What is Human Trafficking ?
Well, human trafficking is any form of recruiting, transporting, or kidnapping, in which the intent is to be held against will, threat, or coerce with payments or benefits to control another person for exploitation. Human trafficking can be practiced in many ways such as forced labor, sexual exploitation, slavery in many forms, and organ trafficking. One issue the US has with this topic is that there is such a small number of victims and their traffickers, which creates contradicting views of anti-trafficking policies. To some extent, it downplays the issues of trafficking and if anti-trafficking policies are being made with a limited amount of statistics being reported, the situation would seem exaggerated.
Sex trafficking also includes prostitution, which is why politicians struggle with making policies that do not infringe on individual freedoms. Prostitution is misrepresented portraying that these women are powerless and have the risk of being vulnerable compared to a child (A. Farrel; S.Fahy, 2009). Categorizing prostitution as sex trafficking in some way could be true, but some women simply choose prostitution as a form of income without being harmed or coercive. This leads to the issue of making legislation that doesn’t take away the freedoms of individuals choose this lifestyle, but saves those who are being bribed, forced, coerced, and exploited. According to A. Farrell and S. Fahy, not acknowledging poverty, gender inequality, global economic policies, ethnic conflicts, and changing economies , which is the starting point on how human trafficking develops, government officials have no clear direction of how to combat against human trafficking (A. Farrel; S. Fahy, 2009).
Human Trafficking has been associated with women and girls being forced into prostitution, poverty, violence, HIV, and white women in brothels. This according to the Journal of Criminal Justice, framed human trafficking as a problem, which ultimately leads to public attention, which then leads to the involvement of the government to make policies combating human trafficking. In the 1990s the Clinton administration began framing human trafficking as a human rights issue has a negative effect on women and children (A. Farrel; S. Fahy, 2009). The discomfort with human trafficking gained media coverage because of the redefining meaning public officials formulated. As a result, popular opinion believed that this was, in fact, a women’s rights issue.
Human trafficking has been formed into a broad statement that it incriminates all forms of the sexual exploited act including consensual prostitution. U.S politicians influenced the public that any form of trafficking should be justified as a criminal problem. In 2000 the government began to reorganize the meaning a trafficking considering that it is linked to illegal drugs and migration. Fearing that trafficking would lead to a multitude of organized crime or transnational crimes, this was also a threat to national security (A. Farrel; S. Fahy, 2009). Because of the growing acceptance that trafficking is a crime, the US government began to propose legislation that could prosecute those predators and provide safe refuge for victims of prostitution. As time continued, the government believes that national security can also be compromised, due to the action’s individuals take to expand or continue their trafficking activities. This includes forcing the migration of individuals or terrorizing transnational to exploit human beings. Furthermore, the purpose of an everchanging definition of trafficking is to promote a popular response. Policies have been set to benefit law enforcement in solving a problem to their definition of trafficking.
Preliminary assessments suggest that despite the passage of federal and state legislation,15 far fewer trafficking victims have been identified by the police or other government officials than estimates of the problem would predict (Markon, 2007). This is not surprising given that criminal justice agencies are generally ill-prepared to identify and respond to trafficking victims. Across the U.S., police have not been adequately trained to identify and respond to trafficking victims (A. Farrel; S. Fahy, 2009).
700,000 to 1 million women and children are trafficked a year across the globe, 50,000 of them are imported into the USA (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006). As of the 2000s, the US has been a major contribution to the importation of sex slaves. The statistical numbers, however, are only an estimation of trafficking because these activities are practiced in private or international. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act approved in 2000 was made to ensure that human trafficking is being combated and to protect victims while prosecuting the exploiters. Police officers are usually the first to encounter an act of trafficking because of local involvement. Agencies are broken down into increments such as city, county, state, and federal. Identifying corruption and the need for proper training to combat sex trafficking in imported and exported destinations. Local officers have the greatest influence on how crime can be reduced.
In D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber’s article 163 agencies were sampled for research of views on sex trafficking. The departments chosen have serviced more than 50 % of the US population (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006). These agencies, due to the size of the populations served as well as the size of the agency, were generally to be viewed as leaders within law enforcement in the USA and therefore, more likely to have exposure to and an awareness of a wider range of crime issues than some smaller agencies (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006). Out of these departments that submitted their surveys for research 11 out of 19 presents submitted a finished product. With findings, 7 agencies have either taught or received training in human trafficking. Training that was received was that of, domestic violence and less than 55% had training on immigration. 92% of agencies have not had specific training concerning sex trafficking crimes (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006).
According to research more than half of these agencies have been involved in investigations related to sex trafficking issues and half of the departments have made a physical arrest. The importance of this data is that departments that have lead investigations on human trafficking, which was 63% and arrested in relation (64%) have not been trained (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006). Almost all the agencies that were surveyed indicated that there was no written policy that precisely addressed human trafficking. The majority indicated that policies pertaining to domestic violence, prostitution, and kidnapping would be utilized to respond to human trafficking. Seventy-one percent of departments indicated they did not have any policies that could aid officer response to human trafficking (D. Wilson; W. Walsh; S. Kleuber, 2006).
Comparing the agencies that had training with human trafficking to those who didn’t, those who had training were more perceptive of sex trafficking offenders. As a result, I feel that because local officers meet victims of human trafficking or the offenders first-hand training should be a priority for human trafficking crimes. Considering my findings, local officers are not prepared to combat human trafficking without proper training. Local officers are unlikely to identify a trafficker victim or offender. Instead of incriminating women who are prostitutes’ investigations should be processed to find out why these women are choosing to do what they do. This protects those who chose and those women who are foreign and undocumented. All forms of trafficking are a global issue and local law enforcement should be apart of the chain to prevent trafficking of individuals. The prevention of has to start with an executive leader to enforce regulations and involvement of human trafficking activities.