Trafficking in persons
Trafficking in Persons.
Being Haitian American the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th have greatly impacted my family as well as myself. Especially after hearing the missionaries who were being detained in Haiti for kidnapping charges. I felt compelled to want to research the severity of the situation. As of right now we don't know the intentions of the missionaries, or what lead to the incidence that has occurred but we'll examine an example what could have happened to the children if the missionaries were not caught by the government. Trafficking in persons, this is a form of organized crime. Organized crime is the stealing and purchasing of illegal goods or services which includes but not limited to sex, drugs and gambling. Behind drugs and guns, human trafficking is the third largest illegal global trade and reportedly the fastest growing (Aguilar-Millian, 2008). These transactions are normally done on the black market.
What is trafficking in persons? Human trafficking is defined by The United Nations (2010) as
Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, o f fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs".
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery. Many victims may initially give consent to leave their home, and country in search of a better life, but when they arrive in the receiving country they are forced to work in slave-like conditions where they are threatened, physically and mentally abused, and raped. Most traffickers lure them with promises of good jobs that pay well, or they buy children from poor families in need of the money or who think they are sending their children to get an education or job training
Where does it take place ? Human trafficking is an international issue, complicated by politics, ethics, and gender biases that jointly have also limited government actions. Sex slavery, trafficking, and trade can be found all around the world: in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia, the Philippines, Colombia, Japan, Italy, Europe and the United States. Southeast Asia is one of the world's largest exporters of sex slaves and a sex hot spot (Aguilar-Millian, 2008). Globalization has made human trafficking easier. No regulation, open borders, and the ease of international banking have all facilitated the ability to market and traffic human beings. Between 2001 and 2005, human trafficking in the U.S. was at a 109% increase from 1996-2000. According to Do Something (2010) "Globally, it is estimated that some 27 million people are being held as slaves in an industry that may generate as much as $32 billion a year". While exact numbers associated with human trafficking are hard to generate, the United Nations (2010) estimates that global trafficking involves at least 4 million people each year and generates estimated annual revenues of $7 billion-$10 billion. By some accounts, however, the UN estimate is quite low. China reportedly generates $1 billion-$3 billion annually via human trafficking activities, and Mexico, $6 billion-$9 billion. All this revenue being generated with the average cost of a slave is $90 worldwide
Who and why? Human trafficking is not discriminatory every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers and are being traded on the black market everyday, in their own countries and abroad. Every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. They are being moved from one place to another and placed in conditions of forced labor, including prostitution, domestic servants, sweatshop work, and construction. Victims of trafficking suffer from physical and mental abuse and social stigmatization. Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life. Victims of trafficking often become isolated, losing ties with their former lives and families. Women and girls are more likely to become victims of trafficking because of their low status in many poor societies, poverty, and their lack of education and job opportunities. Women who are most vulnerable to being trafficked are those aged 10-35and around half of trafficking victims in the world are under the age of 18. Harmful cultural and customary practices also enable discriminatory and violent practices that further weaken women's opportunities. According he Campaign to Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking (2010) some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation. Women who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation experience a significantly higher rate of HIV and other STDs, tuberculosis, and permanent damage to their reproductive systems.
How is Haiti affected by trafficking? Even before the earthquake, the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons had been working with Haitian authorities to control human trafficking. According to the State Department's most recent Trafficking in Persons Report, Haiti is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The report says several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in Haiti noted that in 2008 there had been a sharp increase in the number of Haitian children trafficked for sex and labor to the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. There are some 90,000 to 300,000 domestic slaves in Haiti, according to the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report. It is actually a social system in Haiti where poor, usually rural, families send their children to work as domestics for wealthier families. The child is to receive food, shelter and education in exchange for the labor. Many domestic slaves, however, find themselves in unpaid servitude and physically abused; many are trafficked.
The Department of State is actively involved in addressing the potential for trafficking in persons, particularly children, in post-earthquake Haiti.
The disaster in Haiti has displaced many people and separated numerous children from their families, posing great risk and higher vulnerability to human trafficking. The Department has acted swiftly to mobilize coordinated efforts both on the ground in Haiti and here in Washington to prevent and combat trafficking in persons as part of the USG's emergency response and long-term planning for recovery.
The Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons has been engaged on this issue prior to the earthquake and in its aftermath. While UNICEF has taken the lead role in overall child protection and safety in Haiti since the earthquake, we are working to supplement their efforts in combating child trafficking.
Currently, the Department and its partners are intensifying efforts on five different fronts, including: support for protection of vulnerable children (led by UNICEF with the government of Haiti, the Red Cross, and other international and non-governmental organizations), such as registration of unaccompanied and separated children, tracing, and family reunification; helping remobilize the Haitian Police's Child Protection Brigades; preventing the trafficking of displaced Haitians; educating Haitians about the risks of giving away children in times of crisis; and, rebuilding the capacity of Haitian NGOs already working to protect child domestic servants, known in Haiti as domestic slaves.
This is just the first wave of coordinated efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake which builds on existing efforts and expertise on the ground. We are coordinating further action to be announced in the coming days.
Washington — The State Department announced it is stepping up its efforts to prevent human trafficking — particularly of children — in post-earthquake Haiti.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti January 12 — and the strong aftershocks that followed — killed tens of thousands. Many children were separated from their families in the confusion, exposing them to a greater risk of being trafficked by the unscrupulous.
Although Haitian officials recognize that human trafficking is a serious problem in their country, Haitian law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, which limits the Haitian government's ability to punish traffickers and protect victims. This is made worse by Haiti's political instability and lack of resources, the State Department report says.
At a January 29 press briefing, Philip Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said U.S. officials assisting in the post-earthquake relief efforts have noted a few cases involving pedophiles attempting to adopt Haitian children.
Crowley, in a statement released January 28, said that although UNICEF has taken the lead role in child protection and safety in Haiti since the earthquake, the United States is working to supplement their efforts in combating child trafficking.
Specifically, the State Department — along with UNICEF, the government of Haiti, the Red Cross and other international and nongovernmental organizations — is stepping up efforts to protect vulnerable children by: