Let's Define It

What is human trafficking? If we are honest with ourselves, a lot of us aren’t sure. People are constantly moving in and out of countries, states, and cities. How do we know where the line is drawn between migrations and trafficking, and how can we tell? When talking about such a broad and prominent issue in today’s world, it’s difficult to know these things.

To give a better idea of the definition of human trafficking, I’m going to refer to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons. They state that, “Trafficking in Persons is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. “

So that’s a lot of information right? To simplify this concept a bit they broke it down into parts; act, means, and purpose. These are aspects that I think are important for discussion. The act of trafficking is not simply one person taking another; it’s an act where others are included and involved as well. Anyone who assist with the exchange of a person, actually transfers them, houses them, or is involved in any way with the knowledge of doing so, is considered guilty of the act of trafficking.

 Another factor is means. Basically this is how you obtain the person. This is key. There are many ways to get a person to cooperate. Obviously there is the option of threating and forcing. Some people are coerced with the promises of a better life, job, or opportunities. Sometimes people are abducted from the streets. Other times it’s a matter of money; it’s an issue of offering a bribe or benefits. And many times it’s a matter of fraud, deception, and the abuse of power. There have been situations where children, especially, are told that a person spoke to their parents and encourage them to come with them for many different reasons whether it be for safety, a job, a better opportunity, or something else.

The last factor is purpose. Sometimes from the outside it’s difficult to understand why this happens to so many people, or why it’s even an issue. However, there are a lot of reasons that people do this. The main reason is for exploitation. One way of exploitation is sexual, through prostitution or pornography.  Another is for forced labor in the workforce or slavery in homes. And lastly, there is a rising market for human organs, and not many people want to volunteer vital body parts to others who are dying.

It’s when all of these factors are put together that the concept of human trafficking is fully defined and discovered. Throughout my blogs I will be discussing in depth how all of these aspects effect our world, and why it is a global issue today. Also, I have posted the link to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as a reference. So if you have any questions refer to their FAQs page!