Over the last 10 years, human trafficking has been established as one of the major criminal justice problems around the globe (Nelson 2015). In short, human trafficking is a system of modernized slavery where people forcefully trade human beings illegally for the intention of sexual manipulation and forced labour (PDCA 2017). In term of size and profit, human trafficking is often acknowledged as one of the top three biggest criminal industry around the world, along with drug and weapon trafficking (Weitzer 2014). Thus, women, men and also children are trafficked and sold in the black market to be exploited every year (PCADV 2017). In today’s world, people often focus on domestic sex violence and labour trafficking (Nelson 2015). Nevertheless, international human trafficking which includes organ harvesting, sex and labour trafficking is not only prevailing, yet a strong connection also prevail between race and cultural background (Nelson 2015). However, few studies have focussed on whether race played a part in human trafficking. This report aims to examine if race is one of the risk factors in human trafficking. More specifically, it will examine the preference race of choice from both Western and Asian society and how does that help the growth of human trafficking.
Cultural background and the race of an individual do matter in the human trafficking market in the Western countries, under a certain circumstance, it will be a valuable asset for the traffickers (Chong 2014). For example, most of the male New Yorkers primary choice would be a non-white – where Mexican male favourite would be a white woman with blonde hair (Chong 2014). Furthermore, typical media and pornography films label African women as an untamed animal who is ready for sex with anyone, anywhere and anytime (Chong 2014). Therefore, young black woman with an average age of 16 to 30 are in high demand in European countries – especially in Italy (Chong 2014). As a result, UNICEF shows that 60% of prostitutes in Italy presently are from the countryside areas of Nigeria (Chong 2014). By the same token, ISIS battalions from the middle east invaded a village of Iraq in 2014 and sold approximately 3,000 women to fighters from their neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Syria, Kuwait and Jordon as a reward (Kennedy 2016). Apart from this, some girls are sold as prostitutes or organs trafficked to generate funds for ISIS (Kennedy 2016). Without a doubt, all these women had been tortured, detained and sexually violated by them (Kennedy 2016). Unfortunately, race is not the only risk factor. Age, physical look and cultural background is also other risk factor in human trafficking. For instance, a young and decent looking inhabitant woman is 2.5 times more likely to encounter rape and sexual abuse (Chong 2014). Although societies played a major role in reducing the price of a woman, but the instigators also pay attention to the women’s skin colour, as some customers or buyers do not consider women with dark skin attractive (Chong 2014). In short, race and skin colour of an individual in the western society would determine if they would be a victim of human trafficking. In the other words, western countrymen consider race and skin colour of an individual as part of the human trafficking key factors.
Human trafficking in Asian countries are slightly different compare to the Westerners. Since the 19th centuries, a substantial amount of Asian were ship away while European power were dominating most of the Asian countries (Shelley 2010). Furthermore, the global financial catastrophe in 2008 aggravate the constituent forced labour of human trafficking in Asia (Shelley 2010). However, the lack of political willpower and unconcerned diplomatic matters with neighbouring countries nowadays would be the key factor for human trafficking (Shelley 2010). On the other hand, democratic country like Japan were too intimidated by the local crime organization – Yakuza (Shelley 2010). Also, leaders from an autocratic society are more concerned with political power instead of serving the people (Shelley 2010). Therefore, some Asian countries constantly involved in human trafficking as Asia has become a transition province for traffickers or crime groups such as Yakuza and “ShanZhu” to support each other’s business (Shelley 2010). For instance, Yakuza import Thai women from crime groups to Japan for sex excursion for the locals and other Asian entrepreneur (Shelley 2010). Women from rural and poorer Asian countries such as Vietnam, Nepal, India and Myanmar are traffickers primary target, trafficked women will be gathered and transferred through Thailand for further utilization elsewhere or settle down in Thai sex industry (Shelley 2010). Moreover, Vietnamese women are often sold to China through forced marriage for those who are unable to find a fiancée within their own culture (Shelley 2010). In addition, a couple in Australia were charged under the slavery offence act for smuggling Filipina women into Australia to worked in their takeaway food store and as a housemaid for them with underpaid salary and further abused (Burn 2013). To summarise, Asian traffickers do not consider race, cultural background or skin colour as the determining factors of human trafficking. In fact, they would target women who have the most limited chances to acquire education but are desperate to escape their ancestral poverty.
Furthermore, the intersectional exploitation which includes the mythologies about the minorities sexual life, inadvertently promotes and supports the growth of unsafe sexual industries such as prostitution (Nelson 2015). This intersectional oppression also includes of myths about minority teen sexuality, which encourages risky sexual behaviour like prostitution (Nelson 2015).
In most cases, terrorist institutions will at least gain three benefits from human trafficking, starting with subjugating the enemy, then supplying fighting power and lastly generating funds (Kenedy 2016). As an example, European countries such as Italy sees black women as a wild animal who is always hungry for sex - where Mexican male goes for white and blonde women.