Background Of Human Trafficking In America Criminology Essay

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1.0 Introduction

Human trafficking has been described as a form of modern day slavery, which involves fraud, coercion, transport, obtain a person for sexual purpose or labor exploitation. Women, young children, teenagers are the easiest victims of human trafficking, of course, men could also be victims. Human trafficking has been an international issue which caught the attention of authorities for many decades, due to the fact that the world faces more and more poverty and inequity, people in the southern part of the globe are willing to migrate aboard for survival and this has created a good environment for human trafficking. According to statics, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked internationally, among them, between 14,500 and 17,000 are trafficked into US on a yearly basis. [1] More efforts and coordination across the world are aiming at dealing this problem which is a violation of basic human rights. In addition to this, more work need to be done in the respect of victims of trafficking, who mostly suffer from psychological problems due to all kinds of physical and psychological abuses that they undergone. From the current situation, the focus and attention of all governments have been on the tackling of human trafficking instead of victim protection. From a Sociological and human rights perspective, the United States government should do more to protect the victims of human trafficking because the victims continue to experience difficulties in the areas of housing, education, health, and medical treatment.

2.0 The background of human trafficking in America

America has long been an immigration country, from 16th to the 19th century; there were approximately 645,000 slaves that were brought to what later became the United States. In 1860s, the constitutional amendment abolished slavery in US; however, this does not mean the end of human trafficking. As have been note above, poverty and inequity have driven many people from their original home country to other places where they thought a better life would be waiting. American, undoubtedly, has become such a place.

3.0 The measures that the American Authority adopt

Though the present situation of human trafficking in America has been so severe, it is strange that common Americans believe that human trafficking is a crime which should call the attention of the foreigners who desire to come into America without legal identifications. However, for US citizens, the underlying threat to fall victims under trafficking is not to be overlooked. Traffickers tend to seek those which are vulnerable, such the young, or people that are easy to manipulate. According to the department of State, most of the people trafficked in the United States worked in the sex industry, or for domestic work. US citizens trafficked are used in the sex industry, these include children that run away from home or homeless. (Herman, 2003) The victims of trafficking are mostly limited to live in a certain place, the people they are allowed to see are limited, so, generally, they do not have an opportunity to tell other people and get themselves rescued. Sadly, Americans tend to regard the victims of trafficking as prostitutes, runaways, addicts, or criminals.

The main efforts that US authorities tend to work on focus on the combating trafficking, punishment of the crime, and prevention, such as detecting; investigating the crime. Though these aspects are matters of significance, more work need to be done in the aspect of victim protection. To combat human trafficking domestically and internationally, the government in the United States adopted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which not only deals with domestic anti-trafficking but also affect anti-trafficking policies aboard. In this Act, more protections, benefits and services are awarded to trafficking victims and agencies are founded to provide services to victims. Also, in 2003, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was adopted which provides protection to the victims which are trafficked in the United States annually. Another act on providing protection to victims is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003.

4.0 Difficulties that trafficking victims may experience in the United States

4.1 trafficking victims experience difficulties in health

Victims of trafficking experience a series of psychological, mental and emotional distress. Lots of the trafficking victims undergone sexual assaults, or other kinds of physical violence from the start of being captured to the moment that they are being rescued. The things which give them the sense of security, such as their passports, personal possessions, and other documents that could identify their identity are all stripped from them. As for the survivors of human trafficking, they also tend to develop Posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression and for the victims who were trafficked for sex purpose, they are more likely to experience PTSD compared with those who were not trafficked for sexual purpose. (Pearlman & Courtois, 2005) As for children which are trafficked for sexual purposes, they experience through a range of emotions such as despair, shame, guilt, anxiety and fear. Some of them may be so badly hurt that they may engage in self-destructive behaviors such as suicide attempts. (Briere & Gil, 1998).In addition to mental distress trafficking victims may experience, they also suffer from the addict to drugs. According to the survivors, traffickers usually force the victims to take drugs or alcohol to prolong their working hours, or heighten the work force. (Cook, Spinazzola, Ford, Lanktree, Blaustein, Cloitre, 2005)Victims may also turn to drugs themselves when they are desperate and hopeless for their own situation.

According to the study on trafficked women, they are most likely to experience headaches, fatigue, and poor nutrition, and dehydration, dental damage, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, gynecological infections, urinary tract infections and other kinds of diseases resulting from physical and psychological abuses. [2] Children due to their characteristics that they are growing may undergo severe physical as well as health consequences. For children trafficked for labor in mines or mills, they are likely to have respiratory problems. And long period of time under labor may halt their physical growth. In US, for children work in agriculture, they are at risk of major traumas such as injuries done by tractors or other incidents. Their chances for certain cancers may also increase given they have thinner layers of epidermis which suggest more vulnerability to toxicity of pesticides.

4.2 Difficulties that trafficking victims experience in getting medical treatment

As has been pointed out above, the health and mental issues which face trafficking victims are not only abundant but many faceted. In response, more work need to be done in the respect of providing the specific medical treatment that they need. However, the reality is that the call of access to services and the responsiveness of the services to the specific needs of the survivors are so complicated and that they are not easy to be met. It has been uniformly pointed out by service providers that the access to mental health services poses a significant challenge to domestic as well as international victims. (Feeny, Foa, Treadwell & March, 2004) Shame often stands in the way of victims getting proper treatment; it is noted in the treatment of females or children, secrecy is their primary concern for they may fear that their history may pose difficulties for their future life. For example, it is assumed that child welfare system is able to provide the mental services to minors, however, report minors to child protective services do not necessarily result in getting treatment for the minors. If the harm is not inflicted by parent, the case would be deemed as outside of the jurisdiction. Under such circumstances, minors will not get any help or services. Even if a child has health insurance and could get services, the waiting which is expected of them is long since the sources are quite limited, not just for children, for adults as well. For the ones that is willing to get help, the cause which resulted in their physical problems: the traumas are often neglected and untreated.

On the other hand, even the access to health or mental care is obtained, service providers are not able to provide long-term treatment as the victims may require. This is depended on the limitations of fund and insurance that the number of victims that service provides could receive is quite limited. Trafficking victims fact different issues which require responsive treatment and this is not likely to be satisfied given that the existing care system is not able to support such treating mode. It may be easy to treat physical pains for victims; however, long-term recovery is the essence to help the victims to get on with their life.

4.3 Difficulties trafficking victims face in housing

According to service providers and law enforcement, housing is another concern that faces trafficking victims. It would be no problem to find shelter for female victims; however, it would not be easy to find for men and boys. Find a shelter for the time being would not be difficult, however, transitional and permanent housing are scarce, especially for youth with felony convictions and victims with substance abuse issues. (Harris & Fallot, 2001) In addition to this, victims are known to run away from the facilities and according to policies, once they run out, they are not coming back.

Trafficking victims need housing services, however, in the US, there is only one shelter designed specifically to provide housing for the victims and it currently just house seven to nine victims. For domestic trafficking victims, they generally have troubles getting along with their family, or they are abandoned by their family, one of the prior concerns for them would be find themselves a shelter. (Shapiro, 2001) Due to their financial condition, a proper place to stay would be quite inaccessible. So they are forced to stay in places lack the most basic requirement of health, sanitation or have bad safety standards. Another concern that they have in find shelter is that the traffickers may find them, so, they tend to hide their residences for self-protection. For trafficking victim who are trafficked into the United States, they also face bad living condition and have trouble in find house since they lack legal identification and they fear they will be deported.

4.4 Difficulties trafficking victims face in education

It is well-known that education is what helps people in getting a better life since to live in the society and to find a job to support themselves, education would be quite necessary. However, in the case of trafficking victims, education may not be so easy to come by. Most of the trafficking victims are young, or easy to manipulate, the reason that they are subject to this kind of crime is lack of education. As for trafficking victims into America, they lack education in language which hampers their rescue. For some victims, they lack basic treatment to their physical and mental problems, not to mention to request them to learn life skills or other knowledge which may help them into better life. (Foa & Rothbaum, 1998) Some victims suffer from the impact of trauma symptoms which affect their physical wellbeing that they hardly could afford the chance to access of education, employment and reintegration into the society. For foreign-born trafficking victims, they face the difficulties relating to language, and culture. Lacking in English prevent these victims in getting access to their legal rights, and the chance of being educated. In the perspective of the chances to education, it is to be noted that even though these victims maybe interested in getting themselves educated, the chances provided for them are not that much. To be admitted into schools, some requirements are to be satisfied and met, for some of the trafficking victims, they even may not have the chance to get the most basic education. In addition to this, they also may have the problem of getting enough fees for schools.

5.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, even though the American authorities have adopted legislations as well as other measures to tackle the problems of providing sufficient help and services to the trafficking victims, there is no denial on the fact that victims needs more help in relation to housing, medical help, education and other aspects as well given that they may under gone a lot of physical and psychological distress and pain, more work needs to done on the part of the authorities.

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