Human trafficking is a type of crime that can be considered a modern-day slavery. Unfortunately, it affects individuals across the world and is the most pressing human rights problem of the present. Moreover, human trafficking is considered the third-largest criminal activity in the world (FBI). This crime that is committed with the use of force, cheating, or any form of coercion with the aim to obtain some type of labor exploitation or commercial sex act (National Human Trafficking Hotline). This means that it is possible to distinguish two types of human trafficking crimes: Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking. Sex trafficking involves obtaining of a person with the commercial sex act purpose with the use of force and coercion (National Human Trafficking Hotline). “Labor trafficking is the type of recruitment of a person for work with the use of force or cheating, it may include involuntary servitude, forced labor, or even slavery (National Human Trafficking Hotline).
Millions of men, women, and children suffer trafficking every year. According to the data of 2012 from 124 countries across the globe, around 50 percent of all victims were women, 33 percent of detected victims were children and 18 percent – men. Of all convicted traffickers 72 percent were men and 28 percent – women (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2014). Most people who are with irregular employment or migration status are affected by trafficked forced labor. It is necessary to admit that human trafficking is one of the most profitable crimes as it generates billions of dollars. The main problem concerning human trafficking is that it is a hidden crime because victims rarely admit they were trafficked in most cases because of fear (U. S. Department of Homeland Security). As many victims are usually threatened and intimidated by traffickers they do not want to cooperate with the criminal justice system and as a result, there is still a low number of convictions of human trafficking (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2014).
In the world-wide scale, the most common type of human trafficking is sexual exploitation as it affects around 79 percent of all victims. Labor trafficking is less frequently detected. What is also pressing, 20 percent of all victims are children. In some regions of Africa, children are even the majority of trafficking victims (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2014).
In the period of 2008 – 2010 according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the United States, 2515 suspected incidents of human trafficking has been opened. “About 8 in 10 of them were classified as sex trafficking, and about 1 in 10 incidents were classified as labor trafficking” (Banks and Kychelhahn 2011).
Despite human trafficking is a global problem, there are still some factors that explain why it occurs in these or those parts of the world. According to the article of Mohsen Rezaeian, human trafficking “mostly occurs in those parts of the world where law and order is disrupted due to poverty, unemployment, war, armed convicts, natural disasters, social unrest due to existence of nondemocratic governments” (Rezaeian 2016: 32). This means that cause and effect relationship is obvious. As a confirmation of such statement, the data of 2016 from different countries in the study are presented: out of 45.8 million enslaved people, 58 percent are from such countries as India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh. The countries with the highest prevalence of human trafficking are North Korea, Cambodia, India, Pakistan Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan (Rezaeian 2016: 34).
Women and children are the main victims of the human trafficking and to be accurate, the main victims of sexual exploitation. According to the data between 800000 to 4000000 women and children have been trafficked around the world annually. The study of sexual exploitation in Mexico states that children from poor families are mostly trafficked by American tourists. There is explained the connection between the prostitution as Mexico is the second country in the world in terms of prostitution and exploitation of under-age persons. “U.S. Department of State extensively recognized Mexico is a source, transit and destination country of women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation” (Acharya, Suarez and Ontiveros 2016: 11). Because of such statistics, the country enforces different anti-trafficking laws and reforms.
According to one of the researches on the human trafficking issue, it is possible to identify the third type of this crime according to its purpose: organ trafficking. Nevertheless, it is stated that the government of the United States is trying to curb these three forms of human trafficking differently. Efforts against sex trafficking were focused in 2000, attention to the labor trafficking was paid in 2005 and organ trafficking has fallen outside the scope of the US Department altogether (Efrat 2015: 3). It is necessary to know that despite organ trafficking is less researched in social science, it is more prevalent in comparison with organ trafficking. Efrat provides the example of Israel as a country that launched vigorous efforts against sex trafficking whereas the efforts of the government against labor and organ trafficking were less intense (11).
One of the important issues concerning human trafficking is the necessity to be aware of the physical and mental long-term health problems of trafficking survivors. A research on Human Trafficking and Health that involved 150 victims of trafficking concluded that among the severe physical symptoms are headaches, tiredness, back pain, dizzy spells and memory problems. Around 70 percent of victims suffered depression, anxiety disorders or posttraumatic stress disorder. 38 percent of people admitted they had suicidal ideation (Oram 2016: 1077).
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