Analysis and Discussion of a Transnational Criminal Activity

2086 words (8 pages) Essay in Criminology

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“Provide an analysis and discussion of a Transnational criminal activity

A Transnational Criminal Activity: Human Trafficking and sexual exploitation of females



Human Trafficking is “a human rights violation with significant implications for the physical, sexual, and psychological health of those affected…” which has continued to threaten the world we live in.  It “…can encompass abuse in many forms, including neglect, intimidation, physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse” (Human Trafficking, 2016).  Human Trafficking is a transnational criminal activity defined by Allum and Gilmour (2012) as a form of “deviant globalisation; the unpleased underside of transnational integration… spreading across the world with varying degrees of potency and often unnoticed morality.” As a quick and easy way to make money for those involved, Human Trafficking is one of the most consequential transnational criminal operations affecting the world. In particular this report will look at how young girls and women are sexually exploited; often being exposed to risky sexual practices and diseases such as HIV leaving a detrimental effect on their lives. It will also attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the problems and different academic views on the human trafficking of these females.

Reasons behind Trafficking

One of the main reasons why victims become involved in Human Trafficking is the welfare and security they are promised in their future destination country. Shelley (2010, p.16-17) said “The greatest likelihood of trafficking occurs where women and girls are denied property rights, access to education, economic rights, and participation in the political process. Women and female children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking because of their low social status and the lack of investment in girls.” The idea in some communities that females can be used to secure a family’s economic position will results in young women and girls being sold off to repay their family’s debt, provide, or compensate for an absence of revenue when crops have failed both stability and prosperity. As a result, they are easily deceived by expectations; they think they can start over and provide a better life for themselves and their families in richer more profitable areas such as the United Kingdom and the USA. Williams (2018) stated that “Victims of sex trafficking may be exploited for commercial sex through street prostitution, illicit massage parlors, brothels, escort services, and online advertising hubs.” As they do not have an opportunity to work in their native country, it is an easy way to create a new life thereby showing the sicking things these desperate women face in hope for a fresh start.

For example many women and girls are often exposed to diseases such as HIV which is highly common in many middle to lower class countries such as India and Bangladesh (Rezaeian, M, 2017). During the last ten years, it is estimated that over 30,000 women and girls have been trafficked from Bangladesh to India; and this is continuing at a rate of 200-400 women monthly(STOP 2001). Within these statistics many vulnerable women, are violated losing their human dignity and security, whilst being exposed to this disease (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 2002). This is to emphasize that among the different services the girls must provide, they are also risking their lives to be able to support their family.

Impact of the world

The exploitation of young girls and women smuggled across borders for sexual means is a very common issue worldwide with about ‘50,000 women and children or 7% of the international total attempting to come to the USA every year with the majority coming from South East Asia. In particular the illicit traffic in the US is an important component in maintaining support structures for the U.S prostitution industry. For example in Florida, police arrested a brothel operator who had paid to smuggle women and children in Mexico and then forced each into prostitution to pay off her $2000 smuggling fee’ (Lyman, Potter, 2007 p.184). 

As the table below shows, Asia and the Pacific accounts for over half of all people estimated to be in forced labour as a result of trafficking.  This could be because Asian Crime Groups tend to specialise in this area in contrast to their American or European counter-parts who usually concentrate on the drug trade (Shelley 2010).

Table: (, 2008)

Whilst in Southeast Asia, over 225,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders. 30,000 of these will end up in the U.S market therefore making South East Asia the largest source for importation into the U.S (Lyman, Potter, 2007 p.185). The scale of trafficking also deals a particular blow to gender equality and women’s rights, presents a strain on law enforcement, and affects security and health systems (Danailova-Trainor and Laczko 2010).

Geographical patterns within Human Trafficking on Sexual Exploitation of Women/ Girls

Although Human Trafficking cases have their individual characteristics, they tend to follow the same geographical pattern. ‘They are abducted or recruited in the country of origin, transferred through transit regions and then exploited in the destination country. If the exploitation of the victim is stopped for whatever reason, they can be rescued as victims of trafficking and therefore might receive support in the country of destination. Eventually, they might be repatriated back to their origin country; or if this is no longer possible, relocated in a third country. However unfortunately they can sometimes be deported from destination or transit countries as illegal migrants’ (Kangaspunta, 2006). In fact Human Trafficking have many geographical patterns and geographic distributions which is why so many countries around the world are affected by it.

Central and Eastern Europe, for example, is a country that has been deeply affected by Human Trafficking. Whilst many victims will be trafficked out of this sub-region to be exploited in Western Europe, this area is also seen as a destination for victims, indicating that intra-regional human trafficking is a problem (Futo and Jandl, 2006). Countries including Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands are ranked very high in the citation index as destination countries. A document from the UNHS (2007) has stated that Germany is the highest destination for women and children trafficked for sexual purposes, which could be because it is a wealthy country with a demand for cheap labour; something that native homes do not possess.

Regulation of Human Trafficking on Sexual Exploitation of Women/ Girls

As hundreds of countries worldwide are affected on a daily basis from Human Trafficking, many have tried to respond to the problem and act against it to prevent it from happening. The American government has helped to implement legislative changes to try to prevent Human Trafficking. For example in 2000 they brought in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which created a three-pronged approach of prevention, protection, and prosecution. Through this act, the T visa was established, which allows victims of human trafficking, and their families to become temporary U.S. residents whilst making them eligible to become permanent residents after three years. They have also created the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, 2005 and 2008, as well as the Protect Act of 2003 which enhanced penalties for individuals engaging in sex tourism with children, both within the United States and in other countries (Polaris, 2019).

 However not every country is willing to make Human Trafficking illegal including the Netherlands which is regarded as a country of destination. Ioannou and Oostinga (2015, p,35-37) looked into the ways in which young women are trafficked over to the Netherlands to work as prostitutes. Since October 2000, the brothel ban was lifted, which means that prostitutes can be legally exploited in privately held places as long as the owner has a local license. For example Window Prostitution is a legalised form of prostitution in the Netherlands where the prostitute rents a room next to a public street and recruits customers from behind a window. Victims of Human Trafficking in these types of prostitution are subjected to different forms of control and manipulation.

Yury Fedotov (UNODC executive Director) stated that “ Human Trafficking for sexual exploitation and for forced labour remain the most prominently detected forms, but victims are also being trafficked to be used as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, benefit fraud, or production of pornography” (United Nations Sustainable Development, 2016). While 158 countries have criminalized human trafficking (a huge improvement since 2003), “the rate of convictions remains far too low, and victims are not always receiving the protection and services countries are obliged to provide.” Therefore more must be done to stop Human Trafficking from continuing to affect the world we live in.


it is evident that everywhere Human Trafficking occurs, the consequences are devastating for victims and the larger community worldwide. Even if the victim does survive, their development as a person is ‘irreparably damaged’ (US State Department 2004) often suffering multiple traumas and psychological problems. 

it is impossible to eliminate the issue of Human Trafficking and the sexual exploitation of both women and girls whilst the root of the problems are still flourishing. As there is a deprivation in developing countries, many will continue to look for a way out, encouraging victims to abandon their families and search for a better life. Thus, unless all countries work collaboratively to end the issue of Human Trafficking, it will not be solved entirely.

Sexual exploitation cases have dominated the news worldwide creating causes of concern with many questioning the purpose of human trafficking.

Currently at 1544 words



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  • Rezaeian, M. (2017) “The Frequency of Burns among the Victims of Sex Trafficking in Some Lower-Middle-Income Countries,” Burns, 43(1), pp. 245–246. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2016.07.010.
  • Shelley, L. I. (2010). Human Trafficking : A Global Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. P.16-17
  • UN Habitat (2007) Enhancing Urban Safety and Security: Global Report on Human Settlements (2007) Available at:
  • United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. (2002). Layers of Silence: Links between womens vulnerability, trafficking and HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. [online] Available at:
  • United Nations Sustainable Development. (2016). Report: Majority of trafficking victims are women and girls. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2019].
  • US State Department (2004) Trafficking in Persons Report 2004, Washington DC Williams B.A (2018) “Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking,” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 41(2), pp. 623–629.
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