Essay on Human Trafficking
Often called “modern-day slavery”, human trafficking is a global crime in which people trade on others for profit or benefit. Human trafficking is defined as “the use of force, fraud, coercion, deception, or abuse of power to compel a person to do labor or services”. Although human trafficking includes physical methods or sexual abuse, nonphysical methods such as psychological coercion plays a significant role in the repression of the trafficked person. This paper highlights the significance of psychological coercion, its potential impact on the victim, and how it enables the trafficker to recruit and control victims.
According to Lipscombe & Beard (2014), psychological coercion is identified as an important and controlling feature of human trafficking. This term holds a wide variety of abusive methods of human trafficking starting from bad working conditions and cultural isolation to threats and degradation. As mentioned in Amnesty International’s Coercive Behaviors (1975), psychological coercion beats the freewill and thinking abilities of the victim. It states that “victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent. Their emotional defenses, cognitive processes, values, ideas, attitudes, conduct and ability to reason are undermined, and decisions are no longer through meaningful free choice, rationality, or the inherent merit or value of the ideas or propositions being presented.”
The OSCE Resource Police Training Guide (2013) mentioned that there has been limited research into the impact of psychological coercion on victims of human trafficking. Susie B. Baldwin (2015) focuses on the chronic stress experienced by victims and how trafficking limits victims’ social and personal coping resources and contributes to acute and chronic health problems. Traffickers kept victims away from family and friends, depriving them of social support. In addition, traffickers limited the victims’ exposure to the outside world they knew nothing about what is outside their walls. Moreover, victims suffered from induced exhaustion as they were working day by day without any rest and they were also deprived of their basic needs. Traffickers also used threats as a way to scare and control victims. They also applied degradation when dealing with the victims they used to treat them like animals. One of the victims in Baldwin’s article reports “they pulled my hair and spank my head. I even cut my hair by myself so that there’s nothing to hold because they will pull my hair. I cut it short, short, short, so they will not hold it.”
To conclude, by examining the significant role of psychological coercion in human trafficking, we understand how isolation and degradation followed by other forms of coercion, affect the vulnerable and week position of the victim especially if she was a woman or a child. It is with no doubt that human trafficking is a crime against humanity, it is a disgrace and dishonor since people are treated like animals who are sold many times and are physically and psychologically damaged. This new form of slavery must be stopped as it targets women, children, poor people, and vulnerable members of society.