The Plague Of Human Trafficking

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Coincidentally, just after the start of the World Cup, the U.S. Department of State released its Trafficking in Persons Report 2010. It’s the tenth anniversary of these reports that track the human trafficking trade. A fact sheet accompanying the report admitted that the push against human trafficking is still in the initial stages. Many countries are still learning about it and exploring ways to deal with it effectively, it noted. Although much media attention is focused on trafficking for sexual ends, the State Department pointed out that more people are trafficked for forced labor than for commercial sex. Even so, traffickers often do use sexual violence as a way to coerce women in their work in fields or factories.

The report explained that the Palermo Protocol was the first time an international instrument existed on the issue of human trafficking. It called for an approach based on a “3-P” paradigm: prevention, prosecution, and victim protection. It is not sufficient to prosecute traffickers, the report stated, there should also be assistance to the survivors and steps be taken to ensure that no one else is victimized.

Trafficking can take many forms, the report commented. At times, it can involve deceiving and kidnapping of unwitting victims, but often it involves coercing and exploiting people who initially entered a particular form of service voluntarily or migrated willingly. The State Department cited recent studies that show the majority of human trafficking in the world takes the form of forced labor. According to estimates by the International Labor Organization, for every trafficking victim subjected to forced prostitution, nine people are forced to work. Often, this practice is facilitated by circumstances of high rates of unemployment, poverty, discrimination and corruption.

One type of forced labor is through the use of a bond, or debt. This occurs when traffickers or recruiters exploit an initial debt the worker assumed as part of the terms of employment. This can also be inter-generational. In South Asia, it is estimated that there are millions of trafficking victims working to pay off their ancestors’ debts, according to the report. Involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking are some of the other main forms of trafficking in persons.

One of the more interesting points made by the report is the need to view the problem of trafficking in persons in a wider context. For example, the State Department observed that the problem of corruption of public officials is a major impediment in dealing with an issue. Indexes that rank countries on civil liberties and corruption show that governments that rate poorly on the matter of trafficking also have low ranks on corruption and civil liberties.  www.zenit.org 

 

Some of the main findings of the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report:

– 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world; 56% of these victims are women and girls. 

– The value for traffickers of this trade is estimated at $32 billion annually.

– The prevalence of trafficking victims in the world is calculated to be at the level of 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants. This varies by region, reaching 3 per 1,000 in Asia and the Pacific.

– There were 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009, a 40% increase over 2008.

– There are still 62 countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol (a document adopted by the United Nations on human trafficking).

– No less than 104 countries are without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportation.

 

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