Why is Human Trafficking Popular Today?

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When a person thinks of the word trafficking automatically they refer to the definition of trading something whether it be an item, animal or humans. Human trafficking is defined according to the Polaris Project (2016) as a form of modern day slavery where people profit from others’ loss of freedom. There is not just one particular citizen that fits this description. Everyone can be affected by this action especially children in the sex trade industry, adults over the age of 18 who are tricked into commercial acts of sex. Of course those are the typical ones that are affected but no one thinks about the bigger picture. There are so many more types of children and adults that are pulled into this life not by choice but by force. According to the U.S. Federal Law on the Prostitution of Children in code 18 U.S.C ?§ 1591- Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion is unlawful. Many children that have unstable homes are a great target for people who are looking to traffic humans. Children that are in an environment that they feel they can not deal with tend to run away. Runaways are a very big target market for pimps looking to exploit them. When the victim is a female they are at a greater risk when they are running away from their own homes, youth homes, group homes, foster care and other treatment facilities. Women are of course the main target. Many of them get caught up because of the sex industry. Experts have reported that within 48 hours of running away, an adolescent is likely to be approached to participate in prostitution or another form of commercial sexual exploitation (Spangenberg, 2001). Nationally, the average age at which girls first become exploited through prostitution is 12“14 years old, but direct service providers around the country report they have been encountering increasingly younger victims over the past decade (Estes & Weiner, 2001; Lloyd, 2005). Homeless youth are also at risk because they lack employment, funds, interpersonal skills and the basic family dynamics that includes support and nurturing from their families. Prostitution and pornography are sure ways many women get caught up in the system. Young women find themselves running away from home and ending up in the streets doing prostitution to make ends meet. Some women end up in the porn industry because of the quick cash they can make for each movie they put out. This is the breeding ground where old school pimps find their new bait and catch these women in a web of deceit and lies. Although the terms prostitution and human traffic have different meanings, the debate of exploitation for sex is common among the two concepts because there is a gain for the pimp which is the money they make for the girls turning tricks (MacKinnon, 2011). Many women and men think that prostitution is by choice. Unfortunately, pimps are trafficking women and even men against their will. There are certain criteria Human Traffickers look for in the product they will sell to those who use forced labor “ gullibility, physical health, and the most important attribute, profitability. All race and ethnicities are at risk for human trafficking. Human trafficking does not discriminate. A person does not have to be a certain race, gender or creed. All they look for in an individual is a body that is capable of performing certain acts and following directions at a drop of a dime. At the end of the day trafficking is about control and making money which are components to running a successful human trafficking enterprise. Sad but true, not only is human sex trafficking slavery but it is big business. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world (Walker-Rodriguez & Hill, 2011). The majority of sex trafficking is international, with victims taken from such places as South and Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Central and South America, and other less developed areas and moved to more developed ones, including Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America according to the Department of Justice. Many people will get human trafficking mixed up with human smuggling. Human smuggling is typically done with the consent of the smuggled individual who intends to enter the U.S. by any means necessary (Logan, Walker, & Hunt, 2009, p. 5). That means the relationship between the individual that was smuggled and their smuggler is terminated because the purpose of them getting into the country has been completed. Many times in a human smuggling case transporting the individual is only part of the crime and they end up getting caught in a cycle of having to continuously pay for being trafficked and this turns into a human trafficking situation. What do they look like? This is one of the many questions police and government officials have a hard time trying to figure out. They come in all shapes and forms which are very deceiving. These individuals could be your neighbor and one would never know. Traffickers are pimps, intimate partners, small business owners, gang and criminal networks and even brothel owners which are sometimes disguised as massage parlors. Anyone can be a human trafficker if they understand the ins and outs of the business. A portion of the sex crimes against children are committed by juveniles and women especially sexual assaults committed against very young children in their own homes (Estes & Weiner, 2001, p. 14). Sexual exploiters of children include: pedophiles transient males including members of the military, truck drivers, seasonal workers, conventioneers and sex tourists, among others; opportunistic exploiters, i.e., persons who will sexually abuse whoever is available for sex including children and other juveniles There seems to be four main reasons why people stay entrapped in this vicious cycle. These reasons range from fear, lack of knowledge, isolation, physical and psychological confinement. Fear is a big factor in why the victims feel hopeless. They are scared of being beaten, tortured and maybe even killed. They don’t want to risk not getting paid the little bit of money that they do receive. They worry about threats being made to harm their families therefore they suffer in silence. Other big fears are facing deportation, jail time, loosing custody to their children and prosecution for illegal activities. In other countries there are many police and government officials that are corrupt and work with traffickers. Victims are then too scared to contact U.S. officials for help because of fear. Between 244,000 and 325,000 American youth are considered at risk for sexual exploitation, and an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur each year in the United States (Clawson, Dutch, Solomon, & Grace, 2009, Trafficking within the United States, para. 1). As a multibillion dollar industry with nearly 1.2 million children in the sex trade around the globe (UNICEF) human trafficking has been the focus of many nonprofit organizations (Moser, 2012, p.223). In addition to domestic sex trafficking, American minors and adults are likely trafficked for forced labor; however, children are generally preferred to adults in the labor world as they are more easily controlled, cheaper, and less likely to demand better working conditions (Herzfeld, 2002). According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports (2006), across the United States 36,402 boys and 47,472 girls younger than age 18 were picked up by law enforcement and identified as runaways. The United States has a big task at hand, which is gaining more insight on the issue of human trafficking. More research and data is needed in order to properly address the problem. Even though some government agencies have been formed they are still not accurate in the number of victims being used for trafficking purpose. More government programs and training are needed evaluate the needs of the victims such as health, mental health, housing, education, and protection. There needs to be more treatment programs to help victims regain access back into the world as a free person and not one under the mind games of modern day slavery. There needs to be harsher laws put into effect to punish the ones that are committing these unspeakable crimes against. Police are in need of training on how to pinpoint a victim and what to look for. If

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