Although it is unheard of, human trafficking is rising and has become a global crisis. This phenomenal has been an ongoing practice for a million of years and has not been stopped. Human trafficking can be defined as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex from another person. Human Trafficking is unethical because it is incorrect to exploit vulnerable people; some consequences are that victims are harmed, and it allows for the practice of patriarchy in gender roles.
Traffickers exploit vulnerable people that are unable to fend for themselves. Social worker Miriam Potocky,in her article “, Social Work Practice with Victims of Transnational Human Trafficking,” shares the story of Maria 12 years old girl that was sold to a man, Fernando, in Guatemala (111). Fernando smuggled her to United States and used her as his maid. He also used her to even out the debt with his brother (112). Human trafficking is becoming a common practice and something you hear about daily. According to Dr. Miriam Potocky, an expert on refugee resettlement and social worker states that there is an estimated of 27 million victims worldwide (114) Traffickers give them false hope to brighter future and lure them into the system. They offer them “false and deceptive offers of employment, marriage, or a better life” (115). Females and males are proposed to move countries in hopes that they will find a job and build a home, but instead they are put in the trafficking system. Most of the time females are in the sex industry and males are put to work. Traffickers seek easy targets, such as countries in severe poverty or teenagers. As stated by Alyssa M. Barnad,“youth seeking to escape dysfunctional homes, sexual abuse or other neglect” puts them at risk to human trafficking (1467). The trafficker begins to “groom” their victims until their mindset changes. The grooming process is “a form of psychological conditioning may include beatings, sexual assault, confinement, verbal abuse, brainwashing, document confiscations, and techniques, such as the renaming of the victim” (1469). Dr. Miriam Potocky shares that countries such as “Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa” are frequently targeted places by traffickers (116). Vulnerability makes victims easier targets for traffickers to exploit them.
Maria shares with her social worker that “one morning Fernando savagely” beat her and had to attend a hospital afterwards. Like Maria many of the victims get exposed to abuse and endangerment. According to the article” Sex trafficking of women and girls” by Dr. Deshpande and Dr.Nour, victims of sex trafficking are likely exposed to adverse conditions that can negatively affect their physical, mental, and emotional health (Deshpande). Victims can be exposed to sexual transmitted diseases and if they participate in commercial sex, they may have pelvic pain, rectal trauma or urinary difficulties (Deshpande). In most cases they are abused and tortured; scars, bruises, burns, and broken bones can be seen on them. Not only that, but women who have exploited in commercial sex are unstable, traumatized, and have great health issues than other crimes. Victims also become attached to their traffickers and according to social worker Miriam Potocky “victims may develop loyalty and positive feelings toward their traffickers” (116). Although this may seem surprising, victims incline to their traffickers because they protect and provide for them. Human trafficking victims were ripped away from their homes and they are not familiar with their new environment. Since they come from other countries, victims fear being deported. Victims will protect their trafficker from authorities because they fear that if they are gone, they will not have anyone to care for them. Victims of human trafficking get hurt physically and mentally through this process.
Lastly, human trafficking is unethical because it supports patriarchy. Patriarchy is a system of society in which the male is the dominant figure and women are subordinate to them. Human trafficking physiologically relates to power and control typically over others. According to Turner’s article titled “Root Causes, Transnational Mobility and Formations of Patriarchy in the Sex Trafficking of Women”, Turner, sex trafficking can be “understood by reference to patriarchal gender orders predicated on women’s subordination to men” (195). For instance, sex trafficking is one of the biggest practices in human trafficking socially constructed by male dominance. Turner believes that the current gender order lies in “the system of inequality in which women and girls are exploited, discredited and vulnerable to abuse and attack” (195). Not only do traffickers have power over women and girls, but the person behind the electronic device paying to see these victims tortured also do. Turner states traffickers may use these women and girls to make profit, but most of the time “sex buyers also have more specific demands” (197). Patriarchy plays a big role in the practice of human trafficking.
Article “The Representation of Human Trafficking in Documentaries: Vulnerable Victims and Shadowy Villains” by journalist Nataliia Vdovychenko, raises the question “Are human smugglers inspired by anything other than greed and disregard of human life?” (503). Vdovychenko compares several different documentaries to break down how these movies distort human trafficking and how traffickers may be different (497). She states that males are always portrayed as the bad ones versus females, but according to the website National Human Trafficking Hotline, their article “Hotline Statistics,” out of the 4,585 cases 3,736 are female victims, only 545 males and the rest are gender minorities. Females take up more than half of the cases in which they have been victimized.
It is incorrect for traffickers to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities, use patriarchy to belittle others and damage the lives of their victims. Maria broke away from her trafficker and got a second life. Many victims are suffering and if we do not do anything to fix this global crisis the numbers will continue to increase.