Human trafficking is the transporting of a person for a specific purpose, most likely sexual slavery or forced labor. It is the third largest organized crime in the world. Most victims are abused daily and their basic human rights are violated repeatedly by the way they are treated and extorted.
Human trafficking is a violation of basic human rights.
Human traffickers tend to pick the vulnerable victims so they can have total control. And of these victims, most are young and unaware of what they were getting themselves into. According to the Do Something organization, the total amount of slaves in the world today are 20 to 30 million. About 80 percent of slaves are involved in sexual exploitation and around 19 percent are thought to be involved with forced labor. Internationally, there are around 600,000 to 800,000 that are thought to cross borders every year as well.
More than half of all slaves are women and children and an average age that a teenager enters the human trafficking enterprise in the United States alone is between 12 and 14 years old. Victims basic human rights are violated repeatedly as they are forced into slavery and sexual encounters.
Basic human rights are considered to be the foundation of free thinking and free action and aren’t limited by race or gender. Victims that are trafficked for the purpose of sexual encounters are forced to have sexual relations against their will or they face consequences that lead to physical abuse or death. According to Louise Shelley, the author of Human Trafficking: Global Perspective, one typical punishment is called “trunking.” This is where a trafficker or a “pimp” locks a victim in a trunk for several hours to “break their spirits.” This takes away their rights to free action because they are imprisoned against their will. This is just one of many horrific disciplinary actions that are enacted on victims daily.
Extortion is another important topic when discussing human trafficking. Extortion is known to resemble blackmailing. Typically pimps blackmail victims in order to gain control. When victims in human trafficking are forced into sexual acts or forced labor, all the money they receive go to the pimps.
According to Shelley, a normal day for a sex traffic victim is to “work the streets” and she must receive a certain amount of money to give back to her traffickers or else she can be punished. Shelley also mentioned on average a victim might see as many as 20 to 30 “clients” on a good day.
By setting the precedent of raising a certain amount of money each day or facing consequences is a form of extortion. Most victims lack protection when they engage with clients in a sexual manner so must contract an STD and often don’t receive treatment which hurts the victims bodies in the future.
The enterprise of human trafficking is a heinous organized crime that is a violation of human rights and is a form of extortion in many ways. Human traffickers tend to choose the vulnerable and younger victims so they are easily controlled and compelled. After gaining total control over their victims, they take away their basic human rights by denying them freedom and put them in an area where they can’t escape. By extorting a victim, this also gives the traffickers power over the individual because they are fearful of the traffickers threats. Human trafficking should be put to an end worldwide and all traffickers should be brought to justice and victims should receive help.
Alexis Steele is a student at Edison State Community College.