Human trafficking is a part of the larger problem of slavery, and one of the most common ways people end up in slavery. In essence, human trafficking is when people are transported, by force or deception, to become enslaved. And by transported, we are typically talking between countries, but people can become trafficked within their own country as well.
The United Nation’s definition, on which most countries, including the United States, base their definition, is:
Trafficking in Persons as 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. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Why Smuggling and Illegal Migration is not Human Trafficking
This is a mistake journalists make all the time. The smuggling of people who volunteer or pay to be smuggled into another country is not human trafficking. It’s unfortunate that the words are confusing, but the legal definition of human trafficking always includes that the victim end up in a position where they are exploited in slavery.
However, it is not uncommon for smuggling to end in trafficking. For example, a woman might knowingly work with smugglers to get into the US, and do so thinking that when she gets to the US she will work in a hotel. If when she gets here she is not paid and with the use of force, not allowed to leave, then she has just become a trafficking victim. Most cases are a lot more clear cut than this, but putting it this way helps to point out that it is the woman’s journey ending in slavery that makes her a human trafficking victim, and it does not matter that she participated knowingly in human smuggling first.
Other Components of Human Trafficking and based on the Palermo Protocols.
Sex trafficking has two parts to its definition. Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of Commercial Sexual Exploitation. That’s another way of saying its human trafficking into prostitution. Also, in the US, the legal definition of sex trafficking includes the exploitation of anyone under 18 involved in commercial sex. So, for example, in the US, a pimp with a 20 year old working for him is a pimp. If that woman is enslaved then he is a trafficker. A pimp with a 17 year old working for him is a sex trafficker no matter how the girl ended up working for him.
Labor trafficking is when someone is trafficked for non sex work. Examples include, but may not be limited to, servers, housekeepers, nail salons, construction workers, and welders, and farm workers.
This is when people are trafficked so that their organs can be sold to be used in transplants. This is trafficking even when it is voluntary, so if a poor person sells a kidney he is a victim of organ trafficking.
While child soldiers does not often come up under legal definitions this is because it is well covered by other existing laws. However, for those interested in the larger issue of slavery and human trafficking it is important we include child soldiers as it clearly linked.
The community partners listed below have come around the table in south Florida to discuss Human Trafficking in order to develop a better understanding and build a broader awareness of the issue. In this way many agencies, institutions, and organizations that have been working diligently on this issue may cross pollinate and look to develop more aligned and integrated community action(s).