Human Trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. It makes the process of recruiting, transporting, hiding and holding, and finally receiving a person through a use of force, coercion, false promises, and monies for the purpose of exploiting them (UNODC.org pg.1). In the article Human Trafficking: Preventing, Protecting, Prosecuting by Susie Johnson on page 3 there is a fact that states “Through out the world 27 million people are trafficked”. These victims are used for a number of different purposes including, but not limited to prostitution, pornography, forced labor, and drug smuggling. The justice system must be set up in a which law enforcement focuses more on arresting the human traffickers, uses the laws to prosecute human traffickers, and protects the victims against being criminalized. Arresting Human Traffickers
Law enforcement needs to focus more on arresting the human traffickers rather than arresting the victims. In the article The Strong Arm Of The Law Is Weak: by Shelly George on page 570 it states “The Department of Homeland Security, immigration, justice systems usually identify and prosecute sex traffickers”. Law enforcement has designed numerous groups to help prevent human trafficking, and to fight the human traffickers such as the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, U.S Customs Enforcement is the lead in federal agencies in charge of enforcing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (George 570).
The FBI also enforced the TVPA they are combined with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity. However the law fails to tell the public exactly what they are doing to take the traffickers down. It is very important that law enforcement informs the public what groups are out there to help the victims, but the victims and society would like to know what the law enforcement is planning to prosecute these criminals for this horrible crime. The law enforcement also mentions the rescue groups that give society hope that the government is trying to find the victims rather then just focusing on finding the human traffickers. Laws that Protect and Help Victims
Prosecutors need to use the laws already in place to prosecute the human traffickers instead of criminalizing the victims. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2005(TVPA), states they are going after the recruitment, harboring, transportation, etc. (Human Trafficking.org). The TVPA consists of three levels that include prevention, protection, and prosecution. In a Guardian News article it reported, “the UK law enforcement was wrongly prosecuting victims”.(Booth pg 130). In Chris Beddoe article he states “for a long time Britain has criminalized victims of trafficking and this continues to be the case.” (pg.129). Some thing must be done fast to stop this criminalization of victims, who knows what they’ve gone through. Survivors do not need to be prosecuted as well as being tortured and exploited. The Crown Prosecution service has decided to step in and say enough is enough of prosecuting victims; they took several steps on either eliminating rules or aspects to identify victims.
“The CPS has lowered the threshold required to satisfy prosecutors that an Individual suspected of a crime may have been trafficked” (Robert Booth). Advice has also been vocalized, saying cases should be dropped against any suspected victim also no evidence shall be needed to identify the victims. Countries should commit to helping victims not criminalize them. With regards to punishment, it was well stated that it does not reflect the severity of brutal crimes committed on the victims of human trafficking. This is the most severe kind of violation, torture and human exploitation worldwide. Every state has the authority to enact their own legislation on how to handle these cases. In most states the consequences for human trafficking carries a lighter penalty than that of rape and kidnapping. There are currently issues being raised as far as allowing votes to bypass the legislature and push for harsher penalties when it comes to human trafficking that could include sentences of 25 years to life. In Austin, TX the current state law for first degree trafficking is punishable by five to ninety nine years or a life sentence. Protecting the Victims
The judicial system must play a better role of protecting the victims rather then keep prosecuting them. The TVPA system has set up assistance programs for survivors. The TVPA act provides medical, housing, food assistance, shelter, visas, etc. The real question is what are they doing to protect, and heal survivors who have fallen to human trafficking? The law enforcement will provide visas so that the victims are able to stay in the US while the trials and the human traffickers are caught. “Protecting the identity of victims and providing their safety are crucial to effective prosecution of traffickers” (Human Trafficking. Org pg. 1). Protecting the identity of victims while trials are proceeding is very important because either the traffickers will try to kill the survivor or will kidnap the victim once more. This agency is also says that protection is part of the rehabilitation and reintegration of the victims. These aspects are important to because the prosecutors can not put a non reliable witness on the stand because they are not stable, sober, or capable of testifying.
There are numerous non governmental organizations that help the law enforcement shelter, heal, and help human trafficking victims (Human Trafficking. Org). There is a group in Chicago called Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, that provides a safe home, a drop in center that provides mentoring, support groups, legal advocacy, and employment opportunities for the victims (Human Trafficking. Org). Some law enforcement agencies are starting to provide education about human trafficking, what to look for, who is a target, how to identify a trafficker and a victims. As victims of human trafficking, the one thing that has been stated many times in articles is, that the victims do not like to be labeled as victims, but as survivors and there is a difference.
Most survivors do not trust the law enforcement, they are unsure if they would be deported, treated as criminals or if their stories would be believed. Once rescued a lot of the victims refuse to talk due to the mistrust and just wanted to go home. For the ones who chose to assist the law enforcement officials, they were afraid of being deported or not actually receiving what as promised to them in exchange for their testimonies. The survivors are given special visas, food, housing, clothing, and working permits. In their stories, they were actually trying to rebuild their lives with the help of the U.S. system designed to identity, help and heal victims. Counter Argument
One could find fault with this essay and argue that, survivors may be victims of human trafficking but they are still breaking the law. For the most part a large majority of the victims are in the United States illegally that being a broken law in itself. Some are well aware of coming to the United States illegally. The act of prostitution is against the law, even though the victims are forced into it. The prosecutors may argue that the victims were not actually victims; they knew what type of situation they were getting themselves into. Thus the law enforcement wouldn’t be criminalizing a victim, rather then putting away an offender. Conclusion
The United States law enforcement is creating numerous groups everyday to help, heal, and protect victims. Nevertheless more and better protection for victims is always needed. Human traffickers are increasing their violence and more victims with everyday that goes by. The law enforcement needs to really crack down on these criminals, prosecute them and lock them up for a life time. America will argue that this is the most heinous crime against humanity, and this epidemic needs to be taken care of quick. Indicating that punishment and sentencing should be severe and close to a life time, no one should ever have to go through what human trafficking victims go through. The prosecutors need to understand that prostitutes are victims, even though they might argue that it’s easy money for them.
The judicial system needs to create laws that protect the human trafficking victims, because its not right when they get prosecuted rather then being rescued and helped. Another issue with the victims is the mistrust with the law enforcement, the corruption should not exist! That is what loses cases, causes fewer sentences for criminals, and forces the witnesses to back out of testifying. Putting these criminal back on the streets and bringing more victims into their business. This issue must be taken care of immediately also, weeding out the bad cops, prosecutors, and judges will help contribute in putting these criminals away as well. It is very good that the law enforcement is doing what they can to catch these criminals, protect the victims, and use the laws to put away the human traffickers.
George, Shelly. “The Strong Arm Of The Law Is Weak: How The Trafficking Victims Protection Act Fails To Assist Effectively Victims Of The Sex Trade.” (2012) Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2012 Siddharth, Kara. “Designing More Effective Laws Against Human Trafficking” (2009) Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2012 Booth, Robert. “Human Trafficking Will Not Be Treated as Criminals, says CPPS”(2001) Guardian Newspaper. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 “Combat Trafficking” Human Trafficking. Org. (protection) (2001) Web. 30 Nov. 2012 ”Human Trafficking” United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime. Org. (2012) Web. 5 Dec. 2012