Did you know that in the modern world, slavery is still widespread in the form of human trafficking? According to the International Labor Organization, in 2017, about 24.9 million people were in slavery and exploited for sex or labor (as cited in Human trafficking by the numbers, 2017). The practice of forced labor is still common in many institutions, and more than 70% of the victims are women and girls (Human trafficking by the numbers, 2017). However, despite the prevalence of this phenomenon, the number of prosecutions in human trafficking cases remains extremely low. With insufficient attention to the problem, it can affect an increasing number of people, even threatening you or your friends. This problem is one of the challenges for the criminal justice system, as it has many nuances. Firstly, I will discuss sexual slavery as an acute problem. Secondly, I will argue that socioeconomic status is a major risk factor. Lastly, I will address the areas of the criminal justice system that need improvement. The main reason for the prevalence of this problem in the modern world is insufficient attention to vulnerable groups of the population.
The problem of sexual slavery in the context of human trafficking is the most acute, as it affects the most vulnerable groups of the global population. Greenbaum and Bodrick (2017) note that women and girls around the world can become victims, which is exacerbated by economic, political, and social circumstances. They are often deprived of public support, especially in less developed countries. Many cases may remain unreported due to shame, cultural restrictions, or an underdeveloped criminal justice system. Some states also have a culture that stigmatizes the discussion of sexual violence or sexual slavery. However, socioeconomic status is a major risk factor in relation to vulnerable populations.
The victims of human trafficking are often representatives of lower socioeconomic classes and poorer communities, which reduces attention to the existing problem. Gregoriou (2018) emphasizes that they often interact less with the state and have less influence on public life or agenda, which often deprives them of getting help. Additionally, Richie-Zavaleta et al. (2021) underline that the poorer groups of the population are most vulnerable to human trafficking as they can become victims of economic manipulation. They often have financial difficulties and may be motivated by the desire to earn money, making them easy targets for human traffickers. Representatives of such groups often have poorer access to government structures and often cannot receive assistance due to their legal status (for example, immigrants). There are also problems in the area of reporting, investigations, and prosecution, which make it difficult to combat human trafficking effectively.
The problem of human trafficking is compounded by insufficiently developed procedures for reporting and prosecuting such crimes. Department of Justice notes that “human trafficking crimes may be undercounted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program” (Human trafficking, n.d). This problem is both national and global in nature since, at present, the collaboration of departments and countries is not sufficiently developed. Human trafficking is international in nature, which requires interaction between departments of different countries, which is an additional problem. Victims generally are transported to other countries, making it difficult to track and rescue them, so global cooperation is key to improving the situation. In general, the system needs to pay attention to the prevention of such crimes.
I discussed the difficulties that contribute to the spread of the problem of human trafficking in the modern world. In particular, the lack of attention to vulnerable groups of the population, the impact of socioeconomic status, as well as structural imperfections. The fight against human trafficking is a challenge as it involves a number of difficulties that need to be addressed. In particular, the difficulties affect the features of the socioeconomic status of the victims and the international nature of the problem. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that human trafficking is a large business with an annual income of about $ 150 million annually, which underlines the global scale of the problem (Human trafficking by the numbers, 2017).
Greenbaum, J., & Bodrick, N. (2017). Global human trafficking and child victimization. Pediatrics, 140(6), 1-14.
Gregoriou, C. (Ed.). (2018). Representations of transnational human trafficking: Present-day news media, true crime, and fiction. Springer International Publishing.
Human trafficking. (n.d). U.S. Department of Justice.
Human trafficking by the numbers. (2017). Human Rights First.
NBS News (2021). Human trafficking survivors share their stories. YouTube.
Richie-Zavaleta, A. C., Baranik, S., Mersch, S., Ataiants, J., & Rhodes, S. M. (2021). From victimization to restoration: Multi-disciplinary collaborative approaches to care and support victims and survivors of human trafficking. Journal of Human Trafficking, 7(3), 291-307.