Human trafficking is a violation of human rights aimed against both the individual and the state, whose most frequent victims are women and children. It is also one of the forms of unlawful interference in the field of international family law since certain types of trafficking in persons are associated with the distortion or unfair use of legal family order.
Despite a comprehensive international legal framework, millions of children, women, and men continue to be trafficked worldwide every year. Trafficking can include forced and exploitative labor, sexual and impersonal relations, organ harvesting (Aronowitz, 2009). The controversial nature of human trafficking complicates this phenomenon; nevertheless, many steps are taken to resolve this issue.
Human trafficking is an illegal business activity that takes advantage of international migration flows. It profoundly impacts its victims, causing them psychological and physical harm and trauma and increasing their chances of contracting dangerous diseases such as HIV / AIDS. This hurts the family institution since victims of sexual violence are not prone to marriage due to traumatic experiences and fatal diseases. In general, in the absence of control on this issue, sex trafficking causes significant damage to the social order due to the population’s unwillingness to understand the structure of the problem and the public’s tendency to condemn victims of violence.
Although the illegal and illegal nature of human trafficking, this type of economic activity is formed by supply and demand laws, the fight against this phenomenon can be waged on both sides. It is essential to discourage demand, which encourages all forms of exploitation of people and leads to human trafficking. Evidence indicates that there are three levels of demand’s requests associated with trafficking in persons: from employers, consumers, third parties within the system (individuals who participate in the process of exploiting people) (Greenbaum et al., 2017). Mostly, sex trafficking offers are formed by women and underage girls. However, this kind of proposal is created on an involuntary basis, often using deception, blackmail, or other human rights disturbances.
Sex trafficking is influenced by the growing popularity of sex tourism, which is travel to other countries to establish commercial sexual relations with residents. Most of the demand for this type of service is represented by residents of developed Western countries who travel to exotic destinations: the countries of Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East (Landman and Silverman, 2019). Such leisure affects women in the listed regions since with the growth in demand for these services, the number of forced sexual favors to create supply increases. In most countries, private services are illegal, and those who provide them have no way to defend themselves or defend their rights. Thus, the proportion of people engaged in this illegally and involuntarily activity is growing.
The demand for sexual services is becoming more difficult to track due to many resources, many of which are located in the Internet’s shadow sector. It is not uncommon for people to become enslaved due to deception when recruiters and transporters hide under the guise of job offers. Another aspect of human trafficking in the digital field is directly proportional to the ever-increasing popularity of pornography. Of the 21 million victims of trafficking worldwide, 49% of all victims and 70% of underage victims report that they were used to film pornography while in slavery (Bernstein, 2019). What’s more, research has shown that exposure to porn is one of the most persistent risk factors associated with human trafficking, along with poverty, drug use, and homelessness. And after victims are in the hands of traffickers, they often use pornography to desensitize the sexual acts they coerce. Porn supports human trafficking, and human trafficking supports porn. With the increasing use of digital resources for the sex trade, governments in many countries tighten their control over this sector. The number of organizations tracking illegal activities on the Internet is growing. However, with the development of technology, criminals manage to use anonymous platforms in the shadow segment of the Internet, which significantly slows down apprehension and investigation of human trafficking cases to provide forced sexual services.
States are trying to combat illegal sex trafficking through laws and amendments restricting this advertising type on the Internet. In April 2018, US President Trump signed two bills – the House Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, FOSTA, and the Senate Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act bill, SESTA (Kessler, 2018). Although the decrees aim to restrict the display of sexual services on the Internet, it is impossible to say unequivocally that these acts impede the development of the illegal sex trade. Both FOSTA and SESTA restrict popular web resources on which sex workers volunteer their services, which forces them to turn to more shady and questionable resources. These services provide an increase in the risks to people’s health and safety, and, accordingly, to a more significant number of illegal sex trafficking (Bernstein.2019). Despite attempts to reduce the number of sexual advertisements on the Internet, workers in the industry are at risk of falling into slavery.
Comprehensive measures are needed to assist victims of human trafficking. People who have experienced physical, sexual, and psychological abuse may require medical attention, both in the short and long term. In most countries, there are virtually no specialized health services for those who have experienced violence. WHO has developed guidelines for the care of those who have been sexually abused and include clinical care, psychological support, and medical services. India has created an ‘Avahan’ system that provides support for victims of sexually based crimes (Landman and Silverman, 2019). Workers seek help by calling the mobile phone numbers of members of the crisis response team. Various specialized units that cope with immediate danger provide access to medical, psychosocial, and other assistance. Staff facilitates access to a lawyer, as well as report and document incidents of abuse. Implementing similar programs around the world will facilitate the recovery of victims and partially prevent new cases of illegal activity.
Many international organizations and national institutions are implementing projects to prevent the development of human trafficking. The list of such transnational associations can include the UN, OSCE, UNICEF. Besides, there are formations aimed at increasing the rights of sex workers: Global Alliance Against Trafficking In Women (GAATW), Stop The Traffik, Fair Girls. Some people set up charitable foundations to help victims of violence. There is the Global Slavery Index, which provides the most accurate statistics on the number of people in captivity (Global Slavery Index, n.d.). Despite the different work principles and the degree of involvement, these organizations’ goal is to reduce the percentage of organized human trafficking and increase the level of safety for sex workers.
To sum up, human trafficking poses a severe threat to the least protected segments of the population: women, children, and poorly educated citizens. Citizens of developing countries and migrants are at risk, with the highest interest in criminal organizations. Advances in technology have increased the demand for sex services, many of which are illegal and involve human rights violations. Despite the measures taken, sex workers have few opportunities to defend their rights legally. Organizations are being founded around the world to prevent new incidents of violence and help victims of human trafficking.
Aronowitz, A. A. (2009). Human trafficking, human misery: The global trade in human beings. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Greenbaum, J., Bodrick, N., & Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. (2017). Global human trafficking and child victimization. Pediatrics, 140(6). Web.
Landman, T., & Silverman, B. W. (2019). Globalization and modern slavery. Politics and Governance, 7(4), 275-290. Web.
Bernstein, E. (2019). Brokered subjects: Sex, trafficking, and the politics of freedom. University of Chicago Press. Web.
Kessler, G. (2018, August). Has the sex-trafficking law eliminated 90 percent of sex-trafficking ads? Washington Post, Web.
Global Slavery Index (n.d.). Web.