The Victims of Human Trafficking Essay Example
All around the world the presence of human trafficking is still prevalent. In present times, many people would believe that all human trafficking would be under control, and the lives of the victims would be restored; however, this is not the case for the lives of immigrants. A large portion of today's victims are immigrants. Although many believe that human trafficking entails a wide range of young women, most human trafficking victims are immigrants who have poor language skills, lack legal status, and who struggle to repay their debts from complicated loans.
So what exactly is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a form of slavery in which the main intention is often to obtain free labor or sex. Human traffickers often use force in order to obtain such desires. Many victims of human trafficking are forced to do multiple forms of exploitation such as forced labor, forced organ removal, forced criminality, forced marriage and even forced prostitution. Human trafficking makes billions of dollars around the world yearly. Human trafficking doesn't just occur in low-grade countries but it even occurs in the United States of America. Did you know that right now you could even be using, eating or wearing a product made by human trafficking victims? Americans most likely have even come in contact with such products at least once in their lifetime.
Human trafficking hasn't just recently surfaced. In fact, it even ties all the way back to the 1200s. In 1562 the British had joined a European slave trade in Africa and were transporting Africans for labor. Some colonies such as Massachusetts even legalized slavery for the colony in 1641. Prior to that, however, in the 1400s the Portuguese were involved in transporting Africans to Portugal. When Great Britain had made the Transatlantic Slave Trade illegal the United States followed suit and in the 1820s slavery was punishable by death. Even with most nations banning human trafficking, traffickers continued into present times. In 1927 the League of Nations was founded in hopes of focusing on issues like human trafficking.
Then in 2000, an Anti-Slavery organization called Free the Slaves was founded in the United States. In 2017 Former President Barack Obama released a proclamation during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Obama addressed the United States efforts of lifting human trafficking stating that “The United States has pursued efforts to address these crimes and lift up individuals who have suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of traffickers.” His efforts have helped raise awareness throughout America. While today people are trafficked everywhere, many activists are still fighting for the cause. Today there are over 20 million victims of human trafficking and while we continue to fight to end such crimes, complications can still arise.
Despite the belief that the main victims of human trafficking are immigrants, many would argue that the victims of human trafficking are only women. The Advocates For Human Rights touched briefly on their views stating that “women answer job advertisements for positions abroad such as dancers, waitresses, and nannies, only to find themselves held against their will and forced into prostitution and sexual slavery”(The Advocates For Human Rights). Although this is a valid point, currently most databases such as CTDC show the staggering amount of immigrants being trafficked yearly.
Immigrants familiarity with other languages are often limited. Most of the time immigrants only know their one spoken language. Logistically speaking these millions of immigrants particularly in the United States of America don't even speak english. This can make them vulnerable to human trafficking predators. Since the immigrants cannot truly understand english they can often get themselves into complex situations. These “poor language skills can prevent migrant workers from understanding and negotiating employment terms and engaging in job training, and, importantly, it can hinder their understanding of local rights”(Zimmerman). When immigrants come from their home countries in search of jobs they can misunderstand what a job entails. A predator could easily put out a confusing job listing which an immigrant would take in blindsight and optimism. Immigrants unfamiliarity with a new countries language can be highly beneficial for a predator looking for easy enslavement. So then “in order to enslave, traffickers may confiscate their documents, or use the fact that they are unfamiliar with their destination country’s language, customs, and laws”(U.S Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report).An immigrant with no knowledge of a foreign countries language or customs could be coerced into an unreliable situation such as trafficking.
To a predator, an immigrants lack of legal status can easily be used as blackmail. If an immigrant were to attempt to leave a human trafficker than the trafficker could use the immigrants illegal status to keep them in check. In a Ted talk by Noy Thrupkaew, Noy said “in case after case I've studied, employers have no problem calling on law enforcement to try and threaten or deport their striking trafficked workers. If those workers run away, they risk becoming part of the great mass of undocumented workers who are also subject to the whims of law enforcement if they're caught.” Traffickers have absolutely no problem blackmailing their victims. If they need a job done and a victim were to attempt to leave than law enforcers could easily be called. This makes a human trafficker more interested in enslaving a immigrant.
Often times when an immigrant decides to migrate to a foreign country in search of a better life they need money in order to make the move. The money is usually used by an immigrant for a ticket or somewhere to stay. Many immigrants, however, do not have enough money to even think about trying to leave their country. This leads to them turning to other methods of obtaining the money. It has been estimated that “Globally, nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor, made to work for free after falling into debt or forced to work… according to the International Labour Organization(ILO)”(Wulfhorst). An immigrants desire to move somewhere better can overturn all their senses making them do irrational things. Sometimes this leads an immigrant to take a loan from a unsettling man. Multiple situations have occured when immigrant families have had to work off a loan with forced labor.
In conclusion, immigrants are the main victims of human trafficking because of their minimal language skills, illegal status, and their debts. They are preyed upon by human traffickers every day. Whether this is in very modern cities above the poverty line or cities well below the poverty line. The lives of the immigrants are forever changed due to human trafficking predators.
Why should people even care about human trafficking? Well, millions of people around the world are being trafficked every day and many feel as though they are safe from being victimized. This however, is not the case as trafficking can occur anywhere such as highly industrialized areas. Human trafficking is not only social injustice but it also violates human rights which is why millions of activists are fighting for the cause. What can society do to help the cause? There are hundreds of ways to help the victims of human trafficking such as informing a local police station of any suspicions, being an informed consumer by checking slavery footprints, raising awareness through clubs and organizations, and lastly by simply avoiding products listed on the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.