Research About Human Trafficking


Human trafficking is one of the most despicable crimes being committed against millions of people all over the world. It constitutes the worst form of modern day slavery.


The U.S Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 2000 {TVPA} has defined human trafficking as comprising severe crimes: sex trafficking and forced labor. It defines sex trafficking as a crime where “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age” (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Sex trafficking is also defined by the U.S. Department of State as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” (AGORA Journal). TVPA defines forced labor as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Human trafficking is a transnational activity that does not consider boundaries or borders. Profits from human trafficking go into the strongboxes of international organized criminal outfits. Human trafficking is supported by other global crimes like money laundering document fraud and human smuggling (Michigan State Universities Libraries). Human trafficking has a common denominator with all other forms of trafficking, i.e., reducing human beings to forms of property over which an unlimited power is exercised (Savona & Stefanizzi, 10). Human trafficking is the ‘perfect’ crime because the risks of being caught are very less, negligible punishment awaits those unlucky enough to be apprehended, exorbitant profits are easily made and the whole business feeds on a traded item {human beings} that can be used and reused, marketed and exchanged (King & Clift, 21). In addition to efforts by individual countries, human trafficking, which has spread its evil tentacles all over the world, is being combated on a war footing by the U.S in cooperation with the U.N, Council of Europe, NATO and NGOs.

Human Trafficking Statistics

Global Statistics

Human trafficking is the third most lucrative global illegal activity, surpassed only by illegal arms sales and illicit drugs. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime {UNODC} estimates that the actual figure is somewhere between $ 30 billion and $ 40 billion every year (Rosenthal). The International Labor Organization {ILO} gave its own estimation at $ 32 billion each year (Batstone, Front Matter).

Due to the illegal nature of the activity, exact statistics are difficult to obtain. The annual United States Trafficking in Persons Report {TIP}, which is widely acknowledged as the most inclusive global report on the attempts of governments to fight against human trafficking, provides the most reliable information in this regard. TIP information is based on feedback from U.S Embassies, foreign government officers, international organizations, NGOs, published reports and research trips. The latest TIP report, released in June 2008, quoted 2 sets of reliable statistics global human trafficking. The first was the ILO calculation that there are 12.3 million persons in the world at any given time that are the victims of human trafficking in various forms like sex slavery, forced labor, bonded labor and forced child labor. The second set of figures, the result of the U.S government-funded research done in 2006, calculated that nearly 800,000 persons are trafficked across the borders of various nations; of these, about 80% are female {50% adults and 50% minors}. These figures are not inclusive of millions of victims who are trafficked within their countries’ boundaries, mostly into forced or bonded labor (U. S. Department of State, 2008). The TIP 2008 figure is close to the estimate of the U.S Congressional Research Service {CRS} and the U.S State Department estimated that between 700,000 and 2 million persons are trafficked globally each year, most of them women and children, 35% of them less than 18 years of age (Michigan State Universities Libraries).

TIP 2008 reported that Child Sex Tourism {CST} involves 2 million children {both male and female} being trafficked internationally, out of which 2% are boys. Each child has sex with between 100 to 1,500 customers each year (U.S. Department of State, 2008). ‘The Protection Project’ found that child pornography was linked to 42% of CST worldwide in 2006 (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

In 2006, it was reported that between 250,000 and 300,000 child soldiers were being used in 30 nations, 33% of them girls (Bechard, 75). Quoting UNICEF sources, TIP 2008 reported that around 300,000 children between the ages of 7 and 18 are currently being used as child soldiers in 30 armed warfare cases all over the world (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

Ever since the break-up of the former Soviet Union in December 1991, Russia and other East European countries have emerged as the main origin nations of human trafficking. The International Organization for Migration {IOM} reported that around 250,000 females were trafficked from East to West Europe between 1991 and 1995 (Batstone, 172). Between 1918 and 1959, 66 million men, women and children were trafficked into slave labor concentration camps within Russia (Bechard, 32). Between April 2006 and March 2007, 25 fishermen from Ukraine were rescued by the Russian Coast Guard from a Russian fishing boat in the Sea of Japan; they had been trafficked into Russia after being promised high salaries jobs on fishing vessels (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Nearly 100 women and children are trafficked each month from Latvia to European nations to serve as sex slaves (Savonna & Stefanizzi, 81). In 2001, more than 10,000 Moldovan women were rescued from several European nations to which they had been trafficked as sex slaves (Ebbe & Das, Front matter). Women and girls from Belarus are trafficked as sex slaves to nations like Russia, Israel, Germany and Poland, while men are trafficked for forced labor to Russia (U.S. Department of State, 2008). The Albanian sex trade is controlled by organized Italian crime outfits (Savona & Stefanizzi, 54) which traffick women and girls to countries like the U.S., Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Kosovo and Macedonia (U.S. Department of State, 2008). When UN peacekeeping troops were stationed in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, human traffickers promptly set up brothels and immediately transported a massive number of sex slaves to serve the sexual needs of the troops stationed there (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

U.K is among the main West European nation destinations for women and girls trafficked mostly from Russia, Ukraine, Thailand and Lithuania (U.S. Department of State, 2008). A reputed NGO reported that East European prostitutes in the U.K usually have sex with around 40 men daily. Out of the money earned, they are expected to pay £ 300 {$ 580} to the brothel owner. In addition, each prostitute is expected to pay ‘debt bondage’ charged for bringing her to the U.K, amounting to between £ 20,000 and £ 40,000 {$ 39,000 and $ 78,000}. Many children from Vietnam were trafficked into the U.K to be used as carriers in the drug smuggling trade (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The women and girls trafficked into Denmark as sex slaves normally come from Russia, Estonia and Ukraine (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Italy is an important destination for women and girls trafficked as sex slaves mostly from Russia, Romania, China and Nigeria. It is also a favored target for forced labor, especially from China (U.S. Department of State, 2008). In 2006, Italian law enforcement officials rescued 100 people from Poland who claimed they were trafficked into forced labor to pick tomatoes, while being forced to live in slave-like conditions. The German government estimates that between 2,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked into the country annually, but only a few are registered; for example, only 972 trafficked victims were registered in 2004 (Rosenthal). The women and girls trafficked into Spain for sexual exploitation come from Russia, Brazil, Romania and Nigeria (U.S. Department of State, 2008). In Greece, it is estimated there are currently 20,000 prostitutes who are victims of human trafficking. During the period from 1990 to 2000, it was estimated that 77,500 women, youth and children were trafficked into prostitution in Greece, these prostitutes were hired and sexually used 145 million times, and 1.7 million customers spent 6 billion Euros for sex with trafficked victims (

In North Asia, Japan is an important destination for women trafficked from East Europe, the Philippines and Thailand. According to U.S Senator Sam Brownback {KS}, the revenue generated by the human trafficking trade in Japan is around $ 400 million annually (King & Clift, 21), while the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute of Japan estimates the figure at 1.2 trillion Yen each year (Ebbe & Das, 52). According to estimates from the Cambodian Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Soc Hua, there are currently nearly 30,000 trafficked child prostitutes present in the country (Bechard, 48). China is the origin, transit and destination of human trafficking. Most trafficking into sex slavery takes part internally where between 10,000 and 20,000 women and children are trafficked annually ( Thousands of children from Chinese South West provinces are sold ‘like cabbages’ into bonded labor in the prosperous Guangdong province (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Chinese women are trafficked into sex slavery to the U.S, Europe, Australia, Canada, South Africa and Taiwan ( Women from Vietnam are regularly trafficked into China as wives or concubines of Chinese men (Ebbe & Das, 96). Human trafficking for organ harvesting is common in China; transplant package tours are arranged in Europe, Japan and North America whereby patients are transported to China for transplant surgery (Bechard, 85). South Korea has no anti-human trafficking laws (King & Clift, 147). Between 2002 and March 2007, foreign women numbering 43,121 {mainly from Mongolia and South East Asia} were trafficked into South Korea and forcibly married to South Korean men. In another forced marriage revelation, 20,000 Vietnamese women were trafficked into Taiwan and forcibly married to Taiwanese men through Taiwan-based brokered marriages with the connivance of agents and brokers in Vietnam and Taiwan between 2005 and March 2007. Also in Taiwan, police rescued 35 victims of bonded labor in factories during March 2007 (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

South Asia is the source of a large number of globally trafficked persons trafficked to serve as sex slaves as well as into forced labor, forced marriages and organ harvesting. Brothel owners in South Asia can purchase a trafficked woman or child for as little as $ 50 (Batstone, 24). Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal are high origin and transit {to Gulf, Middle East and European countries} nations. It is estimated that 7,000 to 10,000 children are annually trafficked from Bangladesh to the Gulf countries via India and Nepal (Ebbe & Das, 98). In addition, UNICEF and other agencies estimate that since 2004, between 10,000 and 29,000 Bangladeshi children are sold as sex slaves inside the country. Women and girls from Afghanistan are trafficked as sex slaves to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Pakistan and Iran. Afghan men are also sold into forced labor in Iran (U.S. Department of State, 2008). UNICEF has estimated that nearly 10 million children are presently working as prostitutes in India (Bechard, 94). It has been estimated there are 155 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 years doing forced labor in India (Ebbe & Das, 67). Between April 2006 and March 2007 many children were trafficked into Sri Lanka to be enslaved as child soldiers, and Myanmar was the destination for men and young boys trafficked there to be trained and used as soldiers, Thailand emerged as a notorious sex tourist destination with places like Pattaya teeming with trafficked sex slaves, and Thai police discovered the corpses of 30 Burmese fishermen who had been trafficked into forced labor on Thai fishing vessels (U.S. Department of State, 2007). UNICEF estimates there are between 60,000 and 200,000 trafficked child prostitutes presently working in Thailand (Bechard, 125). Thai boys constitute a significant part of the total child prostitutes; boys between the ages of 10 and 15 years make around $ 280 per night having sex with foreign males (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Thailand received 4 million visitors in 1988 which rose to 11 million in 2003, where 66% were unaccompanied males (Batstone, 60) ostensibly drawn towards the flourishing sex tourism business in the country. The ILO reported that between 10% and 15% of the Gross Domestic Product of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines emanates from sex tourism (Bechard, 64).

In the Middle East, Israel is the destination for victims trafficked from East Europe, while the Gulf countries are destinations for victims trafficked from South Asia. A report from the Women’s Network of Israel revealed that Russian organized crime outfits control the sex industry in Israel (King & Clift, Back matter). Israel is the main market for East European women trafficked into prostitution with 46% coming from Moldova, 25% from Ukraine and 13% from Russia (Ebbe & Das, 129).

In Africa, Cote d’Ivore, the largest global producer of cocoa, contained the largest percentage among 284,000 children trafficked into hard labor in cocoa farms of West Africa in 2002 (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The boys are used as forced labor, not only inside the country {in agricultural farms} but also to countries like Ghana, Benin and Togo. The girls are sold as sex slaves. A foreign aid agency hired by the German government reported in 2007 that 85% of female prostitutes in 2 large districts were girls (U.S. Department of State, 2008). The Ugandan government arrested the Lord’s Resistance Army leaders in October 2005 for using trafficked children as soldiers; and the Congolese government arrested rebel leader Thomas Lubango in March 2006 for enslavement of trafficked children soldiers (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Between 10,000 and 15,000 girls are being offered for sex in Kenyan coastal cities (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

In the American continents, Mexico, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, Haiti and Brazil feature prominently in human trafficking. In Chile, women and girls are trafficked as sex slaves within the nation as well as to countries in Europe as well as the U.S, Japan, Argentina and Peru. Men from Bolivia are trafficked into forced labor in factories, fields and sweatshops in countries like Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the U.S. Women and girls from Columbia are trafficked into sexual slavery in countries of West Europe, Middle East and to the U.S. The police in Brazil estimate there are around 25,000 children working as prostitutes, but NGOs put the number at 500,000. Brazilian women and girls are also trafficked into sex slavery to countries of West Europe, Middle East and to the U.S. An estimated 25,000 to 100,000 Brazilian men are trafficked into forced labor within the country (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Mexico has become famous for child sex tourism with Acapulco gaining particular notoriety (Bechard, 67). It is estimated that there are more than 16,000 trafficked child prostitutes currently working in Mexico (Bechard, 36), a large number of them being boys (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Due to the fact that most Haitians do not live after the age of 50, nearly 50% of the country’s families are headed by single women who have no sustainable income (Bechard, 123), forcing them to put their children to work. UNICEF estimates that between 90,000 to 300,000 of such children called ‘restaveks’ exist; the girls are used for forced labor in households while the boys are used as forced labor in agricultural fields (U.S. Department of State, 2008). It is estimated that between 8,000 and 16,000 Haitian women and children are trafficked into Canada each year to work as sex slaves (King & Clift, 43). In Argentina, women and girls are trafficked into sex slavery from Mexico and countries in Europe. Child sex tours are famous in Argentine border towns (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

In Australia, women and girls from Asia, South Korea and Taiwan are trafficked into sexual slavery. In March 2008, the law successfully arrested a Sydney based cartel that specialized in trafficking women and girls from South Korea into Australian brothels (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

In the U.S, it is estimated that every ten minutes a woman or child is trafficked into the country to serve as sex slaves (King & Clift, 19). Due to its role as the world’s leading power, the U.S is the top priority destination into which trafficked victims will go to any length to enter (King & Clift, 43). The trafficked persons originate from East Asia, Mexico and Central America (U.S. Department of State, 2008). While the Department of Justice estimates that around 17,00 persons are trafficked annually into the country (Michigan University Libraries), the CIA and FBI report that the actual number is more than 45,000 (Ebbe & Das, 18). The U.S Department of Justice admitted there are more trafficked American women in the country than there are women of foreign origin being used as sex slaves. Women and girls trafficked into the U.S originate from 25 nations led by China, Mexico and Vietnam (Batstone, 228). A significant number of Americans who visit trafficked prostitutes are members of the U.S armed forces. Many soldiers consider they have the ‘right’ to visit brothels even if it contains trafficked prostitutes (AGORA Journal).

Recruitment Methods of Traffickers

Human traffickers use several devious methods to recruit victims. The first method is abduction. Those considered suitable to be trafficked are kidnapped, kept in captivity and then transported to selected destinations. The second method is trickery. Potential victims are deceived by false promises of opportunities for study or well paying jobs. Some women and girls are enticed by promises of marriage to affluent men. Men and teenage boys are frequently tricked by promises of high paying jobs on fishing vessels (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The third method is enticing young boys into sex slavery by making them addicted to alcohol and drugs (U.S. Department of State, 2008). The fourth method is coercion. Intimidation and threats are used against victims. The fifth method is bribery. Youth and children are recruited by taking advantage of their parents’ abject poverty.

Ways of Exploiting Trafficking Victims

Women and girl victims are exploited for sex. They are enticed to go abroad and when they finally reach the destination, they are forced to work as prostitutes, sex escorts or to make pornographic films. They are informed they cannot expect wages from prostitution until their earnings are sufficient to pay back the amount paid by brothel owners to agents {linked to traffickers} who transported them there. The women commonly find that their ‘debts’ go on mysteriously increasing, whereby there are no hopes of fully paying them (Palmerlee). Sex tourist packages are becoming increasingly popular; aided by specialized travel agencies all over the world who promote ‘exotic sexual adventures’ with women ‘who know how to please men’ (Batstone, 60). Another way of exploiting women is to force them into marriage by arranging brokered marriages with the connivance of agents and brokers (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Thanks to the Internet, traffickers are able to supply girls as young as 13 from Asia and East Europe as ‘mail order’ brides to Western men (Bechard, 36). A third way of exploitation is domestic servitude. Women and girls are trafficked into households in destination countries where their passports are confiscated and they are forced to do hard work for long hours without pay while being used for sex as well. Such victims are invariably from poor countries and their plight is not visible to others outside the employers’ household, making it very hard for them to obtain assistance and for law enforcers to detect (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

In several nations, national armies and rebels illicitly recruit children {both male and female} as soldiers, porters, spies, servants and sexual slaves. Men and teenage boys are forced into hard work without payment by unethical employers who take advantage of loopholes in laws and threaten or coerce victims by using bonds or arbitrary debts. Victims recruited for jobs on fishing vessels are forced to do hard work in life threatening conditions with no possibility of assistance or breaking free from captivity; they are given very little food and water, not given any payment, and used for periods ranging from 6 months to 4 years. Human traffickers prefer this exploitative method on the high seas because there are very few possibilities of either the victims escaping, or investigation by law officials (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

Children, both male and female, are frequently used for child sex tourism. Paedophiles are enticed to travel from their nation to another country where child sex tourism thrives {such as Thailand and Brazil} to indulge in sex with trafficked children. The crime that continues due to feeble law enforcement, corruption and poverty in such countries, has grown rapidly since the birth of the Internet through which traffickers use child pornography not only for publicity, but also as tools to subjugate the trafficked child victims (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

Babies are sold off at lucrative prices to western women wishing to adopt them through loopholes in many countries’ adoption systems. A prime example of such a country is India.

Causes of Human Trafficking

The causes of human trafficking include abject poverty, absence of employment opportunities, allure of a better life abroad, promises of higher education (U.S. Department of State, 2008), prejudice against women, great demand for prostitutes in host nations, great demand for cheap labor by unscrupulous employers in host nations, existence of organized crime outfits, corruption among government and private officials, undependable political system, and war and rebellion (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Children who flee from their homes to escape ill-treatment and sexual abuse end up as street children in cities, where they become easy target for traffickers who kidnap them and traffick them into sex slavery. A significant cause of young boys being trafficked into sex slavery is the presence of stringently enforced sequestering of males and females in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Costa Rica where non-availability of women to men for sex emboldens traffickers to lure more and more boys as prostitutes. Boys in Muslim countries {especially in West Africa} are enlisted from villages ostensibly for religious instruction by traffickers masquerading as Koran teachers called ‘marabout,’ and then trafficked to cities where they are forced into begging (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Natural disasters are another important cause of human trafficking, because such calamities tend to exacerbate poverty, unemployment and a general feeling of desperation especially if the disaster has taken place in a poor country. People will do to any lengths to make money and seek better lives abroad, thus becoming prime recruitment candidates for unscrupulous traffickers (AGORA Journal).

Human Trafficking Toll on Society

Society in both the countries of origin and countries of destination are significantly impacted by human trafficking.

Toll on Society in Countries of Origin

The first effect is that it alienates victims from the parents and families who are unable to rear and nurture them with love and care and teach them morality in life. The second effect is that it disrupts the movement of knowledge and cultural belief from parents to children and from generation to generation, compromising a vital foundation in society. Thirdly, it generates profits that permit it to become embedded in a certain community that is then continually and systematically exploited as a constantly available source of prospective victims (Palmerlee). For example, in China, the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou are trafficking-prone areas ( Fourthly, it makes trafficking-prone members of society {young women and children} go into concealment {that could be short-term or prolonged in nature}, to avoid being recruited as victims, thereby causing undesirable consequences on schooling, family system and society. Fifthly, it results in loss of education, thereby decreasing long-term economic future of trafficking-prone victims and heightens their susceptibility of being trafficked in future. Sixthly, it makes victims {who are rescued from sex slavery abroad and return home} feel socially undesirable and unacceptable and excluded from society, which requires them to continually need social services. Lastly, society suffers from reduction of human capital. Human trafficking has an adverse effect on labor markets, resulting in a reduction of human resources that cannot be restored. Levels of wages get reduced. There are lesser opportunities remaining for the aged persons, and the younger generation is undereducated. These effects result in reduction of long-term productivity and earning ability (Palmerlee).

Toll on Society in Countries of Destination

The first effect is on public health, which is endangered as human trafficking victims who work as prostitutes are vulnerable to different types of sexually transmitted diseases including the dreaded HIV/AIDS which they pass on to the men who use their sexual services, who in turn pass on the disease to their wives, and in cases where the wives are pregnant, to their unborn children as well (Palmerlee). The Silverman study reported that 38% of Nepalese women and girls who were rescued from sex slavery were found to be HIV positive (U.S. Department of State, 2008). The second effect is the danger to society posed by criminal activities of organized crime outfits associated with human trafficked victims; trafficked victims are commonly involved in drug abuse and other criminal activities to the ultimate detriment of society. The last effect is the very grave danger posed to society by terrorism. In recent times, many documented links between human traffickers and terrorists have emerged, revealing large parts of the profits generated by human trafficking ending up in the coffers of terrorist outfits like the Al Qaeda (Palmerlee).

Efforts to Reduce Human Trafficking

Efforts have been exerted by governments, global institutions and nongovernmental organizations {NGOs} to combat human trafficking. Their efforts have been rewarded with different degrees of success.

Government Action

Governments around the world have taken differing measures against human trafficking. For example, the U.K began ‘Pentameter II’ in 2007 designed to combat human trafficking and rescue trafficking victims. Australia has passed laws under which citizens guilty of child sex during their travel abroad would be incarcerated for 17 years. In Panama, the Ministry of Social Development {MIDES} has collaborated with the ILO to establish the ‘Direct Action’ scheme to tackle human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Several governments have passed anti-human trafficking regulations that only stipulate tough punishment for sex trafficking, but do not have similarly harsh penalties for trafficking in forced labor (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Most governments have taken steps to raise awareness about the human trafficking menace among the public, law enforcement officials and social welfare workers.

International Law

The views of the on human trafficking are well explained by Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the UN General Assembly: “Human trafficking is a modern day slave trade. It violates fundamental human rights and exploits innocent people” (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

The UN passed the ‘Convention against Transnational Organized Crime’ in 2000 on the basis of the UN General Assembly resolution 55/25. Lauded as the premier international legal binding tool with a definition determined by consensus on human trafficking, the Convention included the ‘Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children,’ that was enforced from 25 December 2003 It is subject to the overall control of the UNODC. The protocol insists on signatory and ratifying nations to take specific measures aimed at fighting against human trafficking, safeguarding and helping human trafficking victims, and fostering cooperation among nations in order to attain those objectives (UNODC).

The ILO Convention 182, passed in 1999, is specifically designed to eradicate all forms of child slavery including trafficking in children for forced labor, prostitution and pornography (Harkin).

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe passed ‘The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings’ on 16 May 2005 in Warsaw, requiring member states of the Council to do the following: prevent and combat human trafficking while ensuring no discrimination is made between male and female victims; safeguard the basic rights of victims without gender discrimination; and, foster global collaboration on actions to combat human trafficking. The Convention also established a specific monitoring mechanism to supervise the response of member states by an expert group of 10 to 15 members called ‘GRETA’ elected from among the member states, subject to the provision that no two or more members should be citizens of the same state (Council of Europe). ‘GRETA’ replaces a previous expert group {1997 – 2003} that failed to cope with counting and definitional problems relating to human trafficking (Savona & Stefanizzi, 18). The Council of Europe next passed ‘Europe’s Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings on 1 February 2008 which was aimed at protecting human trafficking victims (U.S. Department of State, 2008). A plus point about the Conventions is that the role of NGOs is valued as being highly relevant for learning about human trafficking (Savona & Stefanizzi, 24). Another plus point is that, responding to a UNICEF study in Europe that found the impact of public awareness campaigns on human trafficking as ‘unknown,’ the Council of Europe strives to increase public awareness about the problem (Savona & Stefanizzi, 68). The Conventions represents a refreshingly novel approach to combat human trafficking despite a familiar problem of unsatisfactory, incomparable measurement of organized crime across member countries (Savona & Stefanizzi, 16).

North Atlantic Treat Organization {NATO}

NATO adopted ‘The Policy against Human Trafficking’ during its 2004 Istanbul Summit. Calling human trafficking “a modern day slave trade that fuels corruption and organized crime, bringing with it the potential to undermine fragile governments,” their stance was adopted because human trafficking results in considerable revenue to organized criminal outfits whose actions can undermine legal governments and destabilize NATO missions. The Policy requires all NATO member nations, as well as those countries that supply troops for NATO actions, to adopt the following specific measures to decrease human trafficking: conduct critical evaluation of its national legislations; ratification, acceptance or formal sanction of the UN Convention against Organized Crime and its Trafficking Protocol; train all soldiers that participate in NATO military actions; insert clauses in agreements with contractors expressly forbidding them to indulge in or assist in human trafficking; and provide an undertaking to analyze implementation of their efforts as part of a continuous critical evaluation done by qualified and efficient officials who are legally capable (Allred).

United States Law

The U.S is exerting efforts to combat human trafficking on federal and state level.

U. S. Federal Law – Domestic

Domestically, human trafficking cases are legally sued through the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section of the United States Department of Justice and U.S Attorney’s Offices. TIP 2007 reported that in FY 2006, 168 enquires were made, charges were brought against 111 persons, and 98 convictions were successfully carried out (U.S. Department of State, 2007). TIP 2008 reported that in FY 2007, 182 enquiries were made, charges were brought against 89 persons, and 103 convictions were successfully carried out. In addition, during FY 2007, the ‘Innocent Lost National Initiative’ initiated by the FBI in collaboration with the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division to combat child trafficking carried out 308 arrests, made 106 convictions and rescued 181 children (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

Several U.S laws have been passed to especially protect children from child molesters. These include the Mann Act {1910}, the Child Sexual Abuse Protection Act {1994} and the PROTECT Act {2003} (U.S. Department of State, 2008). A series of new regulations came into force in 2000 when the ‘Trafficking Victims Protection Act’ {TVPA} came into force. The new regulations addressed the problem of human trafficking domestically as well as internationally. Domestically, the new laws constituted an adaption to the changes in human trafficking tactics within the country. The new laws laid down harsher punishment for traffickers involving incarceration up to 20 years and fines, made provisions to protect and help trafficking victims, permitted many victims to continue living and developed areas for inter-agency collaboration against human trafficking. TIP 2007 reported that between October 2000 and March 2007, the U.S approved shelter to 1,175 trafficked victims from 77 nations (U.S. Department of State, 2007). PROTECT has brought about 36 convictions {including the famous Anthony Mark Bianchi in August 2007} in U.S courts. In addition, the U.S Department of Homeland Security and the U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement {ICE} have established Operation Predator that identifies, officially examines and apprehends child molesters journeying to and from the U.S (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

U.S. Federal Law – International

Internationally, the new laws boosted efforts to combat human trafficking globally by generating year-wise country reports on human trafficking, as well as by promising financial non-humanitarian help to nations that increased efforts to combat human trafficking. Each report analyzes the anti-human trafficking endeavors of world nations before placing them into 4 categories: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2 Watch List or Tier 3. Analysis involves ensuring whether the nation is the origin, transit or destination; ensuring the extent to which its government does not adhere to TVPA minimum standards; and assessing the resources and capabilities of the governments to tackle and end human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Tier 1 rated countries are in total compliance with TVPA minimum standards. TIP 2007 gave 28 countries a Tier 1 rating (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The number was increased to 29 in TIP 2008 (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Tier 2 rating is given to nations that are making adequate and concrete attempts to achieve total compliance with TVPA minimum standards. TIP 2007 listed 75 nations with Tier 2 rating (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The number was reduced to 70 in TIP 2008 (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Tier 2 Watch List includes nations that are making adequate and concrete attempts to achieve total compliance with TVPA minimum standards BUT where the absolute number of human trafficking victims is very high or rapidly rising, there is no proof of greater attempts to fight against human trafficking, or where the conclusion that the nation is making adequate endeavors to adhere to the minimum standards was founded on promises by the nation to take further measures over the next year. TIP 2007 contained 32 nations with Tier 2 Watch List rating (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The number was increased to 40 in TIP 2008 (U.S. Department of State, 2008). Tier 3 includes nations that do not fulfill TVPA minimum standards and are not making adequate or concrete efforts to comply with them. Tier 3 nations are not only penalized by stoppage of non-humanitarian and non-trade related assistance from the U.S, but the U.S also resists moves to give such assistance to these nations by global financial organizations like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. TIP 2007 listed 16 nations in Tier 3 (U.S. Department of State, 2007). The number was decreased to 14 in TIP 2008. They are Middle East and the Gulf {Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Syria and Saudi Arabia}; Asia {Myanmar and North Korea}; the American Continent {Cuba and Fiji}; East Europe {Moldova} and Africa {Algeria, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea} (U.S. Department of State, 2008). TVPA minimum standards include prohibition of human trafficking by a nation, punishment to be in proportion to the human trafficking crime committed, punishment to be adequate and strong enough to highlight the graveness of the human trafficking crime and act as a deterrent, and efforts to be dedicated and continuous towards eradicate human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

The U.S has taken significant steps to eradicate forced child labor around the world. Section 1307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits import of goods manufactured with the help of forced labor; in 2000, the Act was altered to clarify that the ban on imports also related to goods manufactured with the help of forced child labor. Secondly, the Trade and Development Act of 2000 allocates trade preferences to nations around the world according to a Generalized System of Preferences provided they fulfilled certain commitments on forced child labor. Thirdly, the U.S drafted the Harkin-Engel Protocol in 2001, putting forward a wide ranging, 6 point program designed to eradicate forced child labor in the cocoa farms that supported the huge chocolate industry in West Africa (Harkin).

Through its ‘Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons {G/TIP}’, the U.S regularly provides financial help to countries around the world to help them implement anti-human trafficking schemes. FY 2007, G/TIP provided financial assistance worth $ 11,707,625 {$ 2,459,375 to 10 African nations, $ 3,543,300 to 15 nations in East Asia and Pacific Islands, $ 882,000 to 4 nations in Europe and Eurasia, $ 1,037,000 to 4 nations in the Near East, $ 1,649,000 to 8 nations in South and Central Asia, and $ 2,136,950 to 12 nations in the Western Hemisphere} (

The U.S created a new rule in its military code from 15 November 2005, forbidding soldiers from visiting trafficked prostitutes. The U.S also published an anti-human trafficking training manual for law officers called ‘Best Practices.’ The manual was a result of 2 years of concentrated cooperation between the U.S Agency for International Development {USAID}, the UN Development Program, and Romania’s Ministry of Administration & Interior (Allred).

State Law

TIP 2007 reported that by the end of 2006, 27 States in the U.S had passed laws against human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2007). TIP 2008 reported that the number had increased to 33 States (U.S. Department of State, 2008).

Nongovernment Organizations

Many NGOs have come into existence to add their own efforts towards fighting human trafficking and abolishing modern day slavery. Prominent among them are Anti-Slavery International, American Anti-Slavery Group and International Justice Mission.

Anti-Slavery International is the oldest human rights organization. It was established in London in 1787. Since then, it has featured prominently in movements to eradicate trading in slaves {accomplished in Britain in 1807, in the British Colonies in 1833 and in Australia in 1909}. It began collaborating with the UN Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in 1975. From 1990 it started concentrating on combating forced and bonded labor, extreme cases of child labor, human trafficking and chattel slavery (

With its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, he American Anti-Slavery Group {AASG} is the premier human rights organization in the U.S. It is devoted to eradicate slavery brought about by human trafficking all over the world. It employs methods such as creating public awareness, initiating advocacy operations and empowering surviving victims and activists (

International Justice Mission {IJM} is a human rights organization that is staffed with expert law enforcement professionals who employ elaborate investigative plans of action and state-of-the-art technology to save human trafficking victims all over the world ( Gary Haugen, President of IJM has made a particularly poignant observation about child sex slaves in Cambodian brothels: “There really is nothing like the death in the eyes of these children inside these brothels who are just being serially raped. But when someone shows up to intervene on their behalf, I’ve seen life return to those same eyes” (U.S. Department of State, 2007). IJM also strives to make law enforcement officials treat female victims apprehended in raids as victims, rather than criminals (Batstone, 44).


It is heartening to note that human trafficking has been recognized for what it is – a vicious exploitation of humans in a well-organized modern slavery racket – and that steps are being taken by the United Nations and various countries around the world to combat this deadly crime against humanity. While forced labor is a horrible crime, it is sex slavery that is particularly revolting. Women have been the target of enslavement, exploitation, humiliation and torture throughout history, with precious little done to alleviate their predicament. In the words of Aristotle: “Nature has distinguished between the female and the slave, but among barbarians, no distinction is made between women and slaves” (AGORL Journal). While it is encouraging to note that nations are cooperating together to tackle this huge threat, it is especially heartening to note that the United States, in its role as the only global superpower, is leading from the front in the fight against this menace. The steadfast commitment of the U.S to continue doing this is well elucidated in the opening statement of U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she presented the last TIP Report in June 2007. Branding human trafficking as a “modern day form of slavery” and “a new type of global slave trade,” she lauded the fact that “committed abolitionists around the world” had joined hands to combat this heinous crime. She went on to assure the world that “President George W. Bush as committed the United States Government to lead in combating this serious 21st century challenge, and all nations that are resolved to end human trafficking have a strong partner in the United States” (U.S. Department of State, 2007).

Still, it is important to note that human trafficking cannot be settled politically. There is no link made between it and other socioeconomic problems {for example, to quote Nicholas Kristof’s March 2006 article in the New York Times: “a girl from a brothel is simply an impoverished girl from the countryside, and if her brothel’s owner decided to go ahead and kill her, almost no one will care”} (AGORA Journal) which is why the human trafficking problem cannot be completely resolved. Until it’s social and economic implications are fully identified and addressed, human trafficking will continue to torment the world like a festering sore.


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