Human Trafficking – The Different Forms

23 02 2011

Bonded Labor

One form of force or coercion is the use of a bond, or debt, to keep a person in subjugation. This is referred to in law and policy as “bonded labor” or “debt bondage.” It is criminalized under U.S. law and included as a form of exploitation related to trafficking in the United Nations protocol on trafficking in persons. Many workers around the world fall victim to debt bondage when they assume an initial debt as part of the terms of employment, or inherent debt in more traditional systems of bonded labor. In South Asia, this phenomenon exists in huge numbers as traditional bonded labor in which people are enslaved from generation to generation.

Involuntary Servitude

People become trapped in involuntary servitude when they believe an attempted escape from their conditions would result in serious physical harm or the use of legal coercion, such as the threat of deportation. Victims are often economic migrants and low-skilled laborers who are trafficked from less developed communities to more prosperous and developed places. Many victims experience physical and verbal abuse, breach of an employment contract, and may perceive themselves to be in captivity—and too often they are.

Domestic Servitude

Domestic workers may be trapped in servitude through the use of force or coercion, such as physical (including sexual) or emotional abuse. Children are particularly vulnerable to domestic servitude which occurs in private homes, and is often unregulated by public authorities. For example, there is great demand in some wealthier countries of Asia and the Persian Gulf for domestic servants who sometimes fall victim to conditions of involuntary servitude.

Child Labor

Most international organizations and national laws indicate that children may legally engage in light work.3 By contrast, the worst forms of child labor are being targeted for eradication by nations across the globe. The sale and trafficking of children and their entrapment in bonded and forced labor are particularly hazardous types of child labor. Forced conscription into armed conflict is another brutal practice affecting children, as armed militias recruit some children by kidnapping, threat, and promise of survival in war-ravaged areas.

Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking, victims are generally found in dire circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers. Individuals, circumstances, and situations vulnerable to traffickers include homeless individuals, runaway teens, displaced homemakers, refugees, and drug addicts. While it may seem like trafficked people are the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region, victims are consistently exploited from any ethnic and social background.

Traffickers, also known as pimps or madams, exploit vulnerabilities and lack of opportunities, while offering promises of marriage, employment, education, and/or an overall better life. However, in the end, traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry. Various work in the sex industry includes prostitution, dancing in strip clubs, performing in pornographic films and pornography, and other forms of involuntary servitude.

Human trafficking does not require travel or transport from one location to another, but one form of sex trafficking involves international agents and brokers who arrange travel and job placements for women from one country. Women are lured to accompany traffickers based on promises of lucrative opportunities unachievable in their native country. However, once they reach their destination, the women discover that they have been deceived and learn the true nature of the work that they will be expected to do. Most have been told lies regarding the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 1,229 human trafficking incidents in the United States from January 2007- September 2008. Of these, 83 percent were sex trafficking cases

 

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