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Combating Human Trafficking in the USA Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2020

Admittedly, human trafficking has become one of the most burning issues worldwide. Globalization has brought new opportunities for numerous organized crime networks and individuals who have no respect to human values. It is necessary to note that human trafficking is one of the most prolific criminal activities.

Economical benefits of this kind of criminals are so high that they take risks and try to do impossible to escape justice. Nowadays the USA has numerous programs supported by government and non-governmental organizations aimed at prevention of human trafficking and helping victims of such crimes. US legislation also addresses the same issues. However, it is necessary to point out that these measures are quite insufficient since statistics shows that the rate of victims of human trafficking is still too high.

Before going into details about combating human trafficking, it is important to mention the reason why this kind of criminal activity is that “popular”. According to the United Nations data “trafficking’s annual profits” are $9.5 billion (Frederick 2). Traffickers confiscate all documents of their victims and in this way turn them into slaves which work for their “masters” without being paid or even treated normally (Frederick 3). This kind of unpaid labor is very profitable for traffickers.

Such profitability of the criminal activity leads to quite frightening statistics. Thus, according to CRS report more than 17,000 people are considered to be “trafficked into the United States” annually and about 100,000 children, citizens of the United States, are human trafficking victims within the country (Siskin and Wyler n.p.). It is necessary to note, however, that numerous researchers claim that the number of human trafficking victims is quite difficult to estimate due to the lack of effective methodology (Siskin and Wyler 22).

However, uncertain statistical data are enhanced by cases which make the entire nation aware of the problem. For instance, disappearance of Natalee Holloway which is believed to be a victim of human trafficking made Americans understand that human trafficking is not only a problem of poor developing countries, but the problem reached their country’s borders. Natalee Holloway, a teenager from Alabama, disappeared during their school trip to Aruba in 2005 (Associated Press n.p.).

She was believed to be a victim of human trafficking since Dutch student, Van der Sloot, who is considered to be responsible for Natalee’s disappearance (Fox News n.p.). Reporter Peter De Vries claims that “Van der Sloot makes about $13,000 for every woman sold into prostitution in the Netherlands” (Fox News n.p.).

According to DutchNews.nl there is also a video tape which portrays Van der Sloot “telling someone posing as a sex-industry boss that he can get passports for Thai women and girls who think they are going to the Netherlands to work as dancers” (Fox News n.p.). Unfortunately, the case of Natalee Holloway still has more questions than answers.

It goes without saying that Americans respond to the emerging problem. For instance, it is possible to point out two major forces that combat human trafficking in the United States. These are government and governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations. These two forces address various issues concerning human trafficking on different levels. Thus, US government and governmental organizations focus on prevention and prosecution and pay much attention to helping victims of human trafficking, whereas non-governmental organizations focus on aiding victims of this criminal activity.

Enactment of the corresponding legislation is the main method of combating human trafficking use by the US government. As far as the US government’s activities aimed at investigating and prosecuting are concerned, “the Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS), and Labor (DOL) have primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting traffickers” (Siskin and Wyler 34).

Agents of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigate the cases concerning human trafficking within the country (Siskin and Wyler 35). Reportedly, during the past decade “the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have prosecuted 287 traffickers” (Frederick 5).

It is important to note that such efforts are being made nationally and locally. For instance, the Cook County Sheriff’s Child Exploitation Unit “has achieved a 100 percent prosecution rate on over 200 arrested predators, most of whom prowl Internet chat rooms for victims” (Frederick 4). The US legislation also underwent certain changes which were to address the emerging issues.

Thus, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 launched a program aimed at educating people. Numerous projects made people aware of the most vulnerable groups of people, the ways to avoid negative experience and the way people can help those who became a victim.

The same act is also preoccupied with victims’ rights and the ways to help human trafficking victims turn to their normal life. Nowadays victims of human trafficking can be granted the T-Visa which presupposes legal status of the individual in the United States (Siskin and Wyler 32). As a rule those who obtain the T-visa have the right to stay in the US for three years. During this time the victims obtain aid from various organizations and governmental projects, and should be available to help to prosecute traffickers (should be ready to testify).

As far as non-governmental organizations are concerned, as has been mentioned above, they are more preoccupied with helping human trafficking victims. In fact, there are many such organizations.

At this point it is necessary to add that the US government provides funding to assist these organizations and/or to launch them. Some of these organizations are ALERT, Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking; CAST, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking; PROMISE, Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation, and many others.

These organizations mainly help victims who escaped from slavery or aid human trafficking victims to escape from slavery. CAST has helped many victims and they also post numerous stories of those who escaped slavery to make people aware of the horrors people live through even in this country (Providing Survivors n.p.).

ALERT’s objectives are to provide “direct services to aid and support victims of trafficking”, to “educate the public about human trafficking and train various communities in victim identification” and to “establish a regional network throughout Arizona and expand the anti-trafficking initiative” (ALERT).

Admittedly, there are numerous incentives and projects to combat human trafficking within the country. Nevertheless, many people argue that US efforts are not enough since there “remain a number of roadblocks in this country’s approach” which lead to numerous obstacles when combating human trafficking (Kara 658).

Major problems which lead to ineffectiveness of anti-trafficking incentives are “problems with the federal approach to trafficking” (Kara 658). Many people argue that government should be more concerned with prosecution of traffickers rather than with helping human trafficking victims (Kara 659).

Reportedly, many governmental incentives are criticized. For example, T-status is also largely criticized since there are too many ways to violate the rules and there are numerous possibilities of abuse of T-status (Siskin and Wyler 40). For instance, those who “knowingly and willfully” violated the law and came to the country may “claim that they were coerced after they were arrested by DHS” (Siskin and Wyler 40).

Admittedly, the US government possesses enough resources to combat human trafficking on different levels. Thus, it should focus on prevention rather than aiding victims of human trafficking. More so, there are numerous non-governmental organizations which fulfill this task perfectly, providing human trafficking victims with financial, physical and psychological support. Such organizations help human trafficking victims to return to their families. These organizations also pay much attention to educating people about human trafficking.

On balance, it is possible to state that US struggle against human trafficking is ongoing. The United States try to combat this criminal activity on different level. The US government, governmental organizations and institutions and non-governmental organizations participate in this combat.

These organizations achieve positive results, but there still remains a lot to do. It is important to point out that activities of these organizations and especially government have been criticized lately.

The major claim is that the US government should pay more attention to preventing human trafficking and leave helping victims to numerous non-governmental organizations which carry out this task perfectly. This can become an effective solution and, hopefully, the problem of human trafficking in the USA will be solved in the nearest future.

Works Cited

ALERT. About Us. Web.

Associated Press. “Hidden Camera Footage Shows Holloway Suspect Confess to Dumping Body at Sea.” Fox News: World. Fox News, 2008. Web.

Fox News. “Report: Natalee Holloway Suspect Involved in Thai Sex Trafficking.” Fox News: World. Fox News, 2008. Web.

Frederick, Adrianne. “The Fight against Human Trafficking: Global Forces Rally to Fight Modern-Day Slave Market in Laborers, Children, and Victims of the Sex Trade.” The Computer 24.2 (2007): 1-5.

Kara, Shashi Irani. “Decentralizing the Fight against Human Trafficking in the United States: The Need for Greater Involvement in Fighting Human Trafficking by State Agencies and Local Non-Governmental Organizations.” Cardozo J.L. & Gender 13.3 (2007): 657-683.

Providing Survivors with Seeds of Renewal. CAST, castla. Web.

Siskin, Alison, and Liana Sun Wyler. “Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress.” FAS: Federation of American Scientists, 2010. Web.

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