A TALE OF TRYING TIMES

Varun Kandukuri tries to elucidate upon the degrees of Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation has been a major cause of contemporary sexual slavery and is primarily targeted at the prostitution of women and children into the sex industries. The term forced prostitution, despite having made appearances in humanitarian conventions, has been insufficiently understood and inconsistently applied.

Official count of the individuals victimized in sexual slavery varies worldwide, and it’s highly unlikely to account for all these instances due to the diversity in local or regional capacities of the member states. According to reports by United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime(hereinafter UNODC), the most common destinations for victims are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States.

Moving onto a different tangent, illegal immigration generally takes place with the consent of the people being smuggled. This is to seek better economic and employment opportunities, familial betterment, or to avoid prosecution. As visible by recent reports in South Asian regions(namely Hong Kong and Thailand), this transnational offense has proven instrumental in honing modern day slavery. This in turn is predicted to eventually become the most prominent form of trafficking with its rising statistics.

Broadly speaking, the UNODC(which assists international anti-criminal efforts) primarily bolsters three agendas: prevention, protection, and prosecution of trafficking in persons. The means of assessing and categorizing a country’s willingness and contribution towards eradicating trafficking is ubiquitously accepted and exhibited by the U.S. department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report. It is an annual report which has Tier Placements to classify the countries.

However, to consider that a country placed in Tier 1 has healthier circumstances would be a huge oversight, as evident from recent reports(BBC, FEB-2017) that the trafficking in the United Kingdom has been on the rise since 2015: 3,266 potential victims over the course of a year, 40% more than the year before. Instead, these tier placements are indicative of whether a country meets the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s(TVPA) minimum standards.

Thailand has recently shown considerable progress in the prosecution for Human Trafficking efforts and hopes to rise up further in the tier placements after having been recently upgraded to Tier 2 watch list for their efforts, while Albania sits pretty in Tier 2 despite the numerous reports of human trafficking highlighting the inadequacies in its government’s efforts.

Clearly, the UNODC’s global programmes have been laying more emphasis on raising awareness and understanding the situation than establishing solid administration for prevention.

The root of the issue is contrived by several factors; The legalization of prostitution in several countries, exclusion of the profit element in a state’s legislation, and ignorance towards migrant smuggling for familial or humanitarian purposes to name a few. Perhaps a more constrained perspective will bear more fruitful results.
Until then, the reporter awaits to see how the committee advances.

“No wonder prostitution is so rampant in China, I mused as I watched the four girls watch us: why stand on your feet all day for slave wages when you can get rich on your back?” ― Tom Carter, Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China

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