Human Trafficking

Amy Farrell

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:
Human Trafficking

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Slavery has been illegal in most nations for over a century. Despite the existence of legal prohibitions, advocates and legal officials have raised concern since the 1990s about a modern form of slavery known as “human trafficking.” The modern-day slave has been defined broadly by Kevin Bales as a person who is made to work through force, fraud, or threats of violence, without pay beyond subsistence. US and international laws have further specified definitions of the term “human trafficking.” In 2000 the US Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) defined a new crime of human trafficking and enhanced penalties for existing offenses such as slavery, peonage, and involuntary servitude. Under the TVPA 2000, a severe form of trafficking in persons is one in which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery” (Section 103, 8a and b). While the term “trafficking” implies the movement of people or goods, the US law does not require transportation of victims; instead, it extends prohibitions against slavery and involuntary servitude through force, fraud, or coercion. In November 2000 the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, which defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” Disagreement about the definition of human trafficking, particularly distinctions between trafficking for commercial sex and labor trafficking, are common in the human trafficking scholarship. There is also much disagreement about the nature and extent of human trafficking. Governments and groups lobbying for policies and resources to fight trafficking have estimated thousands and potentially millions of victims, but scholarship on the measurement of human trafficking raises concern about the validity of existing estimates. Scholars also disagree about the degree to which human trafficking is connected to known organized criminal networks.

Article.  6310 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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