Slavery has been abolished long time ago, but the reality shows that human trade and modern day slavery actually exist in many parts of the world. The exploitation of humans may be of different forms, which include unpaid work, prostitution, drug smuggling, etc. Various international institutions combine their efforts in the attempt to decrease human trafficking. However, the problem persists as the criminal organizations have significant power in the matter. It appears to be one of the alarming problems in the modern world, as globalization and ease of crossing the international borders contribute to the spread of human trafficking. The global community agrees that modern day slave trade becomes a threat to international peace and cultural development. Therefore, the discussion of possible solutions to the problem is of paramount importance in the modern world.
Although the phenomenon of human trafficking is a serious problem, the more alarming incidence is the low number of convictions for the criminal offence. Due to the international nature of the crime, it is difficult to find, capture and convict criminals. In fact, impunity of the people conducting human trafficking is the greatest problem, as they feel their power to avoid consequences. The first challenge stemming from the problem is the inability of international organizations to exercise legal power over the offenders. The second challenge is the fact that governments of some countries protect human traffickers even if the institutions have evidence of their offenses.
The problem affects many international and local organizations. As the impunity of human traffickers contributes to the growing rates of human trade, international authorities allocate their resources to change the policies, educate the governments, and develop strategies to control the inflow and outflow of people. The improved legal framework and stricter punishment for human traffickers will change the functioning of non-governmental organizations. The management will have resources to invest into other important projects, including safety, health and well-being of the global population.
The current research defines flaws in the legal framework as an independent variable. The dependent variable is the human trafficking inflow and outflow in the United States. Although there is no actual control over independent variable, the secondary data presents viable pool of knowledge assuming the causal relationship between the two variables.
The Situation in the U.S.
The U.S. is one of the most attractive destinations for immigration. The factor contributes significantly to the increase in human trafficking. Moreover, the legal institutions have difficulties with drawing a line between illegal immigration and trafficking. Therefore, the problem discussed in the current paper is of particular interest for the United States. Due to the challenges faced by legal bodies in defining human trafficking, the inflow of modern slaves to the United States continues to increase.
The Situation in Other Regions of the World
Although the United States is an attractive destination for human trafficking, it does not make the country exclusive in facing the problem. Europe, Middle East and Gulf region are faced with this problem as well. For example, the immigrants in Kuwait arrive to the country from underdeveloped countries like India and Nepal to earn money as construction workers and house maids. They pay visa expenses and willingly sign a contract with the providers. In many cases, the jobs do not exist or are very unsafe. Upon arrival to the country, they work for abusive bosses, and do not have a chance to flee the country because employers have confiscated their documents. In the UAE, some domestic workers perform their duties in inhumane conditions, facing abuse and health issues in addition to being deprived of basic necessities. Moreover, the employees that sign the contract are legally bonded with the employer. Thus, their rights are limited. Another case is the immigration of third-country nationals to military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are charged thousands of dollars for being recruited in the army, while their pay ranges from $150 to $300 per month. This makes them unable to recover the cost of employment. Furthermore, the third-country nationals are usually shipped into hot war locations, like Iraq. The situation seriously violates anti-trafficking laws and affects international peace.
The United States is a place of origin and destination for human trafficking. Moreover, the country has a high level of trafficking inside. The aforementioned factors suggest that the U.S. can become a change agent in the human trafficking issue. The country’s laws regarding the human trade debate have low efficiency. In fact, up until 2000, the country has not had a legal bill to define the human trafficking and its consequences. The United States enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to define the victims of human trafficking and introduce measures to decrease their vulnerability. Moreover, the act is aimed at decreasing the trafficking inflow in the U.S., as well as increasing the prosecution cases. Since its introduction in 2000, the act has been discussed and evaluated to meet the reality. In fact, the idea behind the law seems feasible, but it is not easy to apply the laws in the courtroom. Different administrations in the United States have been redefining, polishing, and adjusting the law to diminish all loopholes. However, the cases of unsuccessful prosecution of offenders are evident. At the same time, the activities of the attorneys can have a detrimental effect on the cases. For example, the prosecutors can involve child victims into the cases as in U.S. v Luisa Medrano et al. in 2005. The decision has negative implications on the child’s unstable emotional condition. Thus, the suggestion that changes should be made in the legal framework should be grounded in the multi-subject area.
Despite the prosecution of criminals and public education regarding the trafficking phenomenon, UNIS proves impunity of human traffickers to be a serious problem. In the period of 2010-2013, 15% of the world countries had no convictions for trafficking, while 40% of states reported over 10 legal cases against traffickers. The numbers suggest that the majority of the world countries do not have clearly defined laws to prosecute human traffickers. Moreover, some governments actually have a stake in the matter; thus, making money on the illegal and degrading activities. The impunity significantly undermines the international efforts to eliminate human trade. The claim contributes to the discussion of the research problem by suggesting the causal relationship between ambiguous laws, corrupt politicians and human trafficking routes. Due to the international nature of the problem, the estimates of the number of people trafficked is vague and unstable. The factor further complicates the assessment of the law effectiveness.
The business of human trafficking brings high revenues. According to different estimates, human trade returns render from $9 billion to $25 billion per year. The financial gain is the major motivator for the criminal organizations to engage in the endeavor. The power of criminal authorities contributes to the problem of impunity, especially in the developing countries that suffer from corruption. As mentioned above, state authorities in various countries cover up for the criminals, while pocketing percentage of income from human trafficking.
The Current Efforts
The programs under the umbrella of United Nations have been introduced jointly with national governments across the world. The UN works closely with underdeveloped regions of Latin America, Middle East and Africa pursuing the goal of educating the public on human trafficking, training the legal authorities to deal with the offense, and making efforts to eradicate modern day slavery. The effective counter-trafficking legislation is likely to increase the cases of successful prosecution of offenders. The higher number of trials will result in less cases of trafficking. Consequently, the U.S. institutions and international organizations need to join efforts to introduce stricter laws regarding prosecution and conviction of the offenders.
The United Nations, international peace organizations and US-based institutions invest resources into combatting human trafficking. Despite their efforts, the country occupies a leading position in the influx of human slaves. Thus, the clear definition of human trafficking laws and strict punishment of the offenders in the United States can improve the global situation. Currently, Blue Heart Campaign launched by the UN pursues the goal of uniting efforts to address the problem and act against human trafficking.
There are two variables analyzed in the current research project. The first one is the degree of legal control over human trafficking. This section includes the role of police enforcement in the matter, the strictness of the law, and the cases of prosecution. The secondary data in the first variable will be presented in the form of current laws’ evaluation and analysis of individual trial cases for human traffickers. The second variable is the number of people suffering from human trafficking and legal convictions. Therefore, both variables are of nominal scale, as they do not have numerical value. At the same time, one of the elements of the second variable is quantifiable, which is the number of trial cases and convictions among human traffickers. Although it is presented as a number, the element is supposed to contribute to the qualitative discussion on the law effectiveness in the United States. Thus, the number does not play a statistical role in the course of the current research, but rather adds to the significance of the conclusions.
On the one hand, the victims of human trafficking have interest in the employment opportunities offered in the United States. The poor, underdeveloped and socially unstable counties are the major suppliers of modern day slaves. The hope to live a better life and pursue the American dream motivates people to immigrate to the US neglecting the potential dangers of collaborating with strangers. On the other hand, the traffickers utilize the power of psychological pressure and promise better opportunities and higher income for the underprivileged persons. Eventually, the victims voluntarily enter the road to human trafficking and move to the country of destination. In the United States, the other segments of the trafficking organizations isolate them, and use violence to achieve their goals. Thus, the victims actually make a voluntary choice to enter the cycle of trafficking, which is then capitalized on by the criminal institutions. At the same time, there is another type of trafficking, which entails involuntary recruitment, coercion and even abduction of victims.
The United States has recently invested into awareness campaigns for men, who are the clients of women trafficked for prostitution. The initiative is aimed at decreasing the demand for human trade in the country. It is one of the strategies used to decrease human trafficking in the U.S. The American and global non-governmental institutions need to combine their efforts in changing the legislation in the country to increase the number of prosecution cases. The police and other legal bodies are to cooperate with trafficking survivors to track down people in change of the criminal activities. Furthermore, the victims should receive advice from the attorneys on the possible ways to file against the traffickers and acquire knowledge on the potential pitfalls in the system. The victims require being educated on the current legal framework in order to testify against the criminals. Thus, the laws should include psychological support of the victims.
The obstacles for decreasing human trafficking arise from institutional restrictions. It is the case not only in the U.S., but in other countries as well. For example, UAE restrictions forbid the non-governmental organizations to raise the awareness and discuss the cases openly. The phenomenon challenges the battle against human trade. Therefore, legal framework is a significant variable in the international fight against traffickers.
Additionally, the U.S. faces challenges in the military industry. The US-based contractors recruit third-country nationals into the army. The alterations in the legal framework can help to solve the problem, as stricter policies regarding army recruitment should be enacted. On the one hand, only the government-approved agencies should have the right to recruit soldiers. On the other hand, the self-employed contractors should be severely punished for violating the law.
Human trafficking calls for an urgent response from the international and national agencies, law-enforcement institutions, and the public. Although there are many factors contributing to the problem, impunity of the traffickers and unambiguous laws regarding prosecution of traffickers are crucial for combating the problem. The phenomenon requires further research to generate effective suggestions for the improvement of the anti-trafficking laws.
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