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Essay: Understanding Human Trafficking: The Business of Exploitation and Slavery

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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  • Words: 1,611 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 7 (approx)
  • Tags: Slavery essays

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By definition, human trafficking is defined as the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation. The United Nations defines Human Trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” There are several “elements” that make up the idea of human trafficking: the act (or what is done), the means (how it is done), and the purpose (why it is done). The United Nations has been very persistent on not only aiding in the drafting of laws in the production of anti-trafficking tactics, but implementing these laws.  

A majority of North African Migrants are trafficked or exploited. More than two in every three migrants, making the treacherous journey from North Africa to the continent of Europe, become victims of human trafficking or exploitation. Many of these people come to Europe hoping for a very better life, but a shocking more than seventy percent of these individuals are trafficked or exploited in some shape or form for profit. Fourteen of migrants on this journey show signs of human trafficking, with 6% being held against their will and seven percent are worked without compensation.

The two major driving forces behind trafficking in a broad sense are foreign migration and poverty. The first driving force is the large influx of foreign migration. The second driving force is poverty. Human trafficking, in the larger picture, is a business. With that being said, it is a market fueled by principles of supply and demand. Poverty causes a supply to meet the demand for sexual entertainment. Due to economic vulnerability, many young women resort to becoming sexual commodities for the wealthy to make ends meet. Job opportunities for women are very scarce, and in some instances, the sex industry is the only option left for most women. Men and women alike feel the need and urgency to fall victim to human trafficking for survival because they do not see any other viable option.

At the conclusion of 2016, a study found that there are currently 2,936,800 estimated number of human beings enslaved in the Middle East and North Africa only. About forty five percent, or half of all of the people in the Middle East and North Africa are susceptible to modern slavery today. That is about 6.4% of the entire human population on Earth. Shockingly enough, there is only an approximate 32.7% average government response rate. Youth from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Yemen, to name a few, are particularly vulnerable to slavery through recruitment, training, and deployment to participate in violent conflict against their will. Many of these children are then utilized as suicide bombers, informants, bomb makers, and human shields. Aside from families selling disabled children to the Islamic State in Iraq, there are also a lot of online videos which have recently circulated, depicting extremely young children participating in assassinations, in beheading and shootings.

Those who fall victim to human trafficking and violence are often times placed in a vicious cycle that is very difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to break out of. In most cases, more violence and turmoil come as a result of these victims trying to break free. Numerous advocates who attempt to end slave trade say that purchasing slaves from their owners encourages the demand for slaves, and therefore continues the endless cycle. Thus, it is argued that redeeming them in turn adds to the problem, instead of alleviating. As a result, the lives of current victims are weighed with the hope that not feeding the demand will aid in the effort of preventing people from becoming victims of trafficking in the future.

An issue that is quite prevalent and has been seen in many corporations that we familiar with such as Nike, is the topic of Migrant workers. One of the largest issues is the trafficking of migrant workers. Waves of migrant people, mainly from Asian states, are manipulated and brought into this region without knowledge of the existing conditions. Once they have arrived, they find themselves stuck in a forced labor situation, or laboring for inhumane and unfair wages.

The world of sports is no stranger to the notion of human trafficking as well. In many countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East, children as young as two years old are trafficked and forced into the camel racing industry. These children, known as ‘child camel jockeys’ are commonly sexually and physically abused. The rules of the Emirates Camel Racing Federation, in fact, specifically forbids the use of riders under the age of 14 years old, or those who weigh less than 45 kilograms. On a deeper level, they are physically and mentally stunted. Some are deliberately starved to prevent weight gain. Children are preferred in Camel racing due to their light weight. Many of these young children are severely injured from falling off the camels. These children are then forced to live in camps, known as “ousbah” near their designated racetracks, and are often abused in these camp sites. While some of these children are rescued and brought back to their original homes or shelters, many of them are so young that they cannot identify their parents or home communities.

The recruitment, traffic, and sale of child soccer players is rapidly becoming an established feature of the global soccer economy. Every 4 years, the world sits and watches the World Cup. This event draws an unparalleled attention to soccer for all to see. However, there is an a lesser attention to those whose passion for the sport has translated into the exploitation of these hopefuls. The last two decades have seen a large number of adolescent boys being lured into signing uncertain contracts with agents in the hope that these will facilitate their journey to the pinnacle of the soccer pyramid in Western Europe. Many of these young players are in pursuit for soccer stardom. There is a present growing awareness of trafficking in other sports such as soccer, baseball, and ice hockey as well.

Often times, the notion of sex trafficking with prostitution. However, these two notions are two very separate and different entities. While some young and otherwise impoverished women are lured into the sex industry as  a means of quick and easy money, traffickers attract these desperate young ladies with the false hope of a higher paying job in the future or higher education into a separate country in which their documentation and passports are forcibly confiscated from these young women upon arrival. It is then that these females find themselves in almost slave-like situations. These young women are controlled psychologically and physically. The topic of human trafficking is a very touchy one because there are existing countries that still allow it today. Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Victoria in Australia, as well as tell counties in Nevada, US have adopted versions of this approach.

In the country of Morocco specifically, there is currently no specific offence criminalizing trafficking persons. Laws already put in place in Morocco criminalize the abduction of minors with the use of violence, threats or deception in Chapter 471 of the Criminal Code and the abduction of minors without the use of violence, threats, or deception in Chapter 475 of the Criminal Code. In addition, the sale of children is also a considered a heinous crime.

Organ trafficking is another major form of trafficking that is still very widespread among North Africa. Organ trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of living or deceased persons of their organs by means of the threat or use of force…” In August of 2017, the country of Egypt faced a large organ trafficking scandal when the Egyptian interior ministry announced it cracked down a private hospital, detaining 12 people including medical staff, in Giza province, part of Cairo, Egypt. A total of three doctors, four nurses, three hospital workers, and two agents. The medical staff agreed with Egyptians to transfer some of their organs to foreign patients in exchange for large sums of money. Thousands of needy Egyptians sell their body parts to buy food and pay off debts. The selling of organs and transplants between Egyptians and foreigners is strictly banned in Egypt.

Many anti-trafficking measures have been put in place to try to lessen and ultimately put an end to African, and  international, human trafficking epidemic. International Laws and treaties have been put in place such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Organizations such as the United Nations, International Labor Organization, and International Labor Organization, and International Organization for Migration have all taken steps in order to steps to stem human trafficking in North Africa and globally. There are numerous reports such as Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). These reports expose states that are not taking enough steps to end human trafficking.

The growing influx of migratory flows through human trafficking has provided circuits which allow traffickers to obtain both supply and demand. Trafficking takes many form, whether it be sex trafficking, the trafficking of children in the sports industry, organ trafficking, or labor trafficking. There is an urgent need to preserve  the human rights scope  in migrant work experiences, and government and MNCs have an opportunity to share the responsibility for making certain work with dignity.

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