How and why does Child Trafficking affects the US? Child Trafficking is defined as the transportation, transfer and harboring, of a child for the purpose of slavery and forced labor and also for the purpose of adoption. In this paper I am going to explain why Child Trafficking is a really big issue in the US, how it affects the population of the country and in detail by states, how this trafficking is executed, statistics, where are the “hot spots” in this trafficking, which is the most “popular” method in the US between slavery, forced labor, adoption or prostitution, also I am going to explain how a victim of trafficking can be identified, the effects that trafficking has on children and I will provide a method of solution for this issue.
Nearly 9,000 cases in the U.S. were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline in 2017, which leads us to a 13% of increase since last year, if this continues in the same path, next year the number could go up to almost 10,500 cases of Human Trafficking which a significant part of them are children but this is only the reported, as we know most of the crimes are not reported or listed is estimated that 240,000 and 325,000 children are at risk for sexual exploitation each year in the US, and a big part of them are runaways. The US is on the ranking of one of the worst countries for Human Trafficking followed by Mexico and Philippines therefore inside the US the states on the highest ranking are California, New York and Texas. But how a victim of Child Trafficking can be identified, method of identification, there are many factors, these are some of the most important: Misses school on a regular basis and has unexplained absences.
Frequently runs away from home. Makes references to frequent travel to other cities or towns and exhibits bruises or other signs of physical trauma anxiety, or fear. Also how this affects a child, it can have a serious impact on a child's mental and physical health, they can end up being traumatized for life or in the other hand they can be affected for sexual transmission diseases as VIH. Over all my paper is going to be an informative paper that will describe Child Trafficking issues, how it affects our country, which are the states on the top ranking, how this issue affects a child life, which are the consequences and what can we do as civilians to help preventing or reporting this crime.
The first point explained in this research paper, is the definition of child trafficking, human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of labor, sexual exploitation, forced labor, removal of organs, or any modern form of slavery against the will and well-being of the human being. This crime is the third most serious, common and international crime. This crime involves the kidnapping, transfer or reception of human beings through threat, violence or other coercive mechanisms (Porto & Gardey, 2011). The US is one of the countries in the top ranking as a consequence 1 in 4 victims of Human Trafficking are children.
The first article written by Elżbieta M. Goździak related to human trafficking explains how there is not enough empirical research about this crime, it also analyses how due to this event victims are not adequately helped during the period after, “there are not evaluate rehabilitation programmes implemented to integrate survivors of human trafficking into the wider society and prevent repeat victimization” (Goździak, 2008). Analyzing the information found, we can see how human trafficking and in specific child trafficking research is centered on studies, anecdotal information but not empirical information. “Seventy seven percent of the 255 journal articles analyzed in the referenced project were based on non-empirical research” (Goździak, 2008). Therefore, this leads us to understand that there is no specific data and that this type of crime is very difficult to classify. The most recent event related to this crime is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, an act created to fight against human trafficking, sexual trafficking and forced labor therefore also combats violence against women. The article also explains how child trafficking is so poorly analyzed that they submit it into the same category as women's trafficking ignoring the special needs that children would need. Part of Child Trafficking is also caused by the desire to enter this country illegally, many parents or relatives pay traffickers to be able to introduce the children into the country and then use that situation to get into the country after them. ICE officers said they had arrested hundreds of people for trafficking with children, this numbers added to the events that we named before provoke the great sum of trafficking with humans. ICE officers also explained how some children reported that the smugglers raped them or kidnapped them to ask for more money. The smugglers have abandoned others while trying to cross the border.
This human trafficking practice is very common at the borders of the United States, many of the children crossed at the border are attracted with false hopes that when they would arrive in this country the conditions will be unbeatable, but they are also advised that they will have to return the money for which they are introduced by the border. Therefore this is how these traffickers get people to be indebted to them, when they arrive in this country, they are forced into labor, prostitution and other illegal events. But this crime not only affects people from other countries, human trafficking also affects children and youth from the United States, Americans under 18 are introduced to sex trafficking every day in this country, especially those young people who escape from home, sometimes trying to escape the nuisance that they live in their own homes. Domestic human trafficking is very common and affects a large part of this country.
Many episodes exist relating to this crime but a very prominent one was the episode in which 16 members of the United States Marine Corps, one of the elite services of the US armed forces, who on July 25 were arrested on charges of human trafficking, human trafficking drugs and transportation of undocumented Mexican immigrants. This shows how involved this business is and how it affects the country. The consequences of human trafficking in the United States since it is a federal crime punishable by imprisonment of 10 years to life imprisonment, also if the felon is a foreigner he would be deported.
Statistics of Child trafficking
This illegal and criminal business is a $32 billion-a-year industry, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports the percentage of child victims had rise in a 3 year period from 20% to 27 % (O’Conell, 2011). Every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy therefore “The U.S. State Department has estimated that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked annually across international borders worldwide and approximately half of these victims are younger than age 18” (U.S. Department of State, 2005, 2006, 2007). It is estimated that 25 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking which 75 percent of them are women or children. According to Polaris, the leading anti-trafficking agency in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are victims of this crime. In 2017, a total of 8,759 cases of human trafficking in the country were reported to the National Hotline for Trafficking in Persons (NHTH), which affected more than 10,000 victims, almost 5,000 offenders and 1,500 businesses. As the Department of Homeland security reports “Human trafficking victims have been found in communities nationwide in the agriculture, hospitality, restaurant, domestic work and other industries, as well as in prostitution that is facilitated online, on the street, or in businesses fronting for prostitution such as massage parlors”. The victims are men, women and children of all ages and may include U.S. citizens and foreign nationals involved into modern day slavery.
There are multiple cases of children trafficked, for example in New York, a child was trafficked with her mother by her husband and was in captivity for most of his life. Another boy was attracted with video games to a family that forced him to have sex with them and their friends. And another episode, a boy who escaped from the adoption center, was picked up from the street and offered a place to stay, in exchange for sex. Children and men constitute an “important part” of victims of human trafficking, both in the United States and internationally, according to a 2019 annual report of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. But because they were ignored, 'many men and boys do not identify as victims or request services,' according to the report. Therefore this fact would be explained in the method section.
Method of Child Trafficking
In general, child trafficking takes place in two steps: action and exploitation (Spruce, 2017). Some of the method use in trafficking are abduction, sold by family, and recruitment through former slaves (Spruce, 2017). The worst type of child labor are usually slavery, debt, sexual exploitation, the use of children in drug trafficking as well as armed conflict. It is believed that tens of thousands of children in the country are sexually exploited every year. Every night, hundreds are sold in exchange for sex. Some experts are now referring to the sex trafficking of U.S. children and youths as “domestic minor sex trafficking,” (Kotrla, 2010). The FBI says that child sexual abuse has reached almost epidemic levels. As an example of crime we can find cases as scary as a woman explaining how her aunt bought her at the age of 14, “she gave my mom 900$, she told me she was going to take me shopping to the mall”.The aunt took her to drug dealers homes where she was raped and drugged. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, thousand of children are sold in the same way by family members each year.
Another example as we explain before it would be people who suffer from hoaxes, are attracted to temporary work visas and then forced into servitude. And along the route, which is a long trip to the United States, smugglers exploit the children. They will say that if they do not pay extra money, or if they do not do this type of activities, some of which are sexual, some of them could be forced labor, they will kill their family at home. Ballard a special agent of National Security Investigations in the child trafficking unit, said that up to 10,000 children are trafficked to the United States each year to be used as sex slaves. More than 48,000 unaccompanied minors were arrested by the Border Patrol in 2018. Nearly half were from Guatemala and the rest from Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador (Cuthbertson 2019).
Although many may think that violations of children's rights occur in poor countries and devastated by war, in the United States children also suffer from the deprivation of certain rights. The USA is the only nation in the world that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Many of the children crossed by the border are forced to work in factories and specially in the agribusiness sector. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), children who work in agricultural fields are unprotected against the danger posed by the use of dangerous tools and machinery, as well as against many other hazards generated by plantation work (HRW, 2016). Data from the United States government shows that agriculture is the most dangerous industry for young workers. In 2012, more than 1,800 non-fatal injuries were reported in children under 18 and two-thirds of the children who died from work injuries were agricultural workers.
How to identify a victim of trafficking and the effects on a victim of trafficking
The articles used in this research are Evaluation of a Tool to Identify Child Sex Trafficking Victims in Multiple Healthcare Settings by Livings, Baikie and Brown (2018) and Psychological consequences of child trafficking: An historical cohort study of trafficked children in contact with secondary mental health services by Smith, Stahl and Oram (2018). The first article is a cross-sectional observational study involved patients from 16 sites throughout the U.S, that explains how health care deals with victims of child trafficking and how they identify if a child is being moved from one place to other or is obligated to prostitution or forced labor (Livings, Baikie & Brown, 2018).
The second article investigates the mental health and service use characteristics of trafficked children in contact with mental health services in England. Even this study was made in a different country the consequences in the US children are the similar as well. Fifty one trafficked children were identified, 78% were female, the most commonly recorded diagnoses for trafficked children were post-traumatic stress disorder a 22% and affective disorders a 22%. Records documented a high prevalence of physical violence a 53% and sexual violence a 49% among trafficked children (Ottisova et al. 2018). But which are the warning signs to identify a person who suffers from being trafficked? The first one we could immediately notice that a traveler carries few or no belongings. Victims could be worse dressed than their companions. They could wear clothes of an inappropriate size or inappropriate for the climate of the place where they will travel. The second one they have a tattoo with a barcode or the word “Daddy”, traffickers or pimps feel they own their victims, the third one, they do not know the details of their starting point, destination or flight information, some traffickers do not tell their victims where they are, where they are taken or what work they will give them, the fourth one, what they say seems planned or their story has inconsistencies, traffickers instruct victims to say certain things in public in order to avoid suspicion.
The fifth one, they cannot move freely through the airport or by plane; they are controlling them, watching closely or following, the sixth one, they are afraid to talk about themselves in front of other people and the seventh one, a child who is being trafficked for sexual exploitation could be dressed sexually or give the impression that he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore the next step analyzed in the paper are the effects of a child victim of trafficking; Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress are just some of the sequels that people victim of trafficking have to suffer.
Post-traumatic stress; Threats, fear and pain caused by others are dramatic events that leave a mark on the victims, who often have recurring memories of this experience, anxiety attacks, irritability and difficulty recovering. According to the study, 38.9% suffer from this disorder. Depression; 61.2% survivors of trafficking in persons suffer from depression, many of them have attempted self-harm and the last one anxiety; Some people can suffer nervousness and episodes of terror, which is revealed on a day-to-day basis, this is the case of 42.8%.