Examples of human trafficking can include the trade of humans for child labour, forced labour, sexual slavery, or sexual exploitation. It also includes the harvesting of human organs and tissues. Human trafficking exploits men, women and children as commodities. It does not always involve moving people from one place to another.
Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. People are used as commodities that can be bought and sold just like goods. It happens all over the world. Trafficking does not necessarily involve moving people from one place to another. Human trafficking is a crime. It is a violation of human rights as it restricts movement and is exploitative.
Examples of human trafficking
Trafficking of children
Children are classed as any individual under 18 years of age. They are exploited for many reasons:
- Sexual exploitation such as prostitution or child pornography.
- Forced child labour or slavery.
- Organ transfers
- International adoption
- Early marriage
- Beggars (children are often more successful at begging than adults).
- Instruments of war – as soldiers, porters and wives for the adult soldiers.
- Athletes – in some instances children may be trafficked for sporting reasons, to be used and trained as footballs players or child camel jockeys.
For example; In 2015 there were devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Following this people lost family members, homes and sources of income. As such, there was an increase of girls forced into labour and sexual exploitation in neighbouring countries. Gangs could earn a reported $570 for every child they supplied to traffickers. UNICEF responded to this crisis and provided children’s centres to get children off the streets and keep them safe from traffickers. Whilst in the children’s centres they were taught about how to keep themselves safe and healthy.
This involves individuals being forced into sex work through threats, physical and mental abuse, deception and as debt repayment. People do not have to be moved from one place to another to be identified as sex trafficked.
For example, across Europe there are many Nigerian sex workers. Nigerian prostitutes can be found everywhere in Europe. They are often lured into this work with promises of a better life. Once the women arrive they are expected to pay for their transport. They are indebted. The debt is far greater than the actual cost of the trip and they become trapped. Nigerian sex workers are often indebted to a woman known as Madame. The Madame will also manipulate the women using superstition and voodoo. Should they break their oaths to the Madame they are led to believe they will experience misfortune, madness, illness and death.
A forced marriage is one is is not consented by both people. Servile marriage is a marriage involving one person who has been used as a commodity and has been bought, transferred or inherited.
Forced marriage is a form of modern slavery and sometimes comes under human trafficking if a person is sent to another country, they did not consent or if they are forced to engage in sexual acts. This then becomes sex trafficking. If they are used as a servant in any way this then falls under labour trafficking.
For example; 12 year old Gloria is born into an extremely poor family. After her father dies her family do not have enough money to eat and they are starving. Her mother has no choice but to sell Gloria into a marriage. Gloria’s new 35 year old husband gives a small dowry (payment) for the marriage to Gloria’s mother. Following the marriage gloria quickly becomes pregnant and stops attending eduction.
This involves the movement of people to be used as slaves. They may be forced to work in difficult, unsafe, unsanitary and dangerous environments. They may be forced to work long hours for little or no money. It often involved domestic, construction, manufacturing and agriculture work.
For example; in the United Kingdom in January 2004 twenty Chinese cockle pickers tragically died. The men had been imported illegally via containers into Liverpool. They were then used by local criminals and gangs as though they were commodities rather than humans. They were forced to collect cockles at Warton Sands. It was difficult and dangerous work. The Chinese workers were unfamiliar with local geography, language, and custom. Due to this lack of knowledge they were cut off by the incoming tide in the bay and perished.
This again often involves those who are poor and vulnerable. In some cases the victim may voluntarily give up an organ through desperation for money/ goods. They can then paid less or not at all for the organ. Sometimes an organ can be taken without consent during treatment for another issue.
In Kosovo on April 29, 2013 five people were convicted for their participation in an organ trafficking network. Individuals from Russia, Moldova, Kazakhtan and Turkey had been trafficked into Kosovo with promises of up to $20,000 for their kidneys. Their organs were transplanted into foreign patients who paid up to $200,000. The victims did not receive the $20,000 offered. The network included highly regarded surgeons, professors and an official in Kosovo’s Health Ministry.