In 1865 with the passing of the
thirteenth amendment, slavery was eliminated.
Unfortunately this is not entirely accurate. Following the abolishment of African slavery,
white oppression began to surface (Rao & Presenti, 2012). White slavery entailed the coercion of a
white female into prostitution. As this
epidemic grew attention, governments began looking into ways to combat the
problem. In 1904 the International Agreement for the suppression
of White Slave Traffic was signed (Kiener, 2012). This became the first international alliance
on human trafficking. It was not until 1910, that White slavery became considered
a crime solely due to the enactment of the International
Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade (Irwin, 1996).
Succeeding World War II, agreements
were made amongst organization due to the formation of the League of Nations. The
directives given to the allies of Africa and the Middle East shed light on
international human trafficking which not only included white women but all
women as well as children (Irwin, 1996). In 1923 thirty three countries who
participated in the League of Nations Conference acknowledged human trafficking
as sexual abuse and prostitution. By doing so, they signed the International Convention for the Suppression
of Traffic in Women and Children.
Following the next five decades,
other types of mistreatments such as organ and industry trafficking began to
appear. In 2000, the United Nations passed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress
and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Hyland, 2001).
This act elongated the definition of human trafficking to include organ reaping,
servitude and forced labor
Humans continue to be coerced into
being sold, losing their entire human and civil liberties. This modern day form
of slavery commonly known as human trafficking is a continuation of historic
slavery that has existed for centuries (Cho, 2011). Known to be the third on
the list of the illegal market, behind drugs and weapons, this type of
servitude involves regulating a person by force to exploit them into forced
labor, sexual manipulation or both (Keiner, 2012). Human Trafficking involves slavery, prostitution, pornography,
trafficking of organs, coerced child labor and adult and minor sex trafficking
(Rankin & Kinsella, 2011). Victims of human trafficking are robbed of their
freedom and basic human rights. Between 2001 and 2011 three out of one thousand
people were victims of human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2014). According to Macy and Graham (2014), the
demographics of the victims include immigrant men, women and children who are
promised a better life in America. Additionally it includes women, boys and
girls who are born citizens of the United States. Victims of human trafficking may be of any gender;
however most commonly recognized human trafficking victims are the females who
are forced into prostitution (Jones et al., 2007).
Yakusho (2009) found that human
trafficking has become a worldwide epidemic.
According to Fayemi (2009), human trafficking falls under the top
unlawful act that produces worldwide profits. Over the last decade, human trafficking
has largely revolved around prostitution and forced sex (Yakusho, 2009). The
International Labor Organization estimated that human trafficking creates
illegal profits of 150 billion dollars a year (International Labor Office,
victims can be anywhere ranging from big cities, outskirt cities, and countryside
locations globally. Victims can be on the streets, in homes, trailers and on
farmlands (Farrell et al., 2010)). They can be landscapers, beggars, laborers,
service workers, maids, escorts, prostitutes and sweatshop workers. Victim
exploitation can occur in restaurants, bars, strip clubs, massage parlors and
other similar type settings. Victims can also be exposed online for escort
services and prostitution.
According to the Polaris Project
(2017), approximately 24.9 million victims are involved in human
trafficking. Of the 24.9 million, 16
million were trafficked for labor, 4.8 million for sexual abuse and 4.1 million
for services 71% of trafficking victims worldwide are female and 29% male. 15.4 million victims are adults and 5.5
million are under the legal age. Asia
contains the largest number of forced laborers totaling to 15.4 million,
followed by Africa with 5.7 million, Europe and central Asia with 2.2 million,
America with 1.2 million and the Middle East with only 1% (Polaris Project,
In 2016 the National Human Trafficking
Resource Center confirmed 26, 727 cases of human trafficking in America (Polaris
Project, 2017). Moreover 14,000-17,000 victims are marketed into the United
States each year. California, encircled by multiple international borders is
one of the hot beds of human trafficking nationwide.
Types of Human Trafficking
The act of coercing or transporting a person for profitable sex act purposes is
known as sex trafficking. These crimes commonly involve women and children and
occur in brothels or in under cover brothels such as massage parlors, strip
clubs, escort services and prostitution on the streets (REFERENCE).
Trafficking of this kind includes the act of forcing a person to work for
free. It can include coerced labor in
underground markets as well as lawful businesses.
type of labor trafficking forces women to live and work in their employers’ residence.
The employers take away their legal documents to prevent them from leaving.
Domestic servitude victims include American citizens, legal foreign citizens or
used for commercial sex.
Each year 2 million children are involved in the worldwide illegal sex trade
and most are forced into prostitution. The sexual abuse of children is
considered trafficking regardless of the circumstances.
soldiers. This form
of trafficking includes the illegal
recruitment of children by force or threat to be subjugated for their labor or
to be used as sex slaves is a exclusive form of trafficking. In this type of
trafficking, children are abducted and forced into becoming soldiers, army
cooks, messengers, spies and guards (REFERENCE). Female children are coerced to marry or have sex
with male soldiers, leaving them at high risks of unwanted pregnancies. Child
soldiers have been utilized to commit violence towards their families and the
communities. They are often killed or left with life sustaining wounds and
mental/emotional trauma (REFERENCE).
Trafficking. The intent of this form of
trafficking is to remove the victims organs.
This is done to make profit in the universal demand of transplantable
2011). The kidney is considered to be the most common organ that is taken
because it can be extracted from a living human being.
Although often mistaken to be the
same, human trafficking and human smuggling are two separate illegal acts. Human trafficking is the crime against the
person, while smuggling is the criminality against the state (Salt, 2000).
Smuggling involves the voluntary act of a person to transport trafficking
victims across a border for a monetary compensation. Although commonly performed for financial
gain, sometimes individuals smuggle people to reunite them with their families.
This can include the defilement of one or several countries regulations through
trickery by the use of fake documents.
Smuggling is usually not a forced
act and it often includes the consent of the individual(s) being smuggled. A large number of people who have assistance
with entering America illegally are considered to be smuggled rather than
trafficked (Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, 2005). However, along with
the unsafe traveling conditions, it is not unusual for those being smuggled to
face physical or sexual abuse. It is
also possible for a smuggling situation to turn into a trafficking ordeal. As
opposed to smuggling, human trafficking does not necessitate the transportation
of persons across the border, rather it exists nationally with victims being
American citizens (Salt, 2000).
According to the thirteenth amendment of the U.S.
Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the
U.S. (TVPA, 2000). This concept became the foundation of the human trafficking
law. California defines human trafficking as “”all
acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer,
sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders,
through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of
slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced
prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or
other debt bondage” (TVPA, 2000).
The California Penal Code confirms that anyone
who “deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with intent…to obtain
forced labor or services” is guilty of human trafficking (False Imprisonment
and Human Trafficking , Cal Penal Code § 236.1). Deprivation of personal freedom includes
significant control of ones freedom through illegal means of force, violence
and or threat. Forced labor or services are defined as “labor or services that
are performed by a person through force, fraud or any conduct that overpowers
the will of that person” (False Imprisonment and Human Trafficking, Cal Penal
Code § 236.1).
Federal law defines
human trafficking as “sex trafficking in which sexual acts are performed by
force or through illegal means or the person forced to perform such acts is a
minor. Secondly, the federal government considers human trafficking to also
include the illegal detainment, harboring or transportation of a person for
labor or services through intimidation, forced slavery or debt slavery (Feingold,
2005). Federal law punishes a sex
trafficker with fifteen years to life in prison, however ironically California
makes it punishable by three to eight years in prison.
The first law against human
trafficking was implemented in 2000 known as The Trafficking Victims Protection
Act (TVPA). This law was established to prevent, protect and prosecute (Farrell
et al., 2014). The TVPA established
provisions to identify the monetary penalties of human trafficking. This
act required the victims the rewarded reimbursement, victim assistance programs
and approved T-Visa’s allowing victims who were trafficked into America to
remain in the country and work for three years before needing to apply for
American citizenship. Trafficking victims were also entitled to the same
benefits as asylum’s including, monetary assistance from the government,
Medicaid, TANF, Supplemental Security Income and more (TVPA, 2000).
The TVPA was reauthorized through
the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005, 2008
and 2013. The TVPRA enacted in 2003 sharpened
the penalties for trafficking crimes and established more tools for law
enforcement and prosecutors (TVPRA, 2003). It also allowed the government to
begin anti-trafficking propagandas to increase public awareness on human
trafficking. Additionally, Congress added provisions to the Racketeer Influence
and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to have yet another available resource for
prosecution (Candes, 2001). Alongside the TVPA and TVPRA, every state now
embodies some form of anti-trafficking policy (Polaris Project, 2014).
Simultaneously in 2003, the Prosecutorial
Remedies and Other Tools to end Child Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT)
Act was signed by President Bush. This Act criminalized any U.S. citizen who
engaged or tried to participate in illegal sexual conduct with children in
other nations. The PROTECT Act also put an end to the decree of restrictions in
child trafficking matters, increasing the sentences for the crime (U.S. Dept of
In 2005, more tools were available
for prosecutors to combat domestic and international trafficking. One
resourceful addition was the civil suit matter which allowed victims to sue the
traffickers. In the case of United States v. Jimenez-Calderon (2002) eight
defendants were charged with 2-17 year prison terms and a total of $135,240,000
in restitution fines for the trafficking of Mexican girls into the U.S. for
prostitution (USDOJ, 2006).
The Polaris Project rates states
based on the efficiency of their trafficking laws (supporting victims and
penalizing traffickers). Thirty nine states have passed noteworthy policies to
battle human trafficking. Resources for
victims such as, human trafficking hotlines, safe harbor laws for minors,
assistance programs for victims and expungement of convictions for victims of
sex trafficking are not consistently available across all states. In 2010, New York was the first state to adopt
the “vacatur” law to allow trafficking victims an opportunity to obliterate
their criminal convictions associated to their victimization. Since 2010, 36
states have enacted the Vacatur law (U.S. Dept of State, 2017). As of 2017, 34
states have enacted safe harbor laws to protect victims who are minors against
punishment for their forced crimes.
2005 the state of California created the AB 22 California Trafficking Victims
Protection ACT (CTVPA) which made human trafficking a felony punishable by 3-5
years in prison and 4-8 years if the victim was a minor (Farrell et al., 2014).
More trafficking laws began to stem
in the last couple of decades. President
Obama signed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of
2014 which tightened the standing child welfare policies in relation to foster
care and adoption. The purpose of this
policy is to protect and prevent the exploitation of children and youth in the
foster system from becoming trafficking victims. This policy acknowledged the
major influence state agencies have in permanent stability for minor
The Justice for Victims of
Trafficking Act of 2015, again signed by President Obama, allowed for the
criminalization and prosecution of persons who pay for sexual acts from
trafficking victims This Act gave access to the states to obtain restitution
fines from arrested traffickers to assist the trafficking victims. This law also placed clarity for the courts
and law enforcement that a person who pays for sexual acts from trafficking
victims may be arrested and convicted as a sex trafficker. To accomplish this goal, the federal criminal
code was revised to equate trafficking victim solicitation to recruiting, harboring,
transporting or sustaining a trafficking victim (REFERENCE). The person luring the victim does not
need to have knowledge that he/she is paying for sexual acts from a victim or a
minor. Simply engaging in the reckless act of disregard to the possibility is
enough for that person to be charged with a crime.
and Prevention against Human Trafficking
signed the reauthorization of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims
Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act 2017 allocating $520 million over
a four year period to programs that assist with anti-trafficking, protection
and prevention. Such programs include educating children about human
trafficking as well as educating employers on how to identify trafficking
victims. The Bill also aims to combat trafficking by not authorizing item sales
in America made by trafficked victims.
are numerous ways to strengthen and expand anti-trafficking policies. The TVPA
Reauthorization Act of 2008 mandated that human trafficking be included on the
FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Since 2013, police departments have begun to
collect data on human trafficking. The U.S. Dept. of Justice continuously collects
data that is voluntarily provided by federal, state and local law enforcement
organizations who participate in task forces in designated areas. Although this
selective data set is relatively small, the Uniform Crime Report Data measures
information across the United States.
anti trafficking laws continue to improve and expand based on experiences. Law enforcement learned that assistance to
victims is necessary to alleviate victims in order to receive their assistance
during investigation and prosecution.
Concurrently, the government realized that in order to be able to
identify human trafficking, training is vital.
Some laws now require police academies to incorporate courses on the
subject of trafficking to increase law enforcement officers’ awareness of the
crime (Wilson et al., 2006). Furthermore states saw the recognition of Human
Trafficking as a collaborative effort among several agencies and made planning
and participation of agencies for health services, employment, housing and
education to be a policy requirement (reference).
Finally state laws expanded the
anti-trafficking campaign by requiring manufacturers and retailers to publicly reveal
their exertions of maintaining trafficking-free supply partners.
In conclusion, the
structure of America’s retort to human trafficking contains stages of policy growth
and oversight, several layers of the government, examination and trial, and
service delivery (reference).
At the highest policy level, the Senior Policy Operating Group, comprised of
Cabinet-level officials, work together on policy implementation and recommends
significant matters associated to trafficking to the President. By holding
implementation hearings and reauthorizations every three years, Legislature continues
to address the issues of trafficking and reauthorizing the TVPA every three