Human trafficking involves recruiting and forcefully transporting individuals to foreign countries with the aim of exposing them to do forced labor. Human trafficking is different from traditional smuggling of people in that the relationship between the victims and he traffickers continues after their transportation. In most cases, they are passed from one trafficker to the other.
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It takes place because of the demand for cheap labor and the presence of individuals willing to move from their homes in search of better economic opportunities. It is further enhanced by the financial gains that the traffickers get.
Many governments have started dealing with the problem through programs and policies designed to prevent and protect the victims, and take legal actions against the traffickers and smugglers. Although the phenomenon has been highlighted in every part of the world, knowledge about its consequences is still limited.
Owing to its secretive nature, details on the characteristics of its victims and what they go through as well the trafficker’s and smuggler’s characteristics are hard to get and often difficult to generalize.
The available data is obtained from different nongovernmental, governmental and few academic sources. Due to its negative impacts, there is need to look for ways of preventing it. This essay will look at some of the ways that can be used to prevent and stop human trafficking.
Preventing Human Trafficking
Despite the fact that preventing human trafficking is the most effective long-term method of reducing or eliminating the practice, many governments have not been using the method. Part of the failure to use prevention methods emanates from the fact that there are no mechanisms for measuring the impact and success of prevention programs in attaining the anticipated goals.
Nonetheless, partly due to the increase in advocates of anti-trafficking and service providers, both NGOs and governments have embarked on the development of stronger practices and policies for prevention strategies. These prevention policies are classified into supply-based, demand-based and reduction of financial gains (Prevention of Human Trafficking 4).
These prevention policies are interested in the supply of persons who are vulnerable to human trafficking. Their focus is on the vulnerable populations and channels of recruitment and transportation of trafficked victims. The programs are subdivided into four main areas.
Raising awareness is one of the most common activities in human trafficking prevention (Prevention 10). It assumes various forms and does not only target the public at large and critical policy makers, but also individuals who are likely to fall victims in the future.
Non-governmental organizations are used to carry out awareness raising campaigns among the homeless and other groups of individuals deemed susceptible to human trafficking. Such groups include prostitutes, youths and migrant farm employees. During the campaigns, they are familiarized with possible scams and the strategies applied by human traffickers.
The awareness raising programs comprise of the establishment and promotion of hotlines which provide information on national trafficking, local television, poster campaigns, radio and education materials that tackle human trafficking (Rosenberg 14).
Migrant advocates have raised the issue of availing legal means of moving into other countries as a means through which the various forms of exploitation that affect transnational migration could be prevented. With reference to this argument, there is a stable number of individuals who think that it is necessary for them to look for job opportunities abroad, regardless of whether they migrate legally or not.
Making it hard for individuals to migrate in accordance with the law, therefore, compels potential migrants to engage themselves in risky activities in order to look for work abroad, potentially leading them into the hands of traffickers and smugglers.
By doing away with the requirement for migrants to take such risks of crossing borders illegally, the provision of legal alternative avenues for migration or temporary work abroad is considered one method through which the role of, and opportunities for, trafficking could be diminished.
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In the meantime, safe programs of migration are comprised of one method of providing vulnerable groups with the right information to enable them make informed decisions regarding the jobs they concede to, and of empowering them to safely migrate to other countries and look for help in case of troubles. However, it is assumed that there is adequate information available to make judgment regarding the safety of the jobs offered.
Reducing “Push” Factor Conditions
Long-term efforts of dealing with human trafficking are geared towards reducing the push factor conditions such as gender, poverty, inequality and lack of economic or educational opportunities. It is estimated that these factors compel people to engage in risks that eventually lead to human trafficking.
Some countries have been sponsoring programs that are involved in reduction of poverty, domestic violence, assistance programs and shelters, job training, integration programs and initiatives that prevent prostitutes against HIV/AIDS infection.
USAID has also been involved in sponsoring programs aimed at fighting corruption in governments on the basis that reduction of corruption among governments improves state resource distribution making it possible for larger groups of people to access opportunities.
In Europe, prevention of human trafficking is interpreted to mean both awareness raising and active prevention activities that ideally look into the primary causes of human trafficking.
Most countries continue with efforts of preventing human trafficking by concentrating on prostitution, migration and organized crime. Despite debates about the importance of having comprehensive prevention approaches, awareness-raising is the common prevention instrument in many countries.
Demand-based Prevention Policies
Despite the unending debate concerning the causal and enabling factors of human trafficking, research has shown that exploitable workers are highly demanded in many countries. Many industries require such workers with the need being fulfilled through trafficking (Belser 35).
Demand-based programs operate on the assumption that instituting legal actions against consumers, making services of trafficked people socially unacceptable, educating consumers about trafficking and its victims, or providing information to potential traffickers and beneficiaries about human rights, gender violence and prostitution reduces the demand of trafficked individuals.
Reducing the Financial-Gains from Trafficking
Advocates have started coming up with policies that limit the financial gains traffickers, smugglers, and corrupt individuals enjoy, which in turn enable criminal operations to survive. Governments have been working towards imposing costs at the individual and national levels. Sanctions are imposed against countries that are ranked among the most notorious in human trafficking.
The sanctions may withhold non-humanitarian, non-trade-related help or, if a country is denied such assistance, the funding for taking part in cultural and educational exchange programs is withheld. The countries might also be barred from applying for assistance from international financial institutions. At the individual level, traffickers may be forced to compensate the victims (Women, War and Peace 5).
The aim of these initiatives is to make human trafficking unattractive by increasing its cost relative to its would-be gains. It is envisaged that with the increasing arrests followed by prosecutions, traffickers will be compelled to conduct an evaluation of the benefits they earn from trafficking.
Countries have also been considering the possibility of giving the victims an opportunity to demand compensation from their traffickers. They do this by requesting a compensation order after being convicted and starting litigation against the traffickers in civil courts.
Capacity building is an important method of preventing human trafficking. Education and outreach efforts in law enforcement, justice and tourism help in fighting human trafficking. Different officers, who hold positions in governments have been targeted for further training in order to equip them with skills on how to identify, rescue and provide the right referrals for human trafficking victims.
In countries like the US, experts have been involved in training local judges, law enforcement agencies, lawyers and community watch groups on how to enhance witness protection programs (Rosenberg 20).
Other European countries have adopted the same initiatives in order to improve their capacity to detect and prevent human trafficking from taking place. They also assist the countries of origin to prevent the practice. The above outlined capacity building methods are important in preventing human trafficking.
Anti-trafficking campaigns have been on the increase in the recent past although the global progress against human trafficking has been inconsistent and hard to measure. To date, most of the work that has been done on human trafficking portrays the emphasis on prosecuting the traffickers.
However, prevention might be the most effective way of combating the practice in the long-run. It is important for governments to devote more energy and resources in preventing the practice rather than dealing with it after it takes place.
Belser, Patrick. Forced Labour and Human Trafficking:Estimating the Profits, New York: ILO, 2005. Print.
Prevention of Human Trafficking 2011. Web.
Prevention 2012. Web.
Rosenberg, Ruth. Best Practices for Programming to Prevent Trafficking in Human Beings in Europe and Eurasia, New York: Development Alternatives Incorporate, 2004. Print.
Women, War and Peace. n.d. Web.