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1) Introduction to sex trafficking in Somali
2) Causes of Sex trafficking
a. Political corruption
Weak legal system
Profitability of business
Development of infrastructure
b. Gender discrimination
3) Solutions to sex trafficking
(a) Eradication of poverty
(b) Create awareness
(c) Create a new policies and regulations on the program
(d) Declare trafficking a national disaster
(e) Educating the masses
Continuous encouragement of participation of nations in international activities is promoting cooperation among nations. Thus, it is leading to globalization of activities. Globalization, on the other hand, is transforming the world into ‘a global village’ where participants are easily engaging in different activities such as trade. On the other hand, increased global cooperation is contributing to the increased number of immigrants in different nations. Migration to other nations such as United States results from differences in resource distribution. Trade, education, and as well health are some of the factors contributing to the increased number of immigrants in United States (Jeffrey pg. 28).
Often, different nations have different immigration policies that guard and protect the rights of the immigrants when in the new country. Unlike in other nations, United Sates has a discrete branch of government that protects these rights. USCIS, department of the United States Department of Homeland Security, plays a crucial role in promoting and safeguarding these immigration policies. The US government lays an emphasis of promoting equality between the immigrants and as well its citizens. Equality between the two parties is important while the government is enhancing good and positive interrelations with other nations.
However, despite the government effort of ensuring equality between the immigrants and the local citizens, there are high cases of sex trafficking among Somali immigrants in the nations. Sex trafficking is an inhuman trade act that mostly faces young girls and women in US. Over years, nations in different continents are facing increased cases of human trafficking. As a result, many people term the aspect and condition as a common phenomenon. Human trafficking (sex trafficking) among Somali immigrants in US is facing and as well acquiring new dimensions.
Unlike in the past years when the act rarely involved high funding from ‘third parties’ and well organized shareholders, currently, the act has shocking dimensions. The practice is becoming complex and often raising concerns in the US society. The overall process in United States currently is involving shareholders from different levels (Gardner pg. 9). This has an implication that sex trafficking in the country takes place in different societal levels. The common levels are commercial (in situations where women immigrants in working in organizations faces traffic instances) and as well institutional level (trafficking involving young Somali immigrant girls in educational institutions).
In US, sex trafficking among Somali immigrants is a clear form of modern slavery. Sex traffickers in the modern US society are making huge amounts of money from the trafficking process leaving innocent Somali girls and women vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Globally, sex trafficking is common in that it has many similarities with gang activities. Additionally, resulting from the increased cases of sex trafficking among Somali women immigrants, there is a rise in crime networks globally. Crime networks involved are part of the main perpetrators of human trafficking since they recruit young girls and women in the US society. In US, corruption and government policies are some of the common contributors towards the increased cases of sex trafficking (Jeffrey pg. 16).
Change in sex trafficking in US, which has seen the act focusing on Somali immigrants in the country, is resulting from increased demand of women and girls for commercial sex in the society. Additionally, insensitive nature of implemented policies governing immigration exploitation in the country is contributing to the rise. As sex trafficking in US is rising, the government is as well increasing its interests and concerns of pursuing the causes aiming at eradicating the overall process. The paper objects at investigating sex trafficking in United States and develop some policy recommendations that the government can implement while eradicating the issue. The paper has a specific investigation on the role played by history and women rights in fostering the trafficking process.
Impact of Arab slave trade on Sexual trafficking among Somali immigrants
As highlighted earlier, sex trafficking among Somali immigrants living in US is rising at a worrying rate. Researchers are linking the rise with the historical background of issues facing women and girls in the Somali’s society. Additionally, these factors are considerably influencing and as well fostering the nature of sex trafficking among the immigrants in US. Therefore, it is important understanding the historical factors in Somali’s society contributing to the acceleration of sex trafficking in US (Gardner pg. 12). The historic Arab slave trade has also been a thorn in the flesh of Somali’s. This is because the Arab slave trade paved a way for the sex trade that is going on in the country. The infrastructure of slave trade had been developed efficiently in the East African coast and consequently, it has become relatively easy for Sex traders to follow suit in the footsteps of the Slave trade. The former channels have therefore, made it easier for the slave traders to operate undetected in the fragile war torn country.
Most of the Somali women that are trafficked have the notion that history repeats itself and consequently most of them do not resist when they find out that they have been trafficked for sexual purposes. Arab slave trade can therefore, be said to have created a path by which a road on sexual trafficking was built on.
Political conditions in the nation
Somali, a nation in Africa has a characteristic of high-crime networks. The country underwent a long span from 1991 without a well-organized government. During this period, there was an increased case of crime networks that contributed to increased brutal killings and abductions of innocent individuals in the society. Between 1991 and 2012, the nation did not have a national governing structure that was responsible for addressing issues facing the citizens. Increased rise of terror attacks and preoccupation of many regions by terrorists in Somali contributed to a rise in sex trafficking of Somali women and young girls to other nations. There were continuous fights Transitional Federal Government, deployed African Unions against the federal government, and as well terrorists.
When the nation lacked a well-organized government, the transitional federal government of Somali was responsible for securing government representatives and as well protecting human rights in the nation (Jeffrey pg. 8). However, due to the interruptions faced from the fights and as well diversified roles played by the federal government, it was unable to protect and address sex trafficking issue facing women in Somali. Additionally, the government-in place (federal government) lacked a well-established means of identifying and addressing social issues facing women in Somali. Issues such as prostitutions and as well human trafficking has; as a result raised due to the government incompetence in handling them.
Al-Shabaab, a terrorist gang in Somali, has a significant contribution to the rise of sex trafficking in Somali. As reported by UN, the terrorist gang use a systematic approach force and deception while targeting vulnerable children in Somali. As reported by the Daily Mirror, the Somali’s militant group has its target to children as young as eight years. Additionally, while accelerating its terror attacks to other nations and as well, regions in the country, these militant groups expose young girls and women in the society to sex trafficking. Additionally, it forces Women to marry the militants and use them as sexual servitude.
United Nations reports that the authorities representing the nation made minimal efforts while dealing with sex trafficking facing women in Somali. Somali’s federal government lacked discrete policies addressing the social issue facing women in the society. Government officials, on the other hand, failed to have officials with a better understanding of the human trafficking in terms of prosecution of the sex traffickers, and as well protection and prevention of the overall process in Somali. Despite the nation having laws prohibiting sex trafficking, it lacks a police force in place enforcing these laws. Conversely, the anticipated role of these enforcement laws does not prevent sex trafficking issue facing women.
Women rights and discrimination practices in Somalis (women poverty conditions and poor empowerment policies)
As highlighted earlier, prior to 1991, Somali had a defined government system addressing and governing specific social issues facing citizens in the country. However, after overthrowing President Said Barre, the country began experiencing continuous civil wars, abuse of human rights poverty, sex trafficking, corruption, murder, and as well cases of broken infrastructure that led to a limited connection between Somali and other global regions. While the president was in power (prior to 1991), women in Somali society occupied some prominent positions in the societies. During this period, women occupied leadership such as judges and as well colonels. However, after collapsing of the government (post-1991), women have repeatedly become victims of social abuse in the society. Discrimination to certain leadership positions, rape, and as well, poverty are some the basic social issues facing women in the Somali society. Continuous abuse of human rights, specifically rights protecting women in the society, is leading to the diversified victimization and vulnerability of women to social abuses (Jeffrey pg. 16).
Unlike male, according to clan systems of government, women do not belong to any clan. This has an implication that there was no women representation in the clan system of governance (Nydam pg. 16). This has continuously contributed to their discrimination in the society. Despite failure of representation of women in the clans, they are highly prone to some clan-related attacks. As reported by UN humanitarians in Somali in 2003, during some organized clan attacks, approximately 10 women died. Additionally, women are increasingly becoming intermediate victims of social attacks in the society. It is a clear demonstration of historical discrimination of women in Somali society allegedly contributing to the high prevalence of sex trafficking of women in the society (Vision World pg. 13).
Women discrimination continuously represents women as inferior to men. In Somali, inheritance laws and guidelines places women as inferior to their counterpart men. As represented by the clan laws and systems, women only have the power of inheriting half of their brother’s family inheritance. Consequently, they are prone to high cases of poverty in the society. On the other hand, despite their efforts of eradicating poverty in the society, women in the markets are not allowed to use public restrooms. Therefore, accelerated by the situation and position occupied by women in the society, most of the Somali women end up experiencing high situations of unemployment secured human rights. Thus, prone to social, sexual abuse from men.
Deteriorated and dilapidated health and education policies
Health and education policies in Somali as well contribute to the increased discrimination of women in the society. As women, continue to experience immensely situations of deteriorated healthcare services, their mortality rate raises a warning in the modern society. Reports indicate that Somali women often undergo female genital mutilation. The overall process raises health risks and as well raises women’s mortality risks in the society. Research indicates that FGM ensures maintenance of chastity of young girls since they get married. Instant deaths resulting from a surgical operation alleges to the massive blood loss and as well infections that affect the young girl undergoing the operation (Gardner pg. 15).
Access to other social amenities such as education is another discriminative issue facing women in the post-1991 society. As reported by USA Today Nation, the spread of poverty in Somali is contributing to the failure of women attending schools. Apparently, the number of illiterate women in the society is raising at a high rate. Unlike in the pre-1991 period when the number of illiterate women represented an approximate of 55 percent, post-1991 case has an approximate of 80 percent of illiterate women. Reports indicate that most of the parents in the society are making more investments that are educational in sons unlike in their daughters. Conversely, men in the society easily deal with their poverty situations as compared to women.
Women feel as second class citizens and their culture has taught them to be submissive; this negative notion has made them more vulnerable to sex traffickers. The Islam religion does not condone violence by women and they are treated as inferior beings as compared to men. Therefore, this doctrine has infiltrated the Somali culture and has been translated to the immigrants who believe that indeed they are far less inferior beings and consequently this increases their acceptance into sexual trafficking. The difficult conditions that most of the women have faced in life make them easy prey as they struggle to look for greener pastures. Therefore, the sex traffickers are easily able to manipulate and dupe them into sexual slavery as compared to other women of other ethnic origins.
Continuous discrimination of women in Somali society alleges to lack of a well-developed and discrete centralized government system controlling and safeguarding human rights. Additionally, failure of representation and participation in the justice system is contributing to the prevalence of the injustices against women (Office To Monitor And Combat Trafficking in Persons pg. 8).
In addition to the factors, contributing to an acceleration of sex trafficking of Somali immigrant women in US is the submissive nature of girls and women. Submissive nature attributes to their position in the society while compared to men. Despite recent urbanization in the world, social norms among Somali women remain intact. Conditions promoting their submissiveness in the society alleges to their culture and as well social beliefs. Consequently, it is worth arguing that Somali women have been trapped in a pecking order where they respect the will of men despite of the rationality of the will. As a result, it makes women prone to facing manipulation from their traffickers. It is vital understanding that a high number of sex traffic victims are from broken homes and marriages.
In addition to collapsed government lacking a well-developed and organized system of dealing with trafficking issues facing women in the society, corruption among the government officials is allegedly contributing to the prevalence and increase of cases of sex trafficking among women. The high level of poverty stems up corruption in the society. This creates a society governed and oriented to wealth accumulation. Despite the government officials’ knowledge on sex trafficking, they highly ignore the issue in exchange of bribes.
Sex trafficking in the modern society especially in the United States seems to accelerate due to the overall incompetence of the government agencies and authorities safeguarding human rights in the society. Immigrant government authorities often facilitate passage of immigrants from one nation to the other. Responding to the rise in the number of alleged sex traffickers’ victims, some sex traffickers’ victims reported that some government authorities facilitated their migration by providing forged documents that facilitated their movement across the borders. Ignorance and reluctant of these alleged government authorities attribute to their active engagement in the overall process of sex trafficking (Vision World pg. 6).
Modern day human trafficking is continuously thriving due to its profitability. As reported by the UN, modern sex trafficking often generates an approximate of 9 billion dollars annually. Surprisingly, despite the efforts, policies, and regulations made by the government in ensuring and dealing with the trafficking process, transport of human cargo across the borders is easier as compared to drug smuggling. Additionally, unlike arms and narcotic smuggling, sex trafficking victims re-using and re-trafficking is possible. This has an implication that victims can face multiple trafficking over different borders. Human trafficking among immigrants is not only dangerous but also secretive. This has an implication that despite the victims’ knowledge on alleged perpetrators of the whole process, they rarely bare witness against the traffickers due to fear and alleged threats from these traffickers. Additionally, it can be due to the reason that most of the sex trafficker’s perpetrators are big people in the government who have the capability of ruthlessly retaliating to the victims (Hoft pg. 3).
Lastly, as a factor contributing to sex trafficking among Somali immigrants in US is the improved infrastructure (Nydam pg. 11). Rapid globalization of the world, resulting from the improved ties due to trade and other activities are contributing to improved global infrastructure and connection between different nations. Additionally, unlike in the past years where movement across the borders required a cumbersome process, currently, due to the improved airlines and shipboard, movement has become easier. However, despite the improved movement channels, it has, on the other hand, contributed to prevalence of negative impacts in the society such as sex trafficking.
Worst largest human trafficking as reported by Bishop, involved over 24 Somali women and girls. According to reports made on the trial progress of the human trafficking case, Somali gangs took the initiative of deploying these victims. Additionally, cultural beliefs and issues facing Somali immigrants in United States complicated the issues and efforts made by the government in ensuring that policies developed and implemented by the authorities safeguard these victims. Somali gangs such as Somali Outlaws, the Lady Outlaws and as well, Somali Mafia are some of the involved gangs in the sex trafficking case. Despite the fury and as well exploitation faced by the victims, the US government did not provide justice to the victims through a fast trial and as well prosecution of the gangs. The delay during the trial period raised some concerns among many people (Hoft pg. 5).
In United States unlike Somali, the national economy contributes to the rise and prevalence of sex trafficking. With the increase of the Gross Domestic Product per capita to an approximate of $48 thousands, the nation’s economy has become the most superior. Consequently, it is creating a market-oriented approach among the key players (both consumers and as well companies). However, with the rise in the market-oriented mindset among individuals and companies, different entities are taking advantage of the social environment leading to rising of social exploitation of inferior individuals especially immigrants in the society. Conversely, there is an expanding gap between social statuses between its citizens. Increased prevalence of poverty among the inferior (poor) individuals is as well leading to an increase in violence and crimes. According to reports made by The United States Central Intelligence Agency, over the last decade, the number of sex trafficking victims has raised to an approximate of 50, 000 victims annually. Despite authority’s awareness on sex trafficking in United States, its rising cases is raising alarms on reluctance on government policy-implementer (Vision World pg. 12).
Solutions and recommendations to sex trafficking among Somali immigrants in US
Globally, sex trafficking has large and complex basis. It is not only a socio-economic issue facing a government but also politically driven issue facing victims. Consequently, solutions to the prevailing women and the girl exploitation not only rely on moral and social approaches but also requires government intervention in developing policies that govern and promote equality and aim at ending the social scourge facing women immigrants in United States
Poverty eradication and women empowerment
As highlighted earlier, poverty contributes to the prevalence of the scourge in the society. As a result, government measures addressing on reducing poverty levels among immigrants in United States is crucial (Hoft pg. 9). Additionally, while alleviating poverty levels among immigrants in United States, the government should provide and promote social services such as education and health. On the other hand, poverty eradication should not only focus on the US economy but also should involve Somali government. Involvement of Somali government while dealing with the scourge of sex trafficking aims at reducing the submissiveness of women in exchange of gifts.
Poverty eradication policies implemented by both governments should encourage engagement of women in the planning process. Failure of women representation in these strategic approaches has an implication that the programs fail to take into consideration women needs. Conversely, Somali government should promote women participation in the planning processes of these programs in a bid of ensuring that the economy incorporates both women and men equally (learning 2001). Creation of opportunities that target women can be an important step in creating employment and as well increasing income generation among women. As a form of women empowerment, it can significantly aid in promoting social equality between Somali women and men
Additionally, as seen earlier, Somali culture has a characteristic of submissiveness of women to man’s wills. Consequently, increasing awareness on sex trafficking can aid in preventing women from falling as victims (learning 2001). Among Somali citizens, their awareness on the risks and channels used by traffickers while gathering their victims is partly constricted. Thus, most victims fall in the trafficker’s traps due to their ignorance. Somali government should create awareness through educating the public on the prevailing sex trafficking in the nation. Somali’s culture, as portrayed above, encourages discrimination of women and considers them as inferior. Conversely, their subjection to sex trafficking is higher resulting from the position they occupy in the society. Both Somali and US governments and as well the society in general should focus on strategies addressing on creating self-esteem and respect of women (Office To Monitor And Combat Trafficking in Persons pg. 18).
Lastly, the mass media, a common channel of communication used in the two nations, can play a role in discouraging sexual exploitation activities among women. In many instances, mass media plays a role in normalizing sex trafficking (example prostitution) by portraying it as a better alternative of making money. However, through government policies aimed at empowering women in the society, mass media can significantly play a role while combating sex trafficking by exposing all evils and health effects behind the practice (Hoft pg. 6).
Prosecution of traffickers
As highlighted earlier, some sex trafficking victims reported that government authorities facilitated their transportation by providing forged documents. Conversely, while the government anticipates dealing with sex trafficking crime, it needs to have an incorporative approach. Firstly, the Somali government needs to put into place a well-organized investigating and prosecuting agency. While developing these authorities, the government needs can use the already available laws and policies while dismantling while restructuring the authorities. Additionally, in United States, despite the existing policies governing immigration, the government needs to take fast actions on traffickers found perpetrating human trafficking in United States. Stringent laws, managed by the government can achieve the responsibility of helping relieve Somali immigrants and set them free (Nydam pg. 15).
Secondly, United States government needs to understand that sex trafficking is a vital issue that requires immediate and comprehensive solutions. The intensity of the challenges brought about by human trafficking is huge. Somali immigrants pass through the United States borders in huge numbers. On the long run, they end up being prostitutes and face sexual abuse either willingly or unwillingly. Previously, US agencies felt that they could tackle the issues contributed to sex trafficking without engaging other parties (learning 2001). However, as reports indicate, the perception by the government was a mere misconception, and the government needed other organisations in their war against human trafficking. Sex trafficking business is a multi-billion network, and many parties participate in facilitating its operations.
As a government policy aimed at safeguarding human rights and promoting campaign against sex trafficking. Sex traffickers arrested committing sexual activity should face heavy fines. Prosecution process of sex traffickers in courts should be fast and as well precise with an aim of promoting confidence in the victims and as well the society. Penalties charged for such offences should be heavy to discourage the scourge. Tackling the problem of sex trafficking could be easily handled by dealing with the promoters at the top. Imposing jail terms and heavy fines on the organizers other than the prostitutes is more effective (Nydam pg. 10).
It is essential for the governments involved engaging in an education mechanism with the authorities implementing and responsible for safeguarding human rights. Training of the police and other law enforcement officials is vital when handling the human trafficking menace. Government authorities’ personnel should undergo training aiming at identifying and as well tracking down the traffickers involved in the overall process. Additionally, government agencies and departments dealing with sex trafficking should be federally mandated. Often, the federal mandate of these personnel and agencies is through financial support and aiding them with the necessary support during the fight against sex trafficking. A huge number of Somali immigrants across United States borders illegally. Despite the implemented policies, victim smuggling in the border is still rising. Conversely, the government should support the authorities involved in dealing with sex trafficking crimes aiming at easing perpetrator identification and arresting. Educating these departments’ personnel on how sex traffickers cross the borders is vital in ensuring that they have the capability of dealing with the social issue (Office To Monitor And Combat Trafficking in Persons pg. 15).
Declare Trafficking a national disaster
Trafficking should be declared a national disaster. This will ensure that more attention and funds are dedicated towards ensuring that this horrible and despicable vice is stopped. More officers and prosecutors will be assigned to the cases and the government will create different agencies in order to mitigate the crisis. If not declared a national disaster, the traffickers will move on uninterrupted by the frail government legislations and structures that currently exist.
Importance of Religion
Religion can never be left out when it comes to finding a solution for sexual trafficking among Somali immigrants in the United States. This is because it is the Islam religion that most of the Somali immigrants follow that has several doctrines that show that women are inferior to men and consequently should be submissive to them. The government should work hand in hand with the Muslim Clerics and Sheikhs to ensure that they develop elaborate and fool proof plans on how to empower women so that they cannot feel as second class citizens or inferior to men. This boost of self esteem towards the Muslim women will go along way in ensuring that all the Somali Muslim women realize their worth in the society and consequently are able to ensure that they stand their ground when it comes to sex trafficking. Further, it is also in mosques that teachings about sex trafficking can be taught as most Somali Immigrant women are known to congregate in mosques.
Finally, as a government policy implemented aiming at dealing with the rising cases of sex trafficking among Somali immigrants in US, perpetrators should face harsh penalties. These penalties should aim at demotivating them from undertaking the business in US society. Current laws and regulations are not harsh enough to discourage the activity. If the legislation set imposed very hefty penalties, this would decrease the demand of the activity and subsequently the demand. Sex trafficking promoters would not easily woo the Somali immigrants with opportunities in the United States. Agency and department negligence contributes to treatment of sex trafficking cases as minor cases. Thus, when the government is developing the penalty regulations, agencies and departments should impose them directly to the perpetrators aiming at ensuring that they do not pursue the process again.
The highlighted solutions discussed above requires an international cooperation between the governments and as well the citizens. Internationally, problems attributed to sex trafficking have a difference due to cultural differences and as well variation of sexual preferences between nations. In some cultures, culture views women as sex objects. Additionally, they appear inferior while compared to their counterparts men. As in the case of Somali, cultural beliefs perceive women as submissive and thus vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation. Corruption, on the other hand, in countries as well hinders jurisdiction process. Consequently, it is vital for all the nations (both Somali and US) to co-operate while fighting against sex trafficking.
In conclusion, as highlighted in the paper, the issue of sex trafficking facing Somali immigrants in US is raising concerns in the society. The social scourge does not only imbed on the poverty levels of Somalis but also political corruptions in the government agencies and departments. In the fight against sex trafficking in US, proper education and training of government officials and development of new policies governing the social issue are some anti-trafficking measures that can aid while dealing with the issue. Considering the possible effects resulting from sex trafficking, it is vital for the government to formulate measures that address the issue and focus on curbing it completely. The spread of HV/AIDs and other STDs is a major effect resulting from extensive sex trafficking in the society. Apparently, as seen earlier, it is clear that the spread of Somali immigrant women smuggling in US has a comprehensive and strong link with the history and as well women rights. In Somali, the position occupied by women in the society makes them vulnerable to sex trafficking and as well exploitation. Conversely, history and women rights have significantly fosters sex trafficking of Somali women immigrants in US.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2009) “Global Report on Trafficking in Persons”. 10 March 2009
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Baldez, Lisa. "U.S. drops the ball on women's rights." CNN Opinion. Fri March 8, 2013.
Gardner, Judith. "Gender Profile For Somalia." January 2007.
Hoft, Jim. "UPDATE! In The Largest Human Trafficking Case In US History." The Bishop. August 2, 2013.
Jeffrey, Gettleman. "Peace Force Is Attacked on Arrival in Somali." New York Times. March 6, 2007.
Nydam, Rebekah. "Modern Day Human Trafficking in America and Africa." Hubpages. 2010.
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Trafficking in human beings is not a new phenomenon, especially that of girls and women. Historically, sex trafficking has taken many forms, however, in the context of globalization it has taken in a new and acquired shocking dimension (Moore, 2015). The sex trafficking is a complex, and multi-faceted phenomenon that involves multiple stakeholders at the commercial as well as institutional level. The market has changed into a demand-driven global business, which has a huge market for commercial sex as well as cheap labor that is confronted with insufficient and unexercised policy frameworks which has trained personnel in order to prevent it (Goodey, 2003).
A sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, an evil perpetrated against humanity particularly women. In most developing nations, due to the level of poverty, sex trafficking has become other means to an end for some people (Lucchi, 2009). Traffickers are making millions of dollars by exploiting vulnerable young girls and desperate women. The sex trafficking phenomenon is mostly parallel around the world; young women and innocent girls are the victims while men are usually the perpetrators (Moore, 2015).
The boom in the sex industry over the years has paved ways for organized crime networks, which are established for the sole purpose of recruiting women and young girls. In most developing nations, poverty, political corruption and governmental insensitive to the needs of the people has pushed many to seek greener pasture, through which most women and young girls are coerced into sex trafficking.
The modern day slavery can be said to thrive because of the profitability that comes with the trafficking industry. The UN in its report estimated that modern day slavery generates around 8-10 billion dollars annually. It is imperative to note that this is the third largest profits behind arms and the dealing of narcotics. Further, the moving of human cargo across borders is often easier as compared to drugs and arms which when found are seized.
Human beings are often reused and consequently can be re-trafficked; this is not the same case with drugs. To further worsen the situation, trafficking can be described as dangerous and secret (Lucchi, 2009). The victims for retaliation and even recrimination in different families and villages are afraid to bear witness against known traffickers. This is because these persons are often big people in the society that are capable of swift and ruthless retaliation.
It is of an essence to understand that the art of trafficking, as well as the attendant human rights violations in many cases, have very serious consequences on the side of the victim. The women that are often trafficked suffer from serious mental as well as physical health problems. The trafficking victims often suffer from extreme physical abuse as well as physical exhaustion. There are even times that the victims suffer from starvation (Moore, 2015).
The typical injuries that are experienced by those persons that are trafficked include broken bones, bruising and burns, concussions, as well as other injuries that can be said to be consistent with the assault. It is of importance to understand that some of these injuries often lead to adverse health problems, and they might require long-term treatment (Lucchi, 2009).
The persons that have been trafficked are often subjected to multiple cases of abuse over a long period and consequently they suffer from different and diverse health consequences that have been seen to be similar to those that are experienced by victims of prolonged torture.
The sexual exploitation is a traumatic event where there are emotional and physical effects on the victim. After experiencing the sexual exploitation women and girls often suffer a range wide of different physical and mental reactions. The most common include severe depression and stress. The women also have physical deformities as a result of the prolonged sexual exploitation (Moore, 2015).
They are highly vulnerable to sexual as well as reproductive health complications; these includes sexually transmitted diseases as well as other gynecological diseases. In many cases, the women that are trafficked into the sex trade are not allowed to use condoms or even other methods of birth control. Further, they also do not undergo gynecological examinations. These women, therefore, face the risk of unwanted pregnancies as well as the threat of miscarriages (Lucchi, 2009). This, therefore, shows the reason as to why many women that have been trafficked for the reason of sexual trafficking experience high rates of abortion, infertility as well as sterilization.
Therefore, this type of both physical and sexual abuse often leads to severe mental as well as emotional health consequences; this includes the feelings of guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders as well as anxiety. In some cases that are extreme, the mental anguish that the sexual exploitation victims feel leads to self-mutilation or even at times suicide (Moore, 2015). Therefore, for this reason, it is imperative that the victims of trafficking when they are recovered, be given proper physical as well as psychological care as part of their standard medical treatment.
The scourge of HIV/AIDS is rampant with women that have been sexually exploited; it is of essence to understand that around 70% of the women that are trafficked for the purpose of sex are HIV positive (Lucchi, 2009). This, therefore, shows that the HIV menace is the biggest health impediment when it comes to the solving of health issues with different victims. It is important for service providers as well as law enforcement officials to understand the phenomenon regarding human trafficking for sexual exploitation (Moore, 2015). In many cases, it might not be immediately apparent that those women and children require a different kind of support and assistance; however, with time the health care professionals should understand that the needs of the trafficking victims are diverse.
How the topic fits into Psychology
The trauma that is often associated with sex trafficking and its psychological effects can be devastating, and if it is left unaddressed, it can be able to undermine victim’s recovery and it can potentially contribute to the re-victimization. Traffickers are often known to dehumanize as well as objectify their victims (Lucchi, 2009). In fact, in most instances, the victim’s innate sense of power, visibility as well as dignity often becomes obscured.
The traffickers are often known to use coercive tactics as well as the force to make the victims feel that they are worthless and feel that indeed they are emotionally imprisoned (Moore, 2015). As a result, in most instances the victims often lose their sense of security and identity. There are various psychological symptoms that often surface after a period even after the victims have been able to escape and are rescued from the trafficking environment. Therefore, it is critical to understand that indeed psychological support is needed for the victims, and this is where psychology is important in this field (Moore, 2015).
Most of the victims often suffer from Post-Traumatic stress disorder. The post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the mental health illnesses. For one to have the disorder, they must have gone through the traumatic event that are usually painful. The advantage of the post-traumatic disorder is that it's caused is known as compared to other mental illnesses. This way a therapist knows what they are dealing with when attending to their patients.
Most of the people affected by post-traumatic stress disorder are war veterans. This is because during the war they come across traumatizing experiences that are hard to erase. Most of the victims end up taking excess alcohol or get depressed (Thio, 12). Some of the victims end up isolating from the rest and avoid situations that will lead to them remembering what happened during the war. This is the same case with sex-trafficking victims, most of them suffer from PTSD.
Casualties of post-traumatic stress disorder find it hard to find the best solution for their condition. The problem that they face is because the condition is entirely mental. By being mental, it affects most aspects of the victim including the physical part. The post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that causes the victim to experience hyperarousal, avoidance and emotional numbing. These characteristics result from traumatic events that victims go through in a part of their lives (Nash, 2013). The study of PTSD involves observation of symptoms. This leads to many psychologists to believe that the condition arises as a result of the body reacting to normal stress. They believe that this is the normal way of the body of reacting to stressful conditions (Nash, 2013).
There are several theories that suggest that symptoms of PTSD vary from one victim to another. This variation depends on the ability of the body to withstand and cope with a certain traumatic event. Some victims can recover from the condition after a very short time. Others seem to maintain the condition for a long time with some cases lasting for the rest of the victim’s life (Nash, 2013). This condition occurs as a result of breaking the basic assumption of an individual about his invulnerability and the overall safety in the environment surrounding him. Exposure to these conditions causes the brain to break down and become weak.
The brain of a person in normal circumstances can integrate the trauma in his memory. However, PTSD causes the individual’s brain to form faulty beliefs about why some situations took place. The individual’s brain interprets the activities with guilt and self-blame. This causes the individual to get problems in trusting himself. Loss of self-esteem, control and intimacy causes the person to have problems integrating trauma in his memory (Nash, 2013).
The post-traumatic stress disorder is the only disorder that is caused by anxiety and has its cause known. This uniqueness helps in its treatment since the therapist and counselors tackle the issue directly (Nash, 2013). In post-traumatic stress disorder, anything that makes one feel like it’s a traumatic experience may result to the disorder. Some of the events that are likely to cause the disorder include violent acts, life-threatening disease, surviving car crash, natural catastrophe, war, and sexual assault (Kara, 2009).
Gaps in Current research
There are several gaps that exist in the literature regarding sex trafficking. Sex Trafficking has a socio-economic and political basis that is complex and is linked to the global larger processes. Therefore, it is not simply a matter of morals or social waywardness. Therefore, it is imperative to understand that this problem cannot be treated with a casual approach but should be treated as a developmental concern that requires a balanced, layered and integral approach built on a solid strategic framework intended to end the scourge. However, this scourge has not been well understood, and its socio-economic basis has yet to be well researched.
Religion plays a significant role in the lives of its citizens. The actions and attitude of the people are largely shaped by religion. A religious leader and clergymen are held in high regard in most parts of the world. As a result, religion is one of the known methods employed by traffickers to control their victims. Black magic is used in this process and the victim’s body parts such as, pubic hair, menstrual flows, pictures and many more are collected and sent to Juju (Voodoo) priests to ensure the loyalty and obedience of the victims to their trafficker.
The voodoo priests are sometimes unaware of the traffickers’ objectives and are deceived into performing acts that coerce the victims (Kara, 2009). The government needs to incorporate religious organizations and religious leaders to aid in the fight against sex trafficking. If this is not done the war against sexual trafficking will not be won. However, there has been little research that has been done in regards to religion and its role especially in Western Africa where black magic is well propagated (Kara, 2009).
How research can help address the problem
There is the need for different governments to create a reintegration program that seeks to serve the needs of the internally trafficked or the repatriated children. There is a need for the governments to create a program where those that have been trafficked are first addressed medically and financially before they are repatriated to their homes. Many children that have been often trafficked lose touch with their homes, and some of them do not even have homes as they are born in the streets (Crawford, 2008). The persons lack the necessary social services and because there are no programs that exist they do not receive the required assistance that is a need to help the children recover from the abuses that they have suffered.
Research has shown that because of a lack of a repartition program, the deported trafficked persons are often at a higher risk of being re-trafficked and this time severely traumatized (Kara, 2009). Therefore, the different government should create a reintegration program that will attempt to facilitate the reintegration of trafficked persons as well as their relatives through education, skill acquisition and income generating activities. The presence of this program will reduce the occurrence of re-trafficking and will also set the benchmark for the persons that were trafficked not to plunge into poverty.
Governments need to increase the strength of its law enforcement to combat trafficking. Similarly, law enforcement must be adequately trained in issues about sex trafficking. The government should sign agreements with destination and transit countries to decrease the number of women and children being trafficked (Crawford, 2008). The co-operation of the different countries will ensure that indeed there is no person that is trafficked outside and taken into another country forcibly or unknowingly (Kara, 2009).
Trafficking Awareness training course should be implemented in the law enforcement standard curriculum as well as the protection of victims which is the most important of any Memorandum should be integrated. There should also be legislation that is intended to suppress as well as prevent human trafficking. There should be direct legislation regarding sexual exploitation, and a stiff penalty should be put in for the offenders (Crawford, 2008).
Victims, as well as the general public, need to be well educated on sex trafficking. Lack of education is an important reason individuals fall victim to traffickers in the first place. The definition for sex trafficking is somewhat constricted, thus why awareness needs to be raised for the general populations. If victims were well informed about this evil act, they wouldn’t have fallen victims to their traffickers. Similarly, education and empowerment of victims are also paramount; these will offer them a chance to be self-sufficient and increase their effectiveness in educating the public. The culture, particularly the mass media, plays a large role in normalizing prostitution by portraying it as a glamorous, fast and easy way of making money. The government needs to employ the mass media in the combat against sex trafficking, by exposing the evils behind the practice.
This paper will employ the descriptive research method to better understand the psychological impact of sex trafficking victims. There will be the use of 200 sex trafficking victims and their psychological well-being after the trafficking will be assessed. From victim stories and their discussions about how they felt during the ordeal, an evaluation of their mental health can be easily accessed and determined. This study will use secondary research as the main form of getting data. The secondary data will be gotten from Stories of sex trafficking victims that have been published in reputed journals. This will ensure that there is sufficient data to conduct a carefully planned analysis. The study will involve the getting of data from different sources that are accredited as well as peer-reviewed articles that relate to sex trafficking victims.
Data collection from the stories will be analyzed using expressive tables and tools. This will provide a more graphical depiction for data analysis. Bar graphs, pie charts, and tables can be used for pictorial representation.
This is the best method for this research as it gives the different perspectives and works on the limited budget of the researcher.
In this study, descriptive research methods are used. This type of research is a significant one since it involves comprehensive analysis and description of the elements in a survey. It is especially critical in this study since it is used in the description of a population’s characteristics. This type of research mainly deals with the ‘what’ question rather than the how, when or why. This makes this type different from causal research.
Causal research refers an investigative study that seeks to determine the effect of a given thing or behavior on another thing. This is clearly different from descriptive research that examines the characteristics of a given situation or population. Descriptive research is the most current form of research, Thyer (2010). It covers more information compared with the other types of research. This research uses this approach since the subject being analyzed requires qualitative checking of behavior that is not automatic. It is also used since it will provide a more detailed analysis of the subject matter as compared to other approaches.
Some of the research questions that will be explored include
1. What are some of the psychological disorders that the victims of sex trafficking possess?
2. What programs can the government have to ensure that sex trafficking is reduced?
3. What is the role of poverty, religion and inadequate governments in sex trafficking?
This research is a quantitative one. This is because the findings of the research are subjected to various empirical, mathematical or statistical, computational techniques.
The first principle that was considered was that of self-determination which meant that the participants had the right to decide voluntarily if they wanted to participate in the experiment (Crawford, 2008). This was done through e-mail to the publishers of their stories, and formal permission was asked to assess the victim’s psychological conditions based on their stories. Further, the researchers had to obtain informed consent before the conducting of research.
The participants (through the different publishers) that took part in this study were informed about the nature of the study and what the finding of the study will be done with. There was also the issue of asking for an institutional review board for permission to conduct the experiment. This is because the study deals with human subjects and consequently, there is a need to obtain consent from the review board.
There is also a need to understand the impact of human sex trafficking on multiple generations. There are many questions that remain unanswered in the investigation of this topic. Therefore, there is a need to understand the trauma that the second generation faces and the impact that it has on their development (Bernat, 2011).
There is a need for research into the issue of which training methods are best when it comes to combating this menace that is sex trafficking. It is essential for the governments involved engaging in an education mechanism with the authorities implementing and responsible for safeguarding human rights. Training of the police and other law enforcement officials is vital when handling the human trafficking menace. Government authorities’ personnel should undergo training aiming at identifying and as well tracking down the traffickers involved in the overall process. Additionally, government agencies and departments dealing with sex trafficking should be federally mandated.
Often, the federal mandate of this personnel and agencies is through financial support and aiding them with the necessary support during the fight against sex trafficking. Despite the implemented policies, victim smuggling in the border is still rising. Conversely, the government should support the authorities involved in dealing with sex trafficking crimes aiming at easing perpetrator identification and arresting (Bernat, 2011). Educating these departments’ personnel on how sex traffickers cross the borders is vital in ensuring that they have the capability of dealing with the social issue. There is, therefore, a need for further research to show exactly what the government needs to do and the loopholes that currently exist in the current system that can be effectively eradicated.
Future research can be able to look at several issues and address several real-world problems. Poverty can be said to be a major cause of human trafficking and consequently the measures of addressing poverty are crucial. There is a need for the different governments where trafficking is an issue to create different programs that are aimed at alleviating poverty in the country (Bernat, 2011). The eradication of poverty will see the market of human trafficking decline, this is because many people especially women and children are often duped into human trafficking for sexual exploitation because of looking for greener pastures as well as better opportunities in life (Bernat, 2011).
There is a need to involve women when it comes to planning, implementation as well as monitoring the various governmental programs that address the poverty. The lack of representation of women in these important processes means that the programs fail to take into account the needs of women. Therefore, the different governments should make sure that there is a woman in each of the required sectors in a bid to ensure that women are equally represented economically in the country.
Another solution is to create awareness in regards to sexual trafficking in the country; the lack of awareness directly leads to the escalation of human trafficking. More research into trafficking for sexual exploits should be studied; it is of importance to understand that until recently, there was no tangible research on trafficking persons and the victim’s experience (Richards, 2014). The media reports were the ones that were used in the estimation of trafficking, and many of the reports that were published are by governments that hugely underestimated the issues. Further, the overall lack of adequate gender specific data and prevalence of trafficking of persons made it difficult to monitor as well as understand the evolution of the phenomenon in a bid to design strategies that are supposed to combat it.
Adams, C. (2011). Re-Trafficked Victims: How a Human Rights Approach can Stop the Cycle of Re-Victimization of Sex Trafficking Victims. The George Washington International Law Review,
Bernat, F. P. (2011). Human sex trafficking. London: Routledge.
Countryman-Roswurm, K., & Bolin, B. L. (2014). Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Assessing and Reducing Risk. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 31, 6, 521-538.
Crawford, M., & Kaufman, M. R. (2008). Sex trafficking in Nepal: survivor characteristics and long-term outcomes. Violence against Women, 14, 8, 905-16.
Goodey, J. (2003). Recognising organised crime's victims: The case of sex trafficking in the EU. Transnational Organised Crime : Perspectives on Global Security, 157-173.
Kara, S. (2009). Sex trafficking: Inside the business of modern slavery. New York: Columbia University Press.
Lucchi, S. R. (2010). Victims of Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
Moore, A. S., & Goldberg, E. S. (2015). Victims, Perpetrators, and the Limits of Human Rights Discourse in Post Palermo Fiction About Sex Trafficking. International Journal of Human Rights
Nash, T., & Elmquist, S. (2013). Prisoners among us: In the fight to end adult sex trafficking, the line between criminal and victim can become blurred. Style Weekly, 50, 14-16.
Richards, T. A. (2014). Health implications of human trafficking. Nursing for Women's Health, 18, 2.)
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes defines human trafficking as the forceful recruitment, transfer, and receipt of people for purposes of exploitation. In this regard, exploitation includes sexual exploitation, servitude, removal of organs, slavery/practices similar to slavery, and forced labor/services (UNODC, “Human Trafficking”). Based on the definition provided by the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, human trafficking involves three main elements: the act (what is done), means (how it’s done) and purpose (why it’s done). This phenomenon is currently a major problem in Houston, and a study conducted in 2017 by scientists at the University of Texas estimated that close to 313,000 people in Texas are victims of human trafficking. 79,000 are believed to be minors or youth engaged in sex work. Another study published in the Akon Law Review established that 25% of people trafficked into the U.S. are in Texas, and 22% of victims pass through the State (Kent, “Houston is an epicenter of human trafficking”). Given these developments, this paper proposes (a) harsher penalties for perpetrators and beneficiaries of the proceeds of human trafficking, (b) educating the community to understand what human trafficking is and how to identify the red flags, and; (c) due registration of non-skilled and semi-skilled laborers.
The law of demand and supply states that as long as the demand for a commodity/service is present, people will always find the initiative to supply that commodity/service to where it is needed. Human trafficking continues to be a problem because of the numerous vacuums it fills in society. From body parts to free labor, to sex, and to other forms of exploitation, human trafficking meets specific needs of the society albeit clandestinely. For this reason, severely punishing those who aid and abet the practice should be Houston’s first line of defense. For instance, prostitution which is one of the high-value sectors for human traffickers is classified as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas as is soliciting for sex. Currently, if one is convicted of either repeatedly engaging in sex or soliciting for sex, they face jail terms of up to 1 year or a fine of $10,000 (Kent, “Houston is an epicenter of human trafficking”). This is not deterrent enough, and the likelihood of recidivism is high. If the penalty is, say, 5 years jail time or $100,000, then the perpetrators would be reluctant to engage in the practice. States that have stiffer sexual offenses penalties record significantly lower recidivism rates. For instance, Florida has a plan called “Civil Commitment” where convicted sex offenders are held indefinitely after serving time if there is a feeling that they still pose a danger to society. As a result of this plan, this State has a 5.3% recidivism rate in sexual crimes (Salzhauer and Gordon, “Florida becomes the harshest state for sex offenders”).
Increasing the community’s level of awareness on the reality and the dangers of human trafficking also goes a long way in fighting the vice. Several organizations in and around Houston have already embarked on sensitizing the community on how to identify human trafficking and how to respond. Professionals who work in these organization are also trained on what to do when they come into contact with victims, the obstacles that prevent successful identification, the services available to the victims and a host of other vital information. First responders are taught the signs to look out for such as controlled or restricted communication, anxiety, fear, not having identification documents, working odd hours and in poor conditions, and strange security precautions where one works or lives (CdeBaca and Sigmon 262). The primary objective of these awareness campaigns is to encourage the public and empower victims to take action whenever they see signs of possible human trafficking. The more the number of organizations involved in this sensitization campaigns the better the prospects of increasing the general awareness of the community. This also means being conversant with the misconceptions that inadvertently fuel the vice. For example, most people think that only women and young girls are victimized, but reports indicate that men also do fall victims especially for labor. Men are likely to be trafficked to regions where most industries are manual labor-intensive (Busch-Armendariz, Nale and Kammer-Kerwick 55). Knowing these patterns and how they contribute to the general problem underscores the mandate of awareness campaigns.
Finally, a majority of industries rely on manual labor to run their processes, and this offers an avenue for human traffickers to exploit (Busch-Armendariz, Nale and Kammer-Kerwick 58). Naturally, most of these laborers are undocumented which means the State has no records of their existence, their work and the challenges they face. Making it a policy that all workers must be in possession of valid registration documents can offer a crucial boost in stemming the tide of human trafficking. This should be the responsibility of companies employing these workers, and just like this paper outlined in the first paragraph, failure to comply should be punished under culpability for benefiting from proceeds of human trafficking. Of course, for companies, the penalties should be much stiffer given the economic benefits they derive from the same. The idea here is to seal the loopholes exploited by human traffickers and in the long run to eliminate supply by killing the demand for benefits accrued from illegally trafficked persons.
Human trafficking can be eliminated but not by appealing to the conscience of its perpetrators. It can be done by enacting stiffer penalties for persons involved in the practice as well as third parties benefiting from it. Similarly, increasing community awareness on the issue can provide the much-needed impetus to identify and prescribe appropriate measures to help the victims of the vice. And finally, making sure that workers have valid documents eliminates a core avenue for human traffickers especially when hiring undocumented workers is criminalized.
Busch-Armendariz, N.B., et al. Human Trafficking by the Numbers: The Initial Benchmark of Prevalence and Economic Impact for Texas. Austin, TX: Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, The University of Texas at Austin, 2016.
CdeBaca, Luis, and Jane Nady Sigmon. "Combating trafficking in persons: a call to action for global health professionals." Global Health Science Practice 2.3 (2014): 261–267.
"Human Trafficking." 2018. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes. 15 August 2018. www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html
Kent, Roy N. "Houston is an epicenter of human trafficking." 23 January 2018. Chron. 15 August 2018. www.chron.com/neighborhood/memorial/opinion/article/ROY-KENT-Houston-is-...
Salzhauer, Eliana, and Claire Gordon. "Florida becomes the harshest state for sex offenders." 5 April 2014. America Tonight. 15 August 2018. america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/4/5/florida-becomes-theharsheststateforsexoffenders.html
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