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Definition of Human Trafficking
According to Jac-Kucharski (2012), “human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjective to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery”(p.151). The risk factors that used in the research are, age in regards to traveling alone, poverty, unemployment and sexual abuse. Poverty Factors
Human trafficking is a worldwide issue and one of the causes are poverty (Jac-Kucharski, 2012). According to the United States Census Bureau (USCB) (2013), poverty is defined “as a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty”(p. 11). For instance, a family is considered to be in poverty if the total house income is less then their maximum income (USCB, 2013). Poverty makes people feel desperate and look for other means to gain money, and as a result they may get into bigger problems without knowing it. Jac-Kucharski (2012), research states that human traffickers take advantage of peoples’ economic situations and with lies take over their victims’ lives. Woman and men in poverty conditions are easy targets for human trafficking. Through the years, women have been seen as prey for human trafficking, particularly in sexual trafficking, and this problem is not just in the United States but around the world (Hodge, 2008).
The business of sexual trafficking continues to grow notably against the other forms of human trafficking: sexual trafficking makes up 79 percent of all human trafficking, and some of the cases result in bride-enslavement (Kim, 2010). It is well known that the majority of women who enroll in the international marriage agencies come from poor homes, and this is advertised in the agencies’ websites. This type of advertising allows American men to feel they are rescuing these powerless women, so they expect their brides to do everything they want them to do. These relationships turn into powerful dominant men and weak brides. The men believe that they can exploit and dominate their brides because they rescued them. The women experience domestic violence, rape, and emotional distress (Kim, 2010). Jones (2010) states that rarely people see or hear the media reporting on male human trafficking, but it takes place. Thus, the other group that also is targeted to human trafficking is men.
The male victims are poor and usually from other countries, but in some cases the men are Americans. For instance, one of these cases was homeless men in the state of Florida; they were forced to work in detrimental conditions and did not receive payment for their work. The men who are brought to the United States come with hope of prosperity, but once they get here they lose their freedom. Some are employed to work in restaurants, construction sites etc. But the majority of them are forced to work in farms. Furthermore, the human traffickers take their victims’ passport, money, and any other possessions making it difficult for them to leave (Jones, 2010). Unemployment Factors
This paper will further explore unemployment as a risk factor for human trafficking and the reasons that unemployment makes human beings so vulnerable to being trafficked and taken against their will. This paper will also explain that there is a difference in human trafficking and human smuggling (Jac-Kucharski, 2012). An estimation in 2008 estimated that almost if not more than 800,000 humans were trafficked within the borders of the United States as well as across United States borders into other countries (Jac-Kucharski, 2012). The United States unemployment average was 5.8%, the highest average the country had ever seen up until that year. Since 2008, the unemployment rate on a month to month basis has not been lower than 6.7% (Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 2014). That is a lot of people to be unemployed and looking for work. Many human traffickers prey on people who are looking for a way to provide for their families.
They promise a job and plenty of work for a person to do. Before the person can realize what is happening, they have been taken against their will to work in a factory for no pay, or they are being forced to commit sexual acts for no pay. This paper will explore reports made by survivors of human trafficking. Different people experienced different situations, but they all experienced one like factor: they were not able to leave or communicate with their family. They all also experienced the thought process of thinking they would die before they were released. This leads to the research being done on the traumatic experience of being victim of human trafficking, and the impact it has on the lives of people who survive (Cross, 2013). Traveling Alone Factors
As the research continues about the different factors of human trafficking, traveling alone as a minor has become one of the concerns in human trafficking. There are different reasons why minors travel unaccompanied. In the research of (Derluyn, et al. 2010), states some of the reasons may consist of holiday traveling and traveling with migration motives. Traveling unaccompanied makes easy pray for the criminals of human trafficking. The average traveling age for unaccompanied by an adult, caregiver, parents or legal guardian is five through twelve years of age (Derluyn, et al., 2010). Approximate one-third of the children that travel under the age of 18 years old are traveling unaccompanied. When the minors are traveling alone without any guardian, makes them at risk for traffickers. The traffickers will see them as vulnerable and unprotected making it easier for the traffickers to allure the victims. The traffickers will try to allure the minors with false papers and obtaining access into the country. The children not being knowledgeable and not guided by an adult protector they will believe the traffickers.
The minors will be in fear of getting into trouble or not getting through into the country. Resulting in the trafficker making false promises and the victim becoming prey (Derluyn, et al., 2010). After the traffickers have allured the minors and they entered the country it is more often than none they disappear. The study of research by (Derluyn, et al., 2010) shows out of less than 2,000 minors traveling by themselves and flying into the London area, there were a fourth of the minors that stayed at a higher risk to encounter smugglers and traffickers. Following (Derluyn, et al.’s, 2010) a special team designed to assist in the lost minors found that out of 25 of the forth of the children ended up finding no single trace of them. Teenage girls that came from West Africa were the primary interest of the traffickers. Because these children were never found it is a strong possibility they became targets of mistreatment and cruelty (Derluyn, et al., 2010). With the small amount of research that has happened with the factor of children traveling alone there have been significant results to conclude it is safer for the minor to tour with an appropriate adult. Sexual Abuse Factors
“Sexual abuse is defined as the involvement of a child younger than the age of consent by means of force, threat, cheat or deception in every kind of act resulting in the sexual satisfaction of a sexually adult person in the absence of consent and equality or conniving at its occurrence” (Bilginer & et. al,. 2013 p.56) There are several factors that put people at risk to become targets for those in the human trafficking trade, the risk factor discussed here is sexual abuse and how it can lead to prostitution and the sex trade side of human trafficking (A Review of the literature, n.d., para. 4.1 p.7). Sexual abuse affects females and influences their transition into prostitution and the sex trade. An introduction to sex at an early age is one of the ways that children can be led into prostitution as it skews their sense of self; the place sex has in their lives, and the role of the person who abused them. Children are introduced to sex through abuse at increasingly younger ages anywhere from 13 to 15 years old or younger (Wilson & Windom, 2010). The girl’s age range is between 7 and 14 (Bilginer & et. al., 2013).
This abuse can also lead the victims to act out utilizing other risky behaviors that put these children at even more risk such as doing poorly in school or juvenile criminal activity (Wilson & Windom, 2010). These females, who have no coping skills or life experience to deal with the abuse, especially when it comes from those they are supposed to be able to trust, end up either distancing themselves from sex, or using it to gain a false sense of intimacy. Such behaviors’ put them at risk as candidates for prostitution (Wilson & Windom, 2010). Second discussed is how sexual abuse affects males and how it influences their transition into prostitution and the sex trade. Many of the same factors stated for the females also apply to males. The boy’s age range for when abuse occurs is marginally higher, approximately between 9 and 12 year old (Bilginer & et. al., 2013). Boys who were abused are more also likely to become prostitutes and have high-risk sexual encounters that put them at risk; however they do not have the same dysfunctional issues that females deal with when it comes to their view of sex after abuse. Dysfunction in males arises more often in conjunction with neglect from their family not abuse alone (Aron, 2012).
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