Trafficking in persons is a serious crime that involves the abuse of human rights. It is a widespread problem in most parts of the world and its victims are often people of a low socioeconomic standing (Mapp et al., 2016). This paper describes a case of trafficking in persons, steps taken to rescue the victims, and their rehabilitation and reintegration back into society. A reflection on how similar cases could be addressed in the future is also provided.
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Description of the Case
The case involved a group of three Thai men who saw a promising job advertisement in the local newspaper. The job entailed working as chefs in a South African restaurant that was about to be opened. The expected monthly salary was approximately 1300 Australian dollars, which seemed to be a lot considering their current wages. Other benefits included accommodation and travel aid (visas and plane tickets) as well as a friendly working environment (World Vision, n.d.). Wanchai, one of the three men, called the number on the advertisement and met with the recruitment agent, who took their details and arranged for their travel within 30 days.
Upon arrival to South Africa, Wunchai and his friends were taken to a dingy building and were locked in separate rooms. It turned out that they had been taken as sex slaves. Other men would come to have sex with them forcefully. Having realized this, they protested and tried to escape. However, the building was guarded by armed, heavily built men who beat them up whenever they resisted. They later noticed that other African and Asian men were also held hostage in the building. One of the men managed to escape a few months later when they were allowed to leave the building with their clients.
Steps Taken to Rescue the Victims
The escapee went to the Thai consulate in South Africa and explained their plight. Immediate action was taken because the authorities at the consulate informed the local police. The escapee worked together with the policemen, leading to the release of other men who had been held hostage in the building. Wanchai and his friends testified about their experiences at the consulate and were repatriated to Thailand.
Rehabilitation and Reintegration of the Victims
The case study does not explain any measures taken to support, rehabilitate, or reintegrate the victims back into society. It ends after Wunchai and his friends were repatriated to Thailand. Expatriation is a process of providing emotional and strategic support to expatriates (Baruch et al., 2016). Repatriation is the final step in the expatriation cycle. Traditionally, relocation to a foreign country is an emotional process because of impending uncertainties. Therefore, empathy and understanding are necessary for adjustment.
How Similar Cases would be Addressed
As a researcher and consultant of trafficking in persons, I would address similar cases by tracking down the director of the trafficking chain and reporting them to the relevant government authorities for legal action to prevent similar cases in the future. It would also be necessary to sensitize vulnerable populations about human trafficking, what to look out for, and steps for further action in case anybody found themselves in a similar situation. One critical step that was omitted in the above case study is the rehabilitation of the trafficking victims. Subjection to forced homosexual activity violated and traumatized the victims. Therefore, they needed to undergo medical treatment and counseling to ensure their physical and emotional stability (Rockinson-Szapkiw et al., 2017). Failure to do so could result in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of mental health problems.
Trafficking in persons is a traumatizing experience that affects the physical and mental wellbeing of its victims. Therefore, they should receive medical and psychological treatment to help them overcome the situation. Consultants in human trafficking cases should also work hand in hand with law enforcement to end trafficking syndicates. Cooperating with local leaders to alert potential victims about cases of trafficking and how to respond to such situations could also minimize gullibility and reduce trafficking in persons.
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Baruch, Y., Altman, Y., & Tung, R. L. (2016). Career mobility in a global era: Advances in managing expatriation and repatriation. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 841-889.
Mapp, S., Hornung, E., D’Almeida, M., & Juhnke, J. (2016). Local law enforcement officers’ knowledge of human trafficking: Ability to define, identify, and assist. Journal of Human Trafficking, 2(4), 329-342.
Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Spaulding, L. S., Justice, J. M. S., & Owens, D. (2017). Identify, intervene, and advocate: Human services workers’ role in youth sex trafficking. Journal of Human Services, 37(1), 63-76.
World Vision. (n.d.). Trafficking in persons: A resource package [PDF document].