Human trafficking may seem like a strange topic to be including on the Athena Research Group website. Part of the reason that this information is being included here is as follows. Proponents of “Satanic” murder and/or Satanic Ritual Abuse claim that thousands of victims are being abused and or killed every year, opponents of the actuality of any sort of ritualistic crimes or Satanic Ritual Abuse claim that there is no evidence to support the reality of any claims of “Satanic” murder or ritual abuse.
Even a short Google search of human trafficking will reveal some interesting and horrifying information. Millions of individuals are trafficked every year (and those are just the ones we are aware of). While the staffs of Athena Research Group have not conducted any investigation into the connections between human trafficking and “ritualistic” type crimes. This research report is meant as food for thought.
Human trafficking is a large yet largely ignored issue within both the American political and criminal justice sphere’s. The activity is not only linked to gross human rights violations but also to the funding of terrorist activities. This research report will be an over view of the nature of human trafficking and why enforcement of anti-trafficking legislation is so important American National Security.
Globalization has many positive aspects, such as international business prospects, instant communication, and the world becoming a smaller place. Everyone is connected to everyone else in the world through a global work place, or through telecommunications such as satellite television and the internet. As many positives as there may be in globalization there are also several downsides. Those down sides have a direct impact on the criminal justice professional. Gone are the days where a practitioner of criminal justice only needs to concern him or herself with American criminal issues.
Crime and justice problems have hit the global stage. One of the major global issues that an American criminal justice professional may confront is that of human trafficking either as forced labor (in an industrial or domestic setting) or forced into the global sex trade. The global sex trade now means more than just woman being forced into prostitution, while that is still a problem there is now a larger market for children that are being trafficked and forced into the sex industry in locations that are known as sex tourist destinations. Locations such as Taiwan and Haiti are known for having large numbers of underage child prostitutes.
Living in post-modern America it is difficult to believe that slavery and forced prostitution are a problem. Slavery was abolished after the Civil War, right? The answer to that question is both yes and no. While slavery is illegal in America, the practice has not been outlawed in foreign countries. This simple fact has allowed the practice of slavery to flourish into the 21st century.
Not only does modern-day slavery/human trafficking exist, “there are more slaves today than at any point in human history.”(Skinner, 2008, p. XV) Because there are so many modern-day slaves in the world and because organizations that work in the trafficking of human beings also engage in other types of criminal enterprise such as drug and/or arms trafficking and money laundering, and all of these issues have been connected to the financing of terrorist organizations, it is possible that the American criminal justice professional may have to confront human trafficking.
It is difficult to understand how large the problem of human trafficking is because statistics vary so widely. For example E. Benjamin Skinner author of A Crime so Monstrous Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery states that according to Kevin Bales “in his book Disposable People...there were 27 million slaves whom he defined as human beings forced to work, under threat of violence for no pay worldwide.”(Skinner, 2008, p. XV) The U.S. State Department “estimates that between around 800,000 children, women and men are trafficked across international borders each year” (Aronowitz, 2009, p. 16 ) A 2006 report by the U.S. Army War College has this to say about trafficking numbers “The U. S. State Department’s 2005 Report on Human Trafficking estimates that between 600,000 to 800,000 People are trafficked across international borders every year and almost 20,000 are trafficked Across U.S. borders alone.”(Keefer, & Johnson, n.d., HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THE IMPACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE. USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT)
Even if one takes only the lower of all the numbers presented in the section under consideration, there are approximately 4 million people trafficked across national borders each year. What makes these numbers worse; several thousand of these people are being brought into the United States. While some of the people being trafficked into the United States are being forced to work in the sex industry, the majority are being forced into domestic labor or forced into manual labor positions such as in the farming or construction industries.
Human trafficking falls under the umbrella of transnational crime. Transnational crime is defined as “criminal activities, transactions, or schemes that violate the laws of more than one country or have a direct impact on a foreign country. Neither individually, nor by type, nor collectively by category do transnational crimes conform to the definitions and categorizations found in penal codes.”(Adler, Mueller, & Laufer, 2010, p. 366) Due to the fact that transnational crimes affect the laws of multiple nations enforcement becomes difficult. While one nation (such as the United States) may take a hard line approach to the issue of human trafficking, U.S. cannot control policy of foreign nations. Without a uniform approach to the issue of human trafficking, the activity will continue.
Not only is human trafficking a violation of basic human rights, the practice becomes dangerous because organized crime groups that are involved in human trafficking may also be involved in other types of transnational crimes. The profits from transnational crimes such as human trafficking, illicit drug trafficking, and money laundering can and in many cases are used to fund terrorist activity. It not only becomes important to enforce human trafficking laws and to be aware of the problem due to the human rights violations but there is another reason to focus on this sort of crime. The profits gained from human trafficking can become a matter of national security. “John P. Torres, deputy assistant director for smuggling and public safety at the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on immigration, border security and claims that human smuggling and trafficking. Into the United States constituted a “significant risk to national security and public safety.” (Kefer, & Johnson, n.d., HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THE IMPACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE. USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT)
Not only is human trafficking a horrifying crime that strips the victim of their humanity, trafficking profits are being used to fund other criminal activity most notably terrorism. Post 9/11 the average American has become more aware of the potential for terrorist activity to occur in the United States. However, criminal activities that have been linked with the funding of terrorist activities are all but ignored by the media, policy makers and criminal justice professionals.
All is not lost in respect to the issue of human trafficking. The simple fact that the issue is an accepted topic to write a final course project, and that there is more than enough research material written within the last three-five years indicates that interest in and concern about human trafficking is growing. The U.S. government has a position called the anti-trafficking czar. It is the anti-trafficking czar’s responsibility to maintain the U.S. governments trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. A TIP report is a diplomatic tool used by the government to apply political pressure on nations that are actively engaged in the trafficking of persons. The report consists of three tiers. The following is a breakdown of the tier system. Tier one consists of “Countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards, tier two consists of Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”(Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 Tier Placements, n.d., U.S. Department of State) Within tier two there is a “tier two watch list” these are countries who’s “Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, AND: a) the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; b) there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or, c) the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.” Tier Three Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.”(Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 Tier Placements, n.d., U.S. Department of State.)
Human trafficking is not just a civil rights issue, a political issue or a criminal justice issue. It is a problem that is connected to all of these areas. Strict enforcement of human trafficking legislation will not completely end the practice. Human trafficking is nothing new. Simply applying political pressure on countries known to traffic in persons will also not end the practice, and simply looking at human trafficking as a political issue will not change the fact that criminal organizations involved in human trafficking are also involved in other criminal activities.
A multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken with the issue of human trafficking. Because the practice affects so many issues both humanitarian and legal simply taking a completely humanitarian approach or simple a law enforcement approach will not be effective.
Adler, F., Mueller, G. O., & Laufer, W. S. (2010). Criminology and the criminal justice system (7th ed.). Boston : McGraw-Hill.
Aronowitz, A. A. (2009). Human trafficking, human misery: the global trade in human beings. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.
Keefer, S. L., & Johnson, D. V. (n.d.). HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THE IMPACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY
FOR THE. USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT. Retrieved March 27, 2011, from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc? Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA448573
Skinner, E. B. (2008). A crime so monstrous: face-to-face with modern-day slavery. New York: Free Press.
Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 Tier Placements. (n.d.). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved March 27, 2011, from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2010/142755.htm