSE DB) to help the police assuage and halt the operations of child sexual exploitation. In turn, ICSE DB contains images of child sexual abuse which are submitted by other member states or countries, with these pictures being in their hundreds. The ICSE DB in this case is meant at facilitating the sharing of data and images to assist law enforcement agencies to identify new victims.
The fourth manifestation of THB is trafficking for forced labor or servitude, where victims primarily from developing countries are conscripted and trafficked mainly through deception or coercion. The victims find themselves subsequently find themselves under conditions of enslavement, in respect to a variety of jobs.
The trafficking in human organs for the purpose of using the organ, mostly, the kidney is another form of THB. Unlike the aforementioned forms or manifestation of THB, trafficking on organs is a crime that is underpinned by far much serious factors that surpass the mere greed for filthy lucre. One among the underpinnings is the high demand for human organs. In many countries, the waiting lists for the transplants are lengthily winded, so that criminals are willingly ready to exploit insecurity to exploit the desperation of both the patients and potential donors for financial gains.
In most cases, victims are always misinformed about the worth of the organ to be harvested and the medical aspect of the organ removal. Consequently, the very health and life of the donors remains precariously exposed as the operations are carried out in underhand circumstances, which normally are devoid of medical follow ups. In Least Developed Economies [LDCs], the problem remains very profound, given that the deterioration of security and the prevalence of corruption and ineptitude make felicitous conditions for kidnappings to take place, with the victims' organs being harvested without consent after being forcefully anaesthetized.
A critical analysis of research evidence of Human Trafficking and if it meets the definition of organized crime
It is a fact that human trafficking fits the description of organized crime, with organized crime being the transnational, local, or the national groupings of centrally managed organizations that are run by criminals, with the purpose of carrying out illegal activities for monetary gains or profiteering being the main aim.
That THB and organized crime are concomitant of each other is well epitomized by the fact that THB is normally carried out by a group, that may be registered as an organization, a job recruitment agency, or an agency that may help in facilitating the process of immigration. To this effect, an organization may purportedly be helping potential victims acquire jobs or secure employment opportunities access visas or passports or comfortable lifestyle abroad.
The United Nations definition of organized crime specifies the minimal number of those involved as three, in order that a crime is dubbed as organized crime. THB at the same time is highly structured as a group, so that there are normally: the party which relates with victims directly; the managerial team that gives orders and acts as the 'brains' behind the THB organization; and the party that links the clients and the management to the arm that is in Diaspora, or the victim's place of destination.
The definition by Risto Pullat (2003), a researcher based in Estonia, about organized crime being a criminal group consisting: of at least three people; long term division of labor amongst the group members; and the execution of serious crimes through illegal means also helps capture the essence of THB as a form of organized crime. For instance, the fact that many victims have lost their lives to human trafficking epitomizes the seriousness of the crime, so that it can be defined as organized crime.
At the moment, it is estimated that in Yemen alone, there are 80,000 registered refugees, with 75,000 of these being Somalis. A bigger chunk of this population is in dire search of jobs outside the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, with the first priority being given to Europe (mostly Britain) and then the United States. The official US government estimate has it that at least 800,000 people are trafficked across the international borders, annually, with 17,500 of these being brought into the US every year.
International response to this activity and how has it affected UK and EU government legislation
Like a serious crime such as terrorism, THB has warranted efforts being concerted to thwart its growth. For instance, the United Nations in 2000, Palermo, Italy came with the Trafficking Protocol which sought to structurally define and develop a system or protocol meant at identifying, suppressing, punishing and preventing THB. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime has also come up with diplomatic guidelines as a way of domesticating the provisions of the Trafficking Protocol. International organizations such as amnesty international have also created special departments to thwart the spread and existence of THB.
Perrin explains that the UK and the EU governments on the other hand have made efforts to synchronize laws, policies and modalities for curtailing THB. As early as 2007, the Conservative Party was able to pressure Britain to subscribe to the European Convention against Trafficking. That this move was geared at guaranteeing protection for the underprivileged in the society is well proven by the fact that this happened during the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of slavery and slave trade.
Some of the provisions in the European Convention against Trafficking include: guaranteeing trafficked people a minimum of 30 days to enable them recover and access urgent medical support and safe housing. The European Convention against Trafficking also allows for the provision temporary places of residence for trafficked people who may be in danger, should the trafficked people want to return to their homeland. The convention also makes it possible for the trafficked people to access fair criminal proceedings.
Discussion of the problems that human trafficking produces at a criminological and wider social level
The gravity of THB cannot be undermined, for they are far reaching. It is a fact that THB has contributed to a lot of miseries and deaths, as both labor and soldier slaves are made to work beyond limits, while their rights to the three most basic needs are not met. Like the slave trade of old, THB has led to the separation of families and family members, with children bearing the greatest and heaviest brunt. The fact that higher demography makes people expendable commodities has not made matters any better.
Human beings are not only being bought at cheaper prices compared to the 1850s, but also, when a slave does not meet the set target or becomes stubborn, the same is replaced immediately after being killed. At the moment, an Indian child can be bought at merely 35 dollars, a Brazilian agricultural laborer at 100 and an eastern European woman at 500 dollars only. THB at the same time goes hand in glove with sex tourism, criminal online pedophilia and ritual torture. THB is also among the chief source of capital for terrorism. The Independent also attests to this statistical provision.
Effectiveness of law enforcement in dealing with Human Trafficking and its tradeoffs
To Kim, the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in dealing with THB cannot be discounted, but at the same depends on the degree a country has equipped its law enforcement agencies. In the US for instance, effectiveness is exemplified in Office of Community oriented Policing Services (COPS) in New York. That COPS has made successful inroads in the fight against THB is seen when it identified the four stages of THB as being: recruitment; transportation through weak entry points; prearrangements with legal and illegal businesses; and ultimately, exploitation. Through the identification of weak entry points, many leading states have been able to closely monitor borders against the dangers of THB. Whether addressing the problem as one of organized crime assists or hinders the efficacy of law enforcement
Nevertheless, Seaman maintains that it is important to take note of the fact that effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies in thwarting THB deeply depends on government support, the legislative provisions in place, in respect to THB and the coordination of these agencies across states or countries, especially those states or countries that are juxtaposed to each other.
For instance, knowing the importance of the aforementioned provisions in the war against THB, former US President George W. Bush signed into effect, the Reauthorization of the Document Servitude while the Justice Department gave out over 30 million US dollars in 2004 alone, to ensure the creation of 32 anti- THB forces. The importance of coordination was similarly seen in the incorporation of the representatives from the FBI, social services representatives, local law enforcements agencies and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Reflection: whether these ideas have been helpful in tackling human trafficking or whether they are a hindrance
Chuang postulates that it is beyond any controversy that the ideas that have been already mooted have been resourceful in the tackling of human trafficking. For instance, the Trafficking Protocol has been an effective tool for the detecting, suppressing, preventing and punishing of THB and its perpetrators, through the drawing of the diplomatic guidelines, under the enablement of UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It is this provision that has made the detection of the weak entry points for patrol against possible THB. It is against this backdrop that the patrolling of the Adriatic coastline became a tenable feat through the use of the Italian coastguard helicopters, after that it emerged clear that Adriatic coastline was being used as the main transit point for slaves between Western and Eastern Europe.
Similarly, according to Gulati, it is through the structural definition of THB as a form of organized crime that proper modalities can be set to stem and punish THB and its instigators. To this effect, the description by the UN and Risto Pullat (2003), on organized crime as the carrying out of serious crimes by a group of at least three persons, and this group having a sense of permanent division of labor and dabbling in illegal acts renders THB as a crime that ought to be treated with international concern and efforts. By extension, countries or states that harbor THB and its perpetrators may have trade embargoes and sanctions placed against them.
Gulati for instance divulges that through the discussion on the legislative process, it becomes possible for players in matters pertaining to diplomacy, international politics and economics to seek better judicial or legislative means of arresting THB and its growth. For instance, the existence of the 20th Chapter of the Penal Code that explains the essence of prostitution and procuring in respect to pandering, aggravated pandering and the solicitation of finances, allows for the systematic and less controversial means of detecting of sexual form of human trafficking. In a similar wavelength, the same Chapter 20 (743/2006) of the Penal Code provides the description of sexual exploitation and the punishment that may be meted on anyone who dabbles in exploiting subject of, or participant of sex trade, or anyone who makes an attempt to exploit the participant in sex trade.
According to Goodey, the place for the need to harness efforts in a cross border sense as a way of arresting THB (as already discussed) can be seen to be lucid, when Finland's case is considered. As recent as 2004, Finnish authorities vehemently repudiated the existence THB in totality, despite numerous warnings from the US Department of State. Finland at the time wrongfully surmised that it was merely being criticized for being perceived to not do enough to combat THB at the start of the 21st century. It was until the 2003 US TIP Report came out that the Finnish Minister of Justice Johannes Koskinen admitted that large scale prostitution activities directed from Estonia and Russia were not only extant, but very vibrant. It is at this juncture that Finland subsequently made efforts to tackle THB and its spread, head-on.