Human trafficking is a severe crime against freedom, dignity, and well-being of an individual. Nowadays, it is a serious global issue, which includes different acts, means, and purposes. Besides, even though it is possible to identify potential victims, it is necessary to develop policies and legislation at the international and federal levels to protect people at risk. Therefore, in the present paper, the components of human trafficking, threatened populations, and legal aspects are presented and analyzed in detail.
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Analysis of Issues
The act, means, and purpose of human trafficking are its components, which can be analyzed separately to define the notion in more detail. The general act of the crime is the exploitation of people; its means include violence, coercion, abduction, and other forms of oppression. Sexual exploitation, forced labor, and slavery are considered some of the most widespread purposes of human trafficking. Haverkamp et al. (2019) state that these elements are vague and cannot be clearly defined. Indeed, human trafficking may include a variety of acts for different purposes.
Certain groups of the population are considered especially vulnerable to abuse. People subject to labor exploitation mostly belong to racial minorities: they are migrants or asylum-seekers (Haverkamp et al., 2019). Threatened populations often come from developing regions and economically deprived areas of developed countries (Reichel, 2019). Sometimes, these socially or economically marginalized people are the victims of domestic violence, social discrimination, or sexual assault. As for sex trafficking, offenders usually abuse women and children (Reichel, 2019). Therefore, special attention from the local and state authorities should be paid to these vulnerable groups.
Today, policies against human trafficking exist at the international and state levels. The Palermo Protocol is one of the most well-known documents aimed at combatting modern slavery (Busch-Armendariz et al., 2017). It covers different aspects of the crime, including labor abuse and sex trafficking, and focuses on women and children. In the United States, the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act (TVPA) outlines benefits for the victims of human trafficking and pays special attention to the sexual exploitation of children. The annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) is aimed to assess government efforts to address the crime (Busch-Armendariz et al., 2017). To conclude, laws and policies at the international level are most frequent; however, some states tend to adopt country-specific legislation.
The discussion showed that human trafficking includes different acts, means, and purposes and demands comprehensive and detailed legislation. Another difficulty is that certain vulnerable populations, such as migrants, do not have legal capacities and cannot be traced by the authorities; others, for example, children, are unable to protect themselves. Cultural differences, and especially language barriers, may prevent victims from reporting the crime (Reichel, 2019). From the ethical perspective, protecting victims and vulnerable groups mentioned above is an important goal for policy-makers and social workers.
It is possible to say that the legislation targeting human trafficking is well-developed: it protects people at risk and provides help to the victims of abuse. However, identifying human trafficking can be a challenging task. Sometimes, people are threatened or unable to report being exploited; others may not even realize that their rights are violated. Therefore, it may be necessary to develop policies aimed at identifying cases of human trafficking and monitoring the current situation.
Human trafficking is not merely an issue of ethics; it is connected to the victim’s legal rights, health, and well-being. The components of the crime are diverse and include different acts of violence, means of abuse, and purposes. Therefore, comprehensive legislation needs to address multiple forms of human trafficking. Moreover, it is necessary to guarantee protection for every vulnerable group and raise the awareness of the population about how to report abuse. Therefore, this global problem is still in the center of social and legal research.
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Busch-Armendariz, N.B., Nsonwu, M., & Heffron, L.C. (2017). Human trafficking: Applying research, theory, and case studies. SAGE Publications.
Haverkamp, R., Herlin-Karnell, E., & Lernestedt, C. (2019). Introduction. In Haverkamp, R., Herlin-Karnell, E., & Lernestedt, C. (Eds.), What is wrong with human trafficking?: Critical perspectives on the law (pp. 1-12). Bloomsbury Publishing.
Reichel, P.L. (Ed.). (2019). Global crime: An encyclopedia of cyber theft, weapons sales, and other illegal activities. ABC-CLIO.