In 1865 with the passing of the
thirteenth amendment, slavery was eliminated.
Unfortunately this is not entirely accurate. Following the abolishment of African slavery,
white oppression began to surface. White
slavery entailed the coercion of a white female into prostitution. As this epidemic grew attention, governments
began looking into ways to combat the problem.
In 1904 the International
Agreement for the suppression of White Slave Traffic was signed. This became the first international alliance
on human trafficking. The main idea was to ensure dismissal of victims (REFERENCE). It was not until 1910, that White slavery was
considered a crime solely due to the enactment of the International Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade
Succeeding World War II, agreements
were made amongst organization due to the formation of the League of Nations. The
directives given to the allies of Africa and the Middle East shed light on
international human trafficking which not only included white women but all
women as well as children (REFERENCE).
In 1923 thirty three countries who participated in the League of Nations
Conference acknowledged human trafficking as sexual abuse and prostitution. By
doing so, they signed the International
Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Women and Children.
Following the next five decades,
other types of mistreatments such as organ and industry trafficking began to
appear. In 2000, the United Nations passed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Supress
and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Reference). This act elongated
the definition of human trafficking to include organ reaping, servitude and
forced labor (Reference).
Humans continue to be coerced into
being sold, losing their entire human and civil liberties. This modern day form
of slavery commonly known as human trafficking is a continuation of historic
slavery that has existed for centuries (Cho, 2011). Known to be the third on
the list of the illegal market, behind drugs and weapons, this type of
servitude involves regulating a person by force to exploit them into forced
labor, sexual manipulation or both (Keiner, 2012). Human Trafficking involves slavery, prostitution, pornography,
trafficking of organs, coerced child labor and adult and minor sex trafficking
(Rankin & Kinsella, 2011). Victims of human trafficking are robbed of their
freedom and basic human rights. Between 2001 and 2011 three out of one thousand
people were victims of human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2014). According to Macy and Graham (2014), the
demographics of the victims include immigrant men, women and children who are
promised a better life in America. Additionally it includes women, boys and
girls who are born citizens of the United States. Victims of human trafficking may be of any gender;
however most commonly recognized human trafficking victims are the females who
are forced into prostitution (Jones et al., 2007).
Yakusho (2009) found that human
trafficking has become a worldwide epidemic.
According to Fayemi (2009), human trafficking falls under the top
unlawful act that produces worldwide profits. Over the last decade, human trafficking
has largely revolved around prostitution and forced sex (REFERENCE). The International Labor
Organization estimated that human trafficking creates illegal profits of 150
billion dollars a year (International Labor Office, 2014).
victims can be anywhere ranging from big cities, outskirt cities, and countryside
locations globally. Victims can be on the streets, in homes, trailers and on
They can be landscapers, beggars, laborers, service workers, maids, escorts,
prostitutes and sweatshop workers. Victim exploitation can occur in
restaurants, bars, strip clubs, massage parlors and other similar type
settings. Victims can also be exposed online for escort services and
Approximately 24.9 million victims
are involved in human trafficking. Of
the 24.9 million, 16 million were trafficked for labor, 4.8 million for sexual
abuse and 4.1 million for services (REFERENCE). 71% of trafficking victims worldwide are female and
29% male. 15.4 million victims are adults
and 5.5 million are under the legal age.
Asia contains the largest number of forced laborers totaling to 15.4
million, followed by Africa with 5.7 million, Europe and central Asia with 2.2
million, America with 1.2 million and the Middle East with only 1% (REFERENCE).
In 2016 the National Human Trafficking
Resource Center confirmed 26, 727 cases of human trafficking in America (REFERENCE). Moreover
14,000-17,000 victims are marketed into the United States each year. California,
encircled by multiple international borders is one of the hot beds of human
Types of Human Trafficking
Sex trafficking- The act of coercing or
transporting a person for profitable sex act purposes. These crimes commonly
involve women and children and occur in brothels or in under cover brothels
such as massage parlors, strip clubs, escort services and prostitution on the
Trafficking of this kind includes the act of forcing a person to work for
free. It can include coerced labor in
underground markets as well as lawful businesses.
type of labor trafficking forces women to live and work in their employers’ residence.
The employers take away their legal documents to prevent them from leaving.
Domestic servitude victims include American citizens, legal foreign citizens or
used for commercial sex.
Each year 2 million children are involved in the worldwide illegal sex trade
and most are forced into prostitution. The sexual abuse of children is
considered trafficking regardless of the circumstances.
soldiers. This form
of trafficking includes the illegal
recruitment of children by force or threat to be subjugated for their labor or
to be used as sex slaves is a exclusive form of trafficking. In this type of
trafficking, children are abducted and forced into becoming soldiers, army
cooks, messengers, spies and guards (REFERENCE). Female children are coerced to marry or have sex
with male soldiers, leaving them at high risks of unwanted pregnancies. Child
soldiers have been utilized to commit violence towards their families and the
communities. They are often killed or left with life sustaining wounds and
mental/emotional trauma (REFERENCE).
Trafficking. The intent of this form of trafficking is to remove the victims
organs. This is done to make profit in
the universal demand of transplantable organs (Larson et al., 2011). The kidney
is considered to be the most common organ that is taken because it can be
extracted from a living human being.
Although often mistaken to be the
same, human trafficking and human smuggling are two separate illegal acts. Human trafficking is the crime against the
person, while smuggling is the criminality against the state (REFERENCE). Smuggling
involves the voluntary act of a person to transport trafficking victims across
a border for a monetary compensation. Although
commonly performed for financial gain, sometimes individuals smuggle people to
reunite them with their families. This can include the defilement of one or
several countries regulations through trickery by the use of fake documents.
Smuggling is usually not a forced
act and it often includes the consent of the individual(s) being smuggled. A large number of people who have assistance
with entering America illegally are considered to be smuggled rather than
trafficked. However, along with the unsafe traveling conditions, it is not
unusual for those being smuggled to face physical or sexual abuse. It is also possible for a smuggling situation
to turn into a trafficking ordeal. As opposed to smuggling, human trafficking
does not necessitate the transportation of persons across the border, rather it
exists nationally with victims being American citizens (REFERENCES).
According to the thirteenth amendment of the U.S.
Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the
U.S. (TVPA, 2000). This concept became the foundation of the human trafficking
law. California defines human trafficking as “”all
acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer,
sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders,
through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of
slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced
prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or
other debt bondage.” (REFERENCE).
The California Penal Code confirms that anyone
who “deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with intent…to obtain
forced labor or services” is guilty of human trafficking (REFERENCE). Deprivation of personal freedom includes
significant control of ones freedom through illegal means of force, violence
and or threat (REFERENCE). Forced labor or services are defined as “labor or
services that are performed by a person through force, fraud or any conduct
that overpowers the will of that person” (REFERENCE).
Federal law defines
human trafficking as “sex trafficking in which sexual acts are performed by
force or through illegal means or the person forced to perform such acts is a
minor. Secondly, the federal government considers human trafficking to also
include the illegal detainment, harboring or transportation of a person for
labor or services through intimidation, forced slavery or debt slavery (REFERENCE). Federal law punishes a sex
trafficker with fifteen years to life in prison, however ironically California
makes it punishable by three to eight years in prison.
The first law against human
trafficking was implemented in 2000 known as The Trafficking Victims Protection
Act (TVPA). This law was established to prevent, protect and prosecute (Farrell
et al., 2014). The TVPA established
provisions to identify the monetary penalties of human trafficking. This
act required the victims the rewarded reimbursement, victim assistance programs
and approved T-Visa’s allowing victims who were trafficked into America to
remain in the country and work for three years before needing to apply for
American citizenship. Trafficking victims were also entitled to the same
benefits as asylum’s including, monetary assistance from the government,
Medicaid, TANF, Supplemental Security Income and more (TVPA, 2000).
The TVPA was reauthorized through
the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005, 2008
and 2013. The TVPRA enacted in 2003 sharpened
the penalties for trafficking crimes and
established more tools for law enforcement and prosecutors (TVPRA, 2003). It
also allowed the government to begin anti-trafficking propagandas to increase
public awareness on human trafficking. Additionally, Congress added provisions
to the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to have yet
another available resource for prosecution (Candes, 2001). Alongside the TVPA
and TVPRA, every state now embodies some form of anti-trafficking policy
(Polaris Project, 2014).
Simultaneously in 2003, the Prosecutorial
Remedies and Other Tools to end Child Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT)
Act was signed by President Bush. This Act criminalized any U.S. citizen who
engaged or tried to participate in illegal sexual conduct with children in
other nations. The PROTECT Act also put an end to the decree of restrictions in
child trafficking matters, increasing the sentences for the crime (U.S. Dept of
In 2005, more tools were available
for prosecutors to combat domestic and international trafficking. One
resourceful addition was the civil suit matter which allowed victims to sue the
traffickers. In the case of United States v. Jimenez-Calderon (2002) eight
defendants were charged with 2-17 year prison terms and a total of $135,240,000
in restitution fines for the trafficking of Mexican girls into the U.S. for
prostitution (USDOJ, 2006).
The Polaris Project rates states
based on the efficiency of their trafficking laws (supporting victims and
penalizing traffickers). Thirty nine states have passed noteworthy policies to
battle human trafficking. Resources for
victims such as, human trafficking hotlines, safe harbor laws for minors,
assistance programs for victims and expungement of convictions for victims of
sex trafficking are not consistently available across all states. In 2010, New York was the first state to adopt
the “vacatur” law to allow trafficking victims an opportunity to obliterate
their criminal convictions associated to their victimization. Since 2010, 36
states have enacted the Vacatur law (U.S. Dept of State, 2017). As of 2017, 34
states have enacted safe harbor laws to protect victims who are minors against
punishment for their forced crimes (REFERENCE)
2005 the state of California created the AB 22 California Trafficking Victims
Protection ACT (CTVPA) which made human trafficking a felony punishable by 3-5
years in prison and 4-8 years if the victim was a minor (Farrell et al., 2014).
More trafficking laws began to stem in the last couple of
decades. In 2014, President Obama signed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and
Strengthening Families act tightened the standing child welfare policies in
relation to foster care and adoption. The purpose of this policy is to protect and
prevent the exploitation of children and youth in the foster system from
becoming trafficking victims. This policy acknowledged the major influence
state agencies have in permanent stability for minor trafficking victims.
In 2015, The Justice for Victims of
Trafficking Act signed again by President Obama, allowed for the
criminalization and prosecution of persons who pay for sexual acts from
trafficking victims (REFERENCE). This Act gave access to the states to obtain
restitution fines from arrested traffickers to assist the trafficking victims. This law also placed clarity for the courts
and law enforcement that a person who pays for sexual acts from trafficking
victims may be arrested and convicted as a sex trafficker. To accomplish this goal, the federal criminal
code was revised to equate trafficking victim solicitation to recruiting, harboring,
transporting or sustaining a trafficking victim (REFERENCE). The person luring the victim does not
need to have knowledge that he/she is paying for sexual acts from a victim or a
minor. Simply engaging in the reckless act of disregard to the possibility is
enough for that person to be charged with a crime.
and Prevention against Human Trafficking
As human trafficking
increases in recognition combative approaches are necessary to prevent protect
and end the cycle. Stop the Traffik, established in 2006 from first hand
esperiences of human trafficking began as a casual alliance focused on
campaigns to raise awareness. Lack of knowledge in regards to the matter
is a significant factor impeding anti trafficking campaigns. Often times people
mistaken smuggling for trafficking and emphasis is lost on the exploitation of
International trafficking almost always causes concern for immigration; however,
immigrant trafficking victims cannot be treated solely as illegal
immigrants. Stricter policies are essential to decrease or monitor the
sex industry to end human exploitation and trade.
Anti-trafficking efforts must be included in all areas of policy. Education for
victims is vital (especially in third world countries) to prevent vulnerability
of people becoming victims of human trafficking. Increasing law enforcement
wages in high trafficking countries is another alternative to control the
epidemic, where officers won’t be vulnerable to bribery.
Stop Traffik launched a couple of campaigns against human trafficking. Start
Freedom, operating globally in coordination with the United Nations focuses on
raising awareness in young people by educating them on human trafficking.
Considering that a notable amount of victims are minors, this campaign allows
young people to recognize their strengths in preventing such an illegal act.
Active Communities against Trafficking (ACT) gathers community members and
gears them with loads of resources to identify human trafficking along with
tools to put an end to the cycle. In order to be successful with this campaign
the communities establish relationships with law enforcement, public figures
and community leaders. The idea is that trafficking begins in a community,
therefore, can end in a community.
In July 2017 the House signed the reauthorization of the Frederick Douglass
Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act by allotting
$520 million over a four year period to programs that assist with
anti-trafficking, protection and prevention. Such programs include educating
children about human trafficking as well as educating employers on how to
identify trafficking victims. The Bill also aims to combat trafficking by not
authorizing item sales in America made by trafficked victims.
are numerous ways to strengthen and expand anti-trafficking policies. The 2008
TVPA reauthorization Act mandated that human trafficking be included on the FBI’s
Uniform Crime Report. Since 2013, police departments have begun to collect data
on human trafficking. The U.S. Dept. of Justice continuously collects data that
is voluntarily provided by federal, state and local law enforcement
organizations who participate in task forces in designated areas. Although this
selective data set is relatively small, the Uniform Crime Report Data measures
information across the United States.
anti trafficking laws continue to improve and expand based on experiences. Law enforcement learned that assistance to
victims is necessary to alleviate victims in order to receive their assistance
during investigation and prosecution.
Concurrently, the government realized that in order to be able to
identify human trafficking, training is vital.
Some laws now require police academies to incorporate courses on the
subject of trafficking to increase law enforcement officers’ awareness of the
crime. Furthermore states saw the recognition of Human Trafficking as a
collaborative effort among several agencies and made planning and participation
of agencies for health services, employment, housing and education to be a
policy requirement (reference). Finally
state laws expanded the anti-trafficking campaign by requiring manufacturers
and retailers to publicly reveal their exertions of maintaining trafficking-free
conclusion, the structure of America’s retort to human trafficking contains stages
of policy growth and oversight, several layers of the government, examination
and trial, and service delivery (reference). At the highest policy level, the Senior Policy
Operating Group, comprised of Cabinet-level officials, work together on policy
implementation and recommends significant matters associated to trafficking to
the President. By holding implementation hearings and reauthorizations every
three years, Legislature continues to address the issues of trafficking and
reauthorizing the TVPA every three years.