Human Trafficking Situation In The USA

Human trafficking is the act or practice of illegally transporting individuals from either one country or area to another. This normally is done for the purpose of forced labor, economic exploitation or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is a huge problem here in the United States as well as hundreds of other countries.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, “The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally” (2018). Young children, teenagers and both men and women are extremely vulnerable to human trafficking. It does not matter the state, country, or who is affected by it, human trafficking is a rising global epidemic that needs to be stopped. “Sex trafficking, forced labor, child labor, child sex trafficking and indentured servitude are all forms of human trafficking found here in the United States” (Lillie 2017).

Human trafficking occurs the most within the states of California, New York City and Texas. These traffickers are drawn towards California the most due to the fact that it has one of the largest immigrant population and is so close to Mexico. For all traffickers no matter where they are, sex trafficking is extremely profitable. In addition to sex trafficking, forced labor is very popular among traffickers in California. New York City also has a larger population filled with many US citizens and immigrants. “Due to the large number of homeless people, runaways and foster care children, New York City has one of the highest rates of domestic sex trafficking in the country” (Lillie 2017).

Just like NYC and California, Texas has a large human trafficking rate, in addition to a large immigrant community. Out of all three, Houston has the largest population of youths who are at risk of being trafficked. “Houston is home to almost 6,000 runaway minors and an estimated 1 in 3 runaways are lured in sex trafficking within 48 hours of running away from home” (Lillie 2017). California, New York City and Texas are just three of the top states where human trafficking is found, but these states are definitely not the only ones who have it.

In addition to the United States, there have been other countries that experience human trafficking as well. For the Global North, Russia is a country who has large amounts of human trafficking. Russia experiences massive amounts of transit and destination of women, men and children who are all trafficked and forced into labor. Russia is ranked in tier three which is the absolute worst. In the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, it has been noticed that “The Russian government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so” (2018).

Russia has been considered one of the worst human trafficking countries for the sixth year in a row now. With this being reported, it has urged Moscow to investigate all of the allegations that have been brought up in their country. Within the Global South, China is notably one of the worst countries among human trafficking offenders. It is another nation that is in the ranked the lowest and worst tier. On a brighter note, “The report found that prosecutions for various forms of human trafficking-which include sex trafficking, including of children; forced and bonded labor; domestic servitude; and the unlawful use of child soldiers-dropped by nearly a quarter between 2015 and 2016, the first time the world had seen such a significant drop in recent years” (Harris 2017).

Even with this slight decrease, China is still recognized as being one of the world’s worst offenders in human trafficking. Here in the United States, we have the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) which was authorized back in 2000 and was the first federal law made to address sex trafficking and labor trafficking within the US. The TVPA has been extremely focused on the prevention as well as protection for trafficking survivors, in addition to the repercussions traffickers should be faced with.

From its original authorization in 2000, there have been reauthorizations about the act in 2003, 2005, and 2008, it was now considered the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act (TVRPA). Each and every time this act was reauthorized, there were more and more positive changes made each time. Recently, a bill to reauthorize the TVPRA was introduced to congress. It is still clear that the US remains as a leader in wanting to end human trafficking amongst the entire world.

Human rights are the rights given to all human beings regardless of their sex, race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion and any other classifications. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery, freedom of opinion and expression, as well as the right to work and receive an education. Human trafficking is in violation of the human rights we are given. Some violations of the human rights that are considered to be a form of trafficking would include slavery, child labour, forced labour, slavery and sexual exploitation.

The United Nations Human Rights Office created a document known as Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking. This document includes several different principles that address core areas of human rights vs human trafficking. Some of the aspects covered in this document include the primacy of human rights, preventing trafficking, protection and assistance, and punishment and criminalization when the act is done.

18 March 2020
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