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Running Head: HUMAN TRAFFICKING- A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

Human Trafficking-A Worldwide Problem


Mary Glass
Wayne State University

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

Abstract
This paper analyzes US policies and services for people affected by human trafficking. It begins
with the US definition of human trafficking. It describes which people in society are changed by
the social problem. An explanation of the crimes that are committed against the state and victim
will be given. A historical overview of the social problem will be compared to existing policies
and actions. The current policies and organizations that fight against human trafficking in the US
will be elaborated. The focus will be to determine how the US policies and actions prevent
human trafficking, prosecute the trafficker, and protect the victim. US societys discriminatory
problems cause a lack of fully understanding the social issue. After the paper provides you with
information about the US, it will explain how the world views the problem, particularly in the
countries of the Netherlands, Ireland, and Germany. It will once again focus on prevention,
prosecution, and protection in those countries. The effects of global discrimination will be
analyzed. My personal views will be shared about how human trafficking is being handled by
policies and society. This paper will also provide you with information to learn more about
human trafficking. The methods a social worker can assist in helping victims will be described.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

Human Trafficking-A Worldwide Problem


Human trafficking is acknowledged as a global problem. The United States officially
defines human trafficking in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) as follows:
Human trafficking includes the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or
obtaining of a person for labor or other services, through the use of force, fraud, or
coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage,
or slavery. It includes sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force,
fraud, or coercion, or in which the victim is under 18 years of age (Department of Justice:
Office of Justice Fact Sheet, 2011, p. 1).
The main phases of human trafficking are recruitment of a victim, transportation and entry into
another area, exploitation, and finally criminal proceedings. Recruitment can involve abduction
or coercion, however; it seldom includes violence (Aronowitz, 2009). Transportation can be
domestic or international depending on the motive of the trafficker. International transportation
usually requires false documentation and/or partnerships with corrupt government officials. It
is generally not until the arrival at the destination (the exploitation phase) that the trafficker
begins the reign of terror against the victim (Aronowitz, 2009, p. 10). In the exploitation phase,
victims are required to engage in forced sexual activity and/or participate in unfair labor
practices. Criminal proceedings are complex due to all the people and crimes that are involved
in human trafficking. Human trafficking is a global problem that requires a global solution
including prevention of the crime, prosecution of the offenders, and protection of the victim from
further harm.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

Demographics
Human trafficked victims are persuaded for two purposes. The traffickers want to make a
profit by forcing victims to participate in prostitution and/or harsh labor conditions.
With respect to the 14,500-17,500 people estimated trafficked into the United States
annually, the U.S. government provides estimates on the age, sex, and type of
exploitation to which the victims are exposed. According to these estimates, the largest
percentage of victims are adult women (33 percent) followed by girls under the age of 18
(23 percent) who are forced into the commercial sex trade. This is followed by adult
women (14 percent) and girls (11 percent) forced into other forms of sexual exploitation.
On a smaller scale are boys forced into commercial sex (10 percent) and other forms of
sexual exploitation (6 percent) followed by men (4 percent for both forms of
exploitation) (Aronowitz, 2009, p. 34).
It is difficult to truly determine how many people are victims because so many crimes go
unreported. These vulnerable people come from poor areas and may even have mental or
physical disabilities. A person may be persuaded by the hope of a job or an education. A child
could be sold by their parents because they were led to believe the child will be offered a better
life. US labor victims are men, women, and children who are generally non-citizens,
undocumented workers, or poor immigrants with a visa (Counteracting the Bias: The Department
of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat Human Trafficking, 2013). In international cases, the
victims are often convinced by the trafficker that no one can help them because they are an
illegal immigrant.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

Crimes
Various crimes are committed against the victim. Victims can endure psychological and
physical abuse. The people that become victims often experience oppression before they are
victimized by the trafficker (Cullen-Dupont, 2009). Being constantly abused, surrounded by
violence, and the consistent intimidation causes long term damage. Women have an increased
chance of unwanted pregnancy, dangerous abortions, and reproductive issues. All the victims
face the possibility of contracting diseases and becoming addicted to drugs (Cullen-Dupont,
2009). Wages are inadequate and working conditions are unsafe, but the worker may not realize
his/her rights due to lack of information.
While human traffickers are transporting victims, they are generally committing crimes
against the country. Document forgery is conducted to get the person into the country. Money
laundering assist in hiding all the profits earned from the victims. Drugs are usually smuggled
during transportation of the victim. Finally, traffickers would not be as successful if they did not
have partnerships with corrupt government officials.
Historical Overview
Human trafficking, otherwise known as slavery, became a problem shortly after the world
was created. Ancient civilizations incorporated chattel slavery as a way to enslave people
generally for labor purposes. Cullen-Dupont (2009) describes chattel slavery as, the outright
legally recognized ownership of persons on the same basis as other property (pg.6).
Throughout history there were people attempting to abolish the social injustice of slavery, yet it
remained legal until the 1800s in most areas of the world. The term, trafficking, became
common in the mid-twentieth century (Cullen-Dupont, 2009). In 2000, the United Nations

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

General Assembly adopted a definition of human trafficking that is most widely accepted
(Cullen-Dupont, 2009).
The main difference between slavery and human trafficking now is legality. Human
trafficking is not legal as chattel slavery was. Trafficked victims are in even more danger
because the traffickers cannot claim legal ownership, so they hide them. The victims are kept
hidden through psychological and physical abuse tactics. Human trafficking victims now have to
pay debt bondage, whereas slaves were purchased. Debt bondage requires the victim to pay for
its transportation to the new location, in addition to any other fees the trafficker would like to
collect payment for. The value of a slave to its master is higher than a trafficked victim to its
trafficker. Currently traffickers decide to extract all labor and services possible, without
sustaining the health and lives of these people, who are viewed as easily replaceable (CullenDupont, 2009, p. 8).
United States Policies and Services
To combat the growth of human trafficking in the US, Congress passed the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). The Act consists of three objectives: prosecuting
violators, protecting victims, and preventing trafficking (Counteracting the Bias: The Department
of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat Human Trafficking, 2013). It also prohibits both sex
and labor trafficking. The federal departments responsible for enforcing the act are Department
of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Labor (DOL).
TVPA was modified by The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 which
required that a business must state that it does not promote, support, or advocate the legalization
or practice of prostitution to receive anti-trafficking funds from the US government

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

(Counteracting the Bias: The Department of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat Human
Trafficking, 2013, p. 1017).
In regards to human trafficking, the DHS focuses on insuring our borders are safe and
overseeing immigration laws (Department of Homeland Security, n.d.). DHS launched the Blue
Campaign in 2010 to raise awareness of human trafficking. A hotline number is available to
anonymously report possible cases of human trafficking through the National Human Trafficking
Resource Center. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the specific group in DHS that
focuses more directly on human trafficking.
The Department of Justice concentrates on the civil rights of people. DOJs Bureau of
Justice Statistics (BJS) created a Human Trafficking Reporting System website to attempt to
gather all the information about human trafficking to assist the Anti-Human Trafficking Task
Force (Department of Justice: Office of Justice Fact Sheet, 2011). DOJs Civil Rights Division
and the US Attorneys Offices work closely with DHS to bring awareness to the general public,
protect the victims, prosecute the employers that employ victims, and convict the traffickers
(Civil Rights Division: Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, n.d.). DOJ is bound by the US
constitutions Thirteenth Amendment which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.
Even though the TVPA includes labor trafficking, the US tends to focus on prostitution of
victims and maintaining control of our borders. From a victim-protection standpoint, when
local, state, and federal law enforcement officials located undocumented workers, the inordinate
focus on border control encourages those officials to view the workers primarily as criminals
who need to be deported and secondarily, or not at all, as potential trafficking victims who need
assistance (Counteracting the Bias: The Department of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat
Human Trafficking, 2013, p. 1020). According to TVPA, the government is not supposed to

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM


consider immigration status. DOL does not have anything to do with prostitution or border
control laws, but it can provide assistance to an exploited labor victim of human trafficking.
DOL focus is on fair pay and safe conditions for workers; so therefore, they can identify and
assist victims without being concerned about immigration status. On December 7, 2011, DHS
and DOJ signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to not interfere with DOLs cases
(Counteracting the Bias: The Department of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat Human
Trafficking, 2013).
United States Social Stigma, Discrimination, Prejudices, and Values
Since human trafficking victims are usually low class and poorly educated immigrants
their needs can sometimes be ignored. When a person is exploited in a country that speaks a
different language than them, it is difficult for them to find help. Some people just want the
immigrants out of our country. They do not realize that the victims also likely want to go home,
but it may not safe for them.
Labor trafficking is a quickly growing crime; however, sex trafficking awareness and
persecution generally takes precedent. People often are more concerned with insuring that
people are not involved in prostitution, especially children. There are higher percentages of
women and children being victimized in the sex industry, whereas it is more likely men will be
victims of labor trafficking. The U.S. has a general belief that woman and children need help
and men can take care of themselves; so therefore, the human trafficking in the commercial sex
industry will always receive more attention (Aronowitz, 2009). Thankfully, children received a
favorable amount of support, even if they are here illegally.
Supply and demand affect the increase of human trafficking. The more United States
citizens are willing to pay for prostitution and domestic servitude; the more others will go to

HUMAN TRAFFICKING-A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM

extreme measures to insure they can make a profit from it. The demands for an increase in
wages cause some employers to seek cheap unskilled labor (Aronowitz, 2009).
Global Perspective
In 2000, the United Nations General Assembly created the most complete internationally
recognized definition. The Protocol is as follows:
Trafficking in persons shall mean 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 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 the minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of
sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery,
servitude or the removal of organs (Cullen-Dupont, 2009, p. 9).
Even though the UN Protocol clearly states that human trafficking includes labor issues many
countries still focus primarily on the commercial sex trade.
Netherlands Policies and Services
As a result of the European Hague Declaration of 1997, the National Rapporteur of
Trafficking in Human Beings (NRM) was formed to combat human trafficking. In 2005, the
Netherlands define human trafficking by approving Article 273a and Article 273f in their
criminal code. Article 273a prohibits forced or compulsory labor or services, slavery, practices
comparable with slavery or servitude, and the trafficking of organs (Staring, 2012, p. 61).

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Article 273f states:


anyone who forces another person to engage in prostitution, induces a minor to engage in
prostitution, recruits, takes away or abducts a person to engage in prostitution in another
country, profits from prostitution involving a minor or forced prostitution, or forces
another person to surrender the proceeds of prostitution is liable to fines and jail time
(Staring, 2012, p. 61).
Previous legislation only protected sex trade victims, which were primarily women.
The Netherlands encounter a unique challenge while battling human trafficking since
prostitution is legal in their country for adult citizens. Discovering the people that are not
citizens can often be a problem, so the country enacted a B-9 ruling that gives a victim three
months to make a declaration after he/she contacted authorities.. Traffickers can be prosecuted
without their declaration. If the victim is willing to make a declaration against the trafficker, it is
considered as an official application to the granting of a residence permit for about six months
(Staring, 2012). A permanent residence is only given if the country is too dangerous to return to.
Similarly, victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands are lower class people with a
poor education. The focus in the country is also primarily on the commercial sex trade industry
so women and children receive a larger amount of the assistance; however, they are the majority
of the victims.
Netherlands government and citizens determine if the policies are enforced. The stigma
that surrounds prostitution in the US is not as strong in the Netherlands due to the legality. The
Netherlands assumed that by allowing prostitution to be legal it could create a controlled sector
and crime would not be as prevalent. Their assumption seems to be wrong. The legality makes
it harder to prosecute an official business owner of a brothel because they are tax payers (Staring,

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2012). Once again cases against children are often reported because the general public in the
Netherlands also values the innocence of children.
Germany Policies and Services
Germanys policies are based upon the United Nations (UN) definition of human
trafficking previously stated. They have created criminal codes that deem sexual exploitation,
labor exploitation, and the promoting of human trafficking illegal. To help victims of human
trafficking, Germany adopted the 2007 Act Transposing the Residence and Asylum Directives of
the European Union (Follmar-Otto & Rabe, 2009). Germany is nationally recognized for its
effort to prevent and prosecute human trafficking; however, they are not protecting their victims
as well as they should be according to the UNs definition (Follmar-Otto & Rabe, 2009). Victims
are being prosecuted for crimes like violation of prostitution and immigration laws (Seo-Young,
2012).
Victims are disproportionately assisted. Women and children receive the majority of the
services because that is where the focus of human trafficking is. The term trafficking in women
is frequently used in Germany, when trafficking into sex work is exclusively meant (FollmarOtto & Rabe, 2009, p. 20). Society believes that females seem to be most affected by the
problem; nonetheless, men and boys are also exploited through trafficking. Labor exploitation is
not as documented as sex exploitation especially when men are the victim. A Russian man that
had escaped to Germany from Portugal where he was being exploited on a construction site was
beaten, stripped of the little money he did have, and deported back to Russia by German
authorities (Aronowitz, 2009).

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Ireland Policies and Services


The country of Ireland defines human trafficking with three specific components, act-the
moving of the victim, means-form of coercion, and exploitation- sexual and/or labor
exploitation, and organ removal (Blue Blindfold to Human Trafficking, n.d). Ireland constructed
the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform in February 2008 to generate effective ways
to combat human trafficking (Together against Trafficking in Human Beings:Ireland, 2013).
Ireland had laws against prostitution and unfair labor practice, but they were not efficiently
prosecuting human traffickers. In June 2008, Ireland approved the Criminal Law (Human
Trafficking) Act 2008 which made it illegal to purchase sex from a trafficked person and the
Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking in
their anti-trafficking strategy (Together against Trafficking in Human Beings:Ireland, 2013).
To prevent human trafficking in their country, the Department of Social Protection
distributed guidelines that would assist in the training of government officials and the general
public. The An Garda Soichana, Irish National Police Force, is in charge of investigating human
trafficking crimes. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is the court system that takes
legal action against human traffickers. Ireland allows a victim to stay in the country for 60 days
after he/she has reported the crime; however, if the victim is willing to help with the
investigation he/she could be given a temporary residence for another six months (Blue
Blindfold to Human Trafficking, n.d).
In addition to time to recuperate within Ireland, a victim would receive various services.
Irelands Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) gives alleged victims accommodations that
cover all their basic needs including a health care plan and legal assistance (Blue Blindfold to
Human Trafficking, n.d). An unaccompanied child would be given special treatment by a group

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of trained social workers. Similarly to other countries, Ireland focuses more on sexually
exploited victims than people who are being violated against in the workforce. Women and
children receive the majority of the services, since they are more likely to be a victim of a
commercial sex trade.
Irelands society group human trafficked victims in with willing sex trade participants
and immigrant workers. The general public often fails to realize that these victims are being
mentally and physically abused to earn a profit for their owner (Blue Blindfold to Human
Trafficking, n.d). The people of Ireland need to be more aware of the signs that a victim may
display like branding marks, sleeping where they work, peculiar actions, and no access to money
(Blue Blindfold to Human Trafficking, n.d). If the society makes more of an effort to report
human trafficking, it could decrease.
The Impact of Social Perceptions
As long as you are not someone profiting from the victims of human trafficking, you are
likely to be appalled as you read the details of what the victims endure. No one wants to know a
child has been raped numerous times by several men or women. Society does not want someone
to be treated poorly in the workforce. Most people will support the human rights of these
victims. Many people do not realize human trafficking happens everywhere. Human trafficking
happens every day in the state of Michigan and is even more predominant during the car show in
Detroit every January (Isom, 2013). Society may inadvertently request that they go back to their
own country not realizing they will likely become victims again. The largest hurdle is fully
helping the human trafficking victim is the immigration status. The US does not want to allow
every victim that is transported into this country by a trafficker to legally be able to stay;
however, the government knows that they will likely be victimized again (Counteracting the

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Bias: The Department of Labor's Unique Opportunity to Combat Human Trafficking, 2013). If
the US allows all victims to stay, it may encourage people to come here under those pretenses
(Cullen-Dupont, 2009).
Services are distributed by how well the crimes are recognized against the group. Sex
exploitation is more acknowledged than labor exploitation. Children receive assistance first, then
women, and finally men. People with mental and physical disabilities will likely be helped in the
order of age and gender previously stated. Race, ethnicity, and religion could hinder assistance
due to language and cultural barriers. Due the nature of the sex crimes being heterosexual and
homosexual, sexual orientation is unlikely to affect services.
Personal Beliefs
Human trafficking is a complex crime that is difficult to solve because many people are
involved. It is a horrific crime that no one should ever have to endure. I think greed is the main
cause of the problem. People are making money that never even met the victim. Some traffickers
love the power they can wield on vulnerable people. The exploitation of the victim causes
lifelong physical and physiological damage.
Our government has established adequate laws for human trafficking; however, society
needs to be more aware that human trafficking is happening everyday all over the world. Many
of the laws and/or acts introduced in the US and other countries state that organ removal is
unlawful; however, there is no public information about how to recognize someone as a victim.
In all of the research I conducted for this paper, there was no further information about people
being exploited for organ removal.
Everyone in our society needs to be better educated about human trafficking.
Government officials should ask more questions from illegal immigrants to determine if they are

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victims of human trafficking, so they will receive the assistance they need. Society needs to take
action also since law enforcement cannot be everywhere all the time. There are numerous
websites and printed material for people to educate themselves about the warning signs that
someone may be trafficked. An awareness training video can be found on the www.dhs.gov
website. The video is only about 30 minutes, but is packed with information to educate you on
how to recognize human trafficking. We have an obligation to other humans to make ourselves
conscious of this epidemic issue and do all we can to stop this social injustice.
Social Work Values and Ethics
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code, social workers
are required to advocate for human rights. All six values- service, social justice, dignity and
worth of a person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence are required to
assist a social worker in completing the task (National Association of Social Workers, 2008).
Social workers must work for the eradication of modern-day slavery and the growing incidence
of human trafficking (National Association of Social Workers, 2009, p. 206). It is obvious
throughout the NASW code that social workers should do all they can to prevent human
trafficking by creating awareness, insure reporting to local authorities is done to make sure
traffickers are prosecuted, and most important insure the victim get all the services he/she needs
to recuperate from the horrendous ordeal.
In conclusion, human trafficking can be reduced through prevention, prosecution of
traffickers, and protection of the victims. The US, along with many other countries, agrees that
human trafficking is an issue; however, they struggle with protecting the victim, especially if that
victim is an illegal immigrant. Another common thread is the imbalanced help for commercial
sex trade victims compared to unfair labor practice victims. Societys discrimination issues

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prevent the severity of the social issue to be well known. People do not understand that anyone
can be affected by human trafficking. Victims are all around us, we just need to be aware of the
warning signs and take action to solve this worldwide social problem.

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References
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National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of Ethics of The National Association of
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