Human trafficking, especially children and women, is a huge problem in the United States. Many victims of human trafficking are at risk to neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and homelessness. Human trafficking can be prevented through acts of adopting polices to prevent trafficking as well as providing different services to the victims of trafficking, future crimes can be stopped, and victims can be helped. According to one source, “global estimates suggest that about 25 million people are subjected to ‘modern slavery’ in the form of … human trafficking” (Kiss). Sex trafficking is more common than people think. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, and more in order to engage individuals, especially children, into committing sexual acts against their wills.
Traffickers prey on people who are more vulnerable, who have a history of sexual or physical abuse, or who have an unstable home. They are responsible for luring their victims in different ways, such as tactics that “include psychological manipulation, deceit, trickery, false information, financial exploitation, and abuse of the legal process” (Walts). They use tactics, such as force, coercion, and fraud to force their victims into commercial sexual exploitation. Because child trafficking has no preference, “trafficked minors include young children and adolescents; children of any race and culture; United States citizen and non-United States citizen; … boys and girls” (Walts).
In short, there isn’t just one group that is targeted, not by gender or age. One solution that should take place to put an end to human trafficking would be to pass more legislation to establish human trafficking as federal crimes thus having severe penalties. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is the first federal legislation that addressed sex and labor trafficking. It prioritized the protection for trafficking survivors as well as the prosecution of traffickers.
Also, in 2000, the United Nations developed a protocol to “compel UN member states to create legislation with severe penalties for those persons directly involved in human trafficking” (United Nations). This procedure was an attempt to help minimize human trafficking and to have laws enforced for its prevention. There has been a large increase in the number of legislations that are being introduced, “to combat human trafficking, primarily targeting the sex trafficking of United States citizen youth” (Walts).
More legislation towards decreasing the crime rate of human trafficking would provide more protection for trafficking victims than state laws currently address. One disadvantage of my solution would be that people are still committing human trafficking crimes despite harsh penalties that are already enforced. Another solution is providing for the victims of human trafficking with services, such as food, housing, safety, and medical assistance. Research shows that, “survivors of extreme exploitation often suffer severe and enduring health consequences” (Kiss). Therefore, services and assistance are important, so those affected receive the help they need.
In addition, trafficking victims and their families are often given benefits and services through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. The Department of Health and Human Services was responsible for helping victims of human trafficking to become eligible for the benefits and services they need. There are many risk factors associated with human trafficking such as homelessness, poverty, and lack of safety.
The Council of Europe created a convention which would “provide basic housing, food, and medical assistance to trafficked persons seeking safe harbor” (United Nations). By providing services for the victims, it would prevent future crimes and help individuals who have suffered severe and enduring health consequences. According to one source, most trafficking survivors experience “persistent health problems … especially symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and suicidality” (Kiss). Most individuals who are lured into human trafficking find it difficult to seek the help they need, so it is important for people to reach out and speak out more about human trafficking.
In contrast, a disadvantage is that sex trafficking can be found helpful to many people that live in poverty, and trafficking could easily change their lifestyle for the better. In conclusion, human trafficking is slowly becoming a reality in the United States, given how many individuals deal with poverty, lack of opportunities, or homelessness. Through new legislation towards punishing human traffickers, the harsh effects it causes can be reduced and prevented, and by providing services and assistance for victims and their families, human trafficking can be stopped.
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