Human Trafficking affects billions of women; it may affect their physical and/or cognitive development. How does this trend start? Who are the victims? Can they be freed? What are the end results for them? It is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain (“Homeland Security,” 2015). These people are forced to engage in sex acts or/and labor aids. Many may get the misconception that it only affects females but in reality, it happens amongst everyone; this includes, citizens of the United States, foreigners, women, men, and children.
The rates for this crime increases yearly; numbers have skyrocketed into the millions and this has become a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are roughly 20. 9 million victims of human trafficking globally. 68% of them are trapped in forced labor, 26% are children, and 55% are women and girls (“The Facts,” 2015). These statistics are more than likely to be underestimated. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (n. d. states that: Within the Trafficking Protocol there are three core elements that make up the definition of trafficking called the A-M-P: the actions of trafficking which means recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons; the means of trafficking which includes threat of or are force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability; the purpose of trafficking which is always exploitation, prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs (“UNODC,” n. d. ). Human trafficking takes place worldwide.
It impacts almost every region of the globe, this includes all seven continents, all countries, and even all the 50 states around us. Every country in the world is either an origin country or a destination country for human trafficking (“Human Trafficking,” n. d. ). According to this source: Regions that are main countries origin areas are Africa, Asia, Control and Eastern European countries, former Eastern bloc and Soviet Union countries, Latin America and the Caribbean. The highest origin countries are Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Lithuania, Nigeria, Republic of Moldavia, Romania, Russian Federation; Thailand, and Ukraine.
Main destination areas are Western Europe, Western Africa, Asia, Arab Nations, and North America. The highest destination countries are Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA (“Human Trafficking,” n. d. ). As of December of 2015, the top states for high rates of human trafficking includes California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and New York. Yes! Florida is number three and has been before the year of 2011. It happens closer to home than residents are aware of. A total of 302 cases were reported in Florida last year and the numbers are increasing (“Sex Trafficking,” 2015).
Why and how does human trafficking occur? Some region’s trafficking rates are higher than others and take place as the worst countries that are affected by human trafficking. These areas are often some of the less developed environments because of poverty. This criminal industry is like any other product industry on the market when it comes to sales; they often run off of supply and demand circumstances. Some women are kidnapped by sex traffickers while others are usually lured in and become victims by believing false advertisements that “guarantees” them lump sums of cash or reoccurring pay.
Children are often sold by their parents, who tell them they will have a better life elsewhere. Men even marry young women just to own them and force these women into having sex with other men for income. These are just some of the many situations that occur; there are much more tricks up these criminal’s sleeves. Escape chances are very slim for victims unless rescued by authorities. The majority of the time when women are traded to foreign countries, they do not know the local language and have no personal resources. Victims are stripped of their identities.
If perhaps they are rescued, they are often relocated to some place other than home for protection purposes. According to The Freedom Project (n. d. ), in some cultures women are not allowed back into their communities because they are no longer virgins, even though it was not consensual sex. The most common domain of development that impacts human trafficking victims is physical abuse. Women suffer very serious consequences as the results of unsanitary living conditions, merciless physical and emotional abuse, poor diets (including starvation), and no health care.
In some rare cases, traffickers hire off the books nurses for their hostages. These “nurses” may be able to give minor medical attention because more than likely they have little to no knowledge and they are part of this illegal business. Fact Sheet: Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking (2015) listed: Physical abuse that is noticeable on the bodies exterior parts are usually burns, broken bones, bruises, and scarring. Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain, rectal trauma, and urinary difficulties are normally contracted amongst these women.
Unwanted pregnancies and infertility from chronic untreated STD infections, miscarriages, and unsafe abortions commonly occur. Victims may suffer from chronic back pain, hearing, cardiovascular or respiratory problems from endless days toiling in dangerous agriculture, and construction conditions. Serious malnourishment, dental problems, signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are some of the first signs rescued victims may show. Although not as massive as the physical abuse, victim’s cognitive development do suffer.
They gain serious fair and distrust. When human trafficking victims are moved to unfamiliar environments they are more than likely to be afraid of escaping to find help from law enforcement because they are not sure what the outcome may be. What if human trafficking is not illegal in that specific destination? They are afraid that they will suffer with legal consequences. This mindset can also lead to trauma bonding. Women get so used to the abuse that they think positively about the predicament they are in and believe that the traffickers care about them.
Kostadinova (2012) studied this outcome and it is known as the Stockholm syndrome. In this case, they would not try to escape. Victims become emotionally numb which is known as the “flat affect. ” As a country we can help prevent or end human trafficking by knowing the facts, raising awareness, reporting any type of abuse witnessed, and learning the laws. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is a law that was signed by President Barack Obama and passed on March 29, 2015. “Survivors of sex trafficking in the United States will finally receive the vital services and protection they deserve,” (Vafa, 2015).
Another law that was passed in 2012 and signed by Governor Rick Scott is The Safe Harbor Act which gives rescued victims help from child welfare professionals. There are petitions that the public can sign & donations that can be given to help fight for human trafficking victims. The convictions of criminal sex traffickers are increasing but because of the fear that victims have developed over the time of their captivity, they fear being hurt again by the traffickers. Just like many illegal acts, most women are unwilling to testify against criminals. In some cases the trafficker cannot be located or identified” (“Frequently Asked Questions,” 2011).
Also, unlike the United States, some countries have no antitrafficking legislations or laws in place (“United Nations,” n. d. ). Resources are limited in countries that have high poverty rates. Every human trafficking case is different and each survivor has different needs. These might include immediate crises response, emergency or on-going health care, mental health therapy and counseling, clothing, shelter, interpretation, legal advocacy, job retraining and more.
Social service providers who work with human trafficking victims perform needs assessments to ascertain what services are required for each client (“Frequently Asked Questions,” 2011). To conclude, “Human trafficking robs people of their dignity and deprives them of their most basic human rights,” stated Attorney General Pam Bond (2011). It is something widely impacted across the nation yet so little know about what is going on around them. This is mainly because the victim’s voices are not heard loud enough or never heard at all.
Some of the traumatizing physiological abuse these women suffer from may never even allow words to roll off their tongues again or to say hello to someone they once loved. The fight against human trafficking can never be ceased until the numbers start declining. This industry ran by sex traffickers is robbing our world of the potential future doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, sisters, and friends by destroying the vital necessities for any human to successfully development. “All trafficking victims share one essential experience: the loss of freedom” (“Human Trafficking,” 2015).