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The Human Trafficking Problem Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 10th, 2019

Human Trafficking is a “crime committed against humanity” (UNODC 1). It involves “the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring, or receiving a person through the use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them” (UNODC 1). A large number of people are reported to fall into the hands of the human traffickers every year, both within their countries and in foreign countries (UNODC 1).

Each and every nation across the world experiences the effects of trafficking (Koettl 3). Basing on the conventional estimates, the human trafficking cost is more than twenty billion dollars (Makisaka 1). Moreover, Makisaka points out that it is probably not possible to quantify the “cost to human capital” (Makisaka 1).

The human trafficking problem “cuts across a range of development issues: from poverty to social inclusion, to justice and rule of law issues” ( Makisaka 1). Following this, this problem of human trafficking has drawn the attention of the practitioners all through the development community.

Basing on the “U.S Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2010”, it has been established that the number of children as well as adults who are presently in forced prostitution, as well as in forced labor and bonded labor, is about twelve million in the United States of America (Johnson 7).

Internationally, about two people in every one thousand are victims of human trafficking and this number is even higher in the Pacific and Asia, where three people in every one thousand are victims. It is also reported that, so far, 62 nations across the world have not convicted a human trafficker under the United Nations protocol “to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons” (Johnson 7), and one hundred and four nations have not come up with laws that deal with human trafficking (Johnson 7).

It is reported that human trafficking is a very profitable business which is associated with relatively lower levels of risks and has abundant supply and increasing demand.

It is found that, even in those regions or countries where trafficking is regarded as a very serious criminal offense, a larger number of investigations do not lead to having the offenders getting convicted. Economic exploitation is possibly the greatest incentive for having an increased number of human trafficking cases (Makisaka 1).

Human Trafficking as a Development Issue

Human trafficking is found to be a development issue. The common development dimensions like lack of employment, poverty, inadequate education, poverty, lack of strong rule of law and lack of good governance are greatly connected to exposure to human trafficking.

Considering poverty, this is found to be among the basic risk factors that facilitate creation of exposure to human trafficking. But on the other hand, it is reported that poverty itself would not compel individuals to engage in human trafficking (Makisaka 11). There exist a large number of other risk factors which cause the potential victims to be exposed to human trafficking (Makisaka 11).

For instance, it is pointed out that children often go through a number of risk factors simultaneously, and one of these risk factors may serve to activate human trafficking to start taking place (Koettl 4). Sometimes, this is referred to as “poverty plus”. This is a condition in which “poverty does not by itself lead to a person being trafficked, but where a ‘plus’ factor such as illness combines with poverty to increase vulnerability” (Makisaka 11).

Among the people living in poverty, children and women are, in particular, susceptible to human trafficking. In most cases, women are discriminated against and do not stand the same chance of getting employment as men. Moreover, women face several forms of “gender-based violence” (Ahluwalia 23). This is connected to the cultural as well as social structures that lead to women’s exposure to trafficking (Ahluwalia 23).

Moreover, children are in danger of being victims of trafficking as well, following their parents’ poverty. The girl child is mostly susceptible than the boy child and this is for the reason that, in a large number of societies, the parents normally make a decision to force their young girls to look for jobs. This decision is made basing on the belief that education is not important for the girl child because, sooner or later, she would leave home and go to stay elsewhere in marriage (Makisaka 11).

Some of the other human trafficking “plus factors” are: “poor governance, weakened rule of law in transition and post-conflict countries, and economic disruption affected by climate change and natural disasters” (Makisaka 11). It is pointed out that the absence of the “rule of law” serves to facilitate criminal acts and creation of an environment in which there is flourishing of human trafficking.

This is particularly clear within a “post-conflict” setting in which the absence of “law and order” compels the people who are already susceptible; like the children, the IDPs, refugees, and women, to get “into situations where they are even at more risk of becoming victims of human trafficking” (Makisaka 12).

Preventing Human Trafficking

It is pointed out that dealing with the problems associated with human trafficking calls for employing “multi-dimensional approaches” (Makisaka 12). For one to clearly understand the human trafficking complexity and to identify the entry points, there is a need to have more systematic surveys and mapping.

This will help to acquire knowledge about the organizational mechanisms and trends “of recruitment, the routes, and the placement of human trafficking victims” (Makisaka 12).

People who are at risk and more likely to be human trafficking victims cannot be easily accessed and this follows their “remote location and their marginalized position in society” (Makisaka 12). This implies that getting to understand the characteristics of these groups as well as where they are located and the nature of the risk facing them is vital to have efficient “anti-trafficking policies” (Makisaka 12).

There are several ways through which human trafficking can be prevented and one of them is social protection. This involves developing a “safety net system to target those who are vulnerable to trafficking project area” (Makisaka 13). Another way is through employment and this involves the need to create more jobs within the community that is at a higher risk of facing human trafficking. This will make people who are vulnerable not move to the urban centers or out of the country with an intention of looking for employment (Makisaka 13).

Labor safeguards is also a way through which human trafficking can be prevented. This involves guaranteeing labor safeguards which include an anti-trafficking element “in development projects for the following sectors that are particularly common for labor trafficking – mining, fisheries, agriculture, logging and construction” (Makisaka 13).

Another way is providing education; this involves including information regarding human trafficking into the training programs as well as the school curricula in order to help both the young adults and children to learn about the dangers associated with trafficking and also to help them learn about their labor rights as well as their human rights.

The education offered to these people also serves to help them to develop important skills that would enable them to have employment that is sustainable. Moreover, ensuring there is improved access to health care for the vulnerable populations to human trafficking including the illegal migrant laborers and sex workers, and also offering education to these people regarding HIV/AIDS and STDs, can also help in preventing human trafficking.


It has been found out that human trafficking is a very common crime and all the nations across the world have experienced its effects. Some of the main factors that have led to having human trafficking in nations across the world include the lack of employment, poverty, inadequate education, poverty, lack of strong rule of law and lack of good governance.

Human trafficking is a problem that has attracted the attention of all concerned parties within the development community. Dealing with the problems associated with human trafficking involves using multi-dimensional approaches.

There are various ways through which human trafficking can be prevented and these include social protection, creating employment, labor safeguards, offering education and having improved access to health. Each and every nation needs to take appropriate measures to ensure that the problem of human trafficking is dealt with, in the most effective way possible.

Works Cited

Ahluwalia, Sheela . Human Trafficking and Gender in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2009. Print.

Johnson, Susie. Human trafficking; preventing, protecting, prosecuting, 2010. Web.

Koettl, Johannes. Human Trafficking, Modern Day Slavery, and Economic Exploitation. Washington, DC. The World Bank, 2009. Print.

Makisaka, Megumi. , 2012. Web.

UNODC., 2012. Web.

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