What is human trafficking?

What is Human Trafficking?

There is no one definition of trafficking that the world follows, therefore we will go with the most inclusive* and most used definition:

[1] The act: “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons”; [2] the means: “threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim”; [3] the purpose: “exploitation, which includes exploiting prostitution of another, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices and the removal or organs – Palermo Protocol, UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes, 2000

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*Many anti-trafficking laws do not include all of these purposes (especially the removal of organs). Differing definitions not only result in confusion surrounding the issue, but also in neglect of victims in need of protection.

Why is Human Trafficking an Issue?

It is believed that Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing areas of organized crime, estimated to be the third largest international crime industry (UNODC) after drugs and arms. The human trafficking industry generates an estimated $32 billion, $15.5 billion of which is generated in industrialized countries. There are no concrete statistics of how many people are in slavery,and the numbers range from a few million to 27 million. The range of estimates given by governments, NGOs and advocates may range, but there is no mistaking that this is a global crisis.

Is Smuggling and Trafficking the same thing?

NO! Human smuggling and human trafficking are closely related but should be clearly separated with regard to legal consequences and the purpose of identification of the victim. There are four main elements that distinguish the two illegal situations. Smuggling of a person does not have a coercive element: the participant hires the smuggler and therefore is willing; there is no subsequent exploitation intended. Smuggling requires the crossing of borders, while trafficking can simply be internal, and entry into a State is always illegal. Smuggling, therefore, can be summarized as an act of facilitating illegal migration. This is a very important to note because for many victims of human trafficking who go unidentified, one of the main reasons is because they are assumed to be of smuggling or illegal immigration, when, in fact, the situation is more complicated and dire. It is important to understand that there are cases of human smuggling turned into trafficking. For example, the victim hires the smuggler and upon arrival is held captive and exploited.

 

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