Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Human Trafficking Around the World

Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 552
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Human Trafficking Around the World
    Book Description:

    This unprecedented study of sex trafficking, forced labor, organ trafficking, and sex tourism across twenty-four nations highlights the experiences of the victims, perpetrators, and anti-traffickers involved in this brutal trade. Combining statistical data with intimate accounts and interviews, journalist Stephanie Hepburn and justice scholar Rita J. Simon create a dynamic volume sure to educate and spur action.

    Hepburn and Simon recount the lives of victims during and after their experience with trafficking, and they follow the activities of traffickers before capture and their outcomes after sentencing. Each chapter centers on the trafficking practices and anti-trafficking measures of a single country: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Examining these nations' laws, Hepburn and Simon reveal gaps in legislation and enforcement and outline the cultural norms and biases, societal assumptions, and conflicting policies that make trafficking scenarios so pervasive and resilient. This study points out those most vulnerable in each nation and the specific cultural, economic, environmental, and geopolitical factors that contribute to each nation's trafficking issues. Furthermore, the study also highlights common phenomena that governments and international anti-traffickers should consider in their fight against this illicit trade.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53331-7
    Subjects: Law, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    We have all seen films that portray the dark and lurid world of human trafficking, depictions that seem sensationalized and exaggerated for cinematic effect. The victims are usually young women forced into an underground sex-trafficking ring, kept on a permanent drug high, and forced to prostitute. Although the plot is horrifying, it is just a story to us—or perhaps it is something that happens in some other part of the world but surely would never occur where we live. Yet the reality is that wherever we may live, regardless of city or nation, some form of human trafficking exists....


    • [PART I Introduction]
      (pp. 11-12)

      Theoretically, no government actually encourages traffickers to traffic; yet those in need of inexpensive labor often create work visas that do just that. Among them are the United States, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

      The U.S. State Department publishes the globally acknowledged annual Trafficking in Persons Report, and as a result some experts regard the United States as a front-runner in the crusade against human trafficking. Yet the countryʹs failure to monitor and enforce its H-2 guestworker visa program has created ample opportunities for traffickers to exploit and enslave legal migrants. Thus in the aftermath of the 2005...

    • CHAPTER 1 United States
      (pp. 13-43)

      The United States, through the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and other statutes, prohibits all forms of human trafficking as well as many of the activities that surround it, such as confiscating or withholding a personʹs documents or committing fraud in forced-labor contracting. Those convicted of labor trafficking face imprisonment ranging from 5 to 20 years for involuntary servitude, forced labor, peonage, and domestic servitude. In aggravated circumstances offenders face up to life imprisonment. Sex-trafficking offenders face up to life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for the sex trafficking of minors...

    • CHAPTER 2 Japan
      (pp. 44-61)

      Japan has a hyperthriving sex industry amounting to $3 billion a year (Hughes, Sporcic, Mendelsohn, & Chirgwin, 1999; McNeill, 2004). Sex is openly advertised, yet conservative attitudes persist toward the open discussion of sex. According to James Farrer, former director of the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University in Tokyo, this is not a contradiction but rather a reflection of a cultural difference between the West and the East:

      In Japan it is acceptable to be a different person during the day versus the night. It is context appropriate. Japanese society doesnʹt have the Protestant moral restrictions on sex like...

    • CHAPTER 3 United Arab Emirates
      (pp. 62-72)

      With a booming economy, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—made up of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah, and Fujairah—has become an attractive destination for foreigners, who constitute over 80 percent of the UAE population. UAE nationals make up 18 percent of the population, Asians 65 percent, Arab expatriates 13 percent, and Europeans 4 percent (Caplin, 2009). Migrants account for more than 90 percent of the UAEʹs private-sector workforce (U.S. Department of State, 2010). According to Dr. Anwar Mohammed Al Gargash, the minister of state for foreign affairs and chair of the National Committee...


    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 73-74)

      ʺStatelessnessʺ describes people who are not nationals of any country. Forced to exist outside the framework of society, those without citizenship or legal status are unable to access government benefits such as health care and education. If travel and movement within the nation are restricted, stateless persons are hindered from applying for jobs outside of where they live.

      This is a significant issue in Thailand, where an estimated 50 percent of the one million hill tribe people lack citizenship, despite the fact that they were born in the nation. Without national identity, members of the hill tribes are marginalized; do...

    • CHAPTER 4 Thailand
      (pp. 75-93)

      The hill tribe people are one of the most marginalized groups in Thailand, despite the fact that they were born there. Many live in poverty and without legal status and the protection of citizenship, and so are vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, including human trafficking. A highland grandmother from the Sripingmuang Akha slum community in the city of Chiang Mai paints a tragic picture of the hill tribe experience. ʺWithout I.D. Cards, the only choices for our children are to beg, sell drugs, or sell their bodies—they are without hopeʺ (UNESCO Bangkok, 2008). Since August 2001, hill tribe...

    • CHAPTER 5 Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
      (pp. 94-110)

      Israelʹs Anti-Trafficking Law of 2006 prohibits all forms of human trafficking. The strength of the legislation is its breadth of application: it does not require the means of trafficking to be identified (UNODC, 2009). The weakness in the law is that it imposes significantly more stringent sentencing on sex traffickers than on labor traffickers. Violators under the law face up to 16 yearsʹ imprisonment for the sex trafficking of an adult, up to 20 yearsʹ imprisonment for the sex trafficking of a child, up to 16 yearsʹ imprisonment for slavery, and up to 7 yearsʹ imprisonment for forced labor (U.S....


    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 111-114)

      The displaced personʹs experience is often littered with the death and murder of loved ones, rape, physical abuse, and the pillage of land and property. Uprooted, displaced persons have lost their support system, and with the ghosts of their experiences in tow, they are forced to migrate to a different town or nation. Continued uncertainty, financial strain, and lack of legal and/or societal inclusion go hand-in-hand with displacement, which results in acute vulnerability to human trafficking.

      In Colombia, civil unrest has resulted in between 3.6 and 5.2 million internally displaced persons. The Constitutional Court in Colombia has ruled that the...

    • CHAPTER 6 Colombia
      (pp. 115-130)

      Understanding Colombiaʹs trafficking scenario depends upon understanding the displacement that has resulted from decades of civil unrest. As recently as December 2009 there were between 3.6 and 5.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Colombia. This number places the nation on par with Sudan, the country with the largest displacement situation in the world (4.9 million) (IDMC, 2009; IOM, 2011). The Observatory on Human Rights and Displacement reported that 89,000 people were displaced in the first half of 2011. The government reported lower numbers and stated that 44,000 people were registered during that time (IDMC, 2011). The nonprofit and nonpartisan...

    • CHAPTER 7 Iraq
      (pp. 131-145)

      Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, an ongoing question has been ʺWhoʹs in charge?ʺ Investigative journalist Nir Rosen says that although the United States remained the occupying power, it claimed to no longer be responsible as the occupying authority after Iraq gained sovereignty in June 2004. ʺItʹs kind of an absurd claim, because theyʹve [the United States], since 2004, handed sovereignty back to Iraq several times, most recently just in September of this year [2010],ʺ Rosen told Democracy Now. ʺBut they remain the occupying power. They were the ones training and funding and appointing and firing. They were...

    • CHAPTER 8 Syria
      (pp. 146-156)

      In January 2010 the Syrian government adopted counter-trafficking Legislative Decree No. 3. The new law includes a definition of trafficking, protection measures for victims, punishment for perpetrators and those who benefit from the offense, the establishment of shelters for victims, and the creation of a counter-trafficking unit (Moschella, 2010). Under the new law, which became effective April 2010, trafficking is the inducing, transportation, kidnapping of persons in order to use them for financial or other gain. Sexual abuse of children is also regarded as human trafficking. Offenders face a minimum of 7 yearsʹ imprisonment and a fine of $21,459.23 to...


    • [PART IV Introduction]
      (pp. 157-158)

      Human smuggling is often conflated with human trafficking, but they are not the same. In Canada, this confusion permeates society and the media, and even politicians use the terms interchangeably. The significance of the error cannot be underscored enough. The act of smuggling involves the procurement, for financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of persons into a nation where they are not nationals or residents. This is characterized by a consensual agreement between the customer (the person to be smuggled) and the smuggler that terminates upon arrival at the destination. In contrast, human trafficking involves an act...

    • CHAPTER 9 Canada
      (pp. 159-172)

      All forms of human trafficking and associated offenses, such as receiving material or financial gain as a result of trafficking, are prohibited in Canada. Child sex tourism is illegal, as is transnational trafficking. Destroying or withholding a personʹs travel documents or identification to assist human trafficking is also prohibited. The government prosecutes all forms of trafficking, including offenses such as forcible confinement, sexual assault, extortion, kidnapping, threats, and prostitution-related crimes (U.S. Department of State, 2007a, 2007b). Some advocates state that while the anti-trafficking laws are sufficient, the resources allotted to services—such as long-term assisted housing—and the monitoring of...


    • [PART V Introduction]
      (pp. 173-174)

      A global economic crisis has caused many governments to tighten restrictions on immigration; among them are France and Italy. In doing so, these governments have created immigration policies that are in direct conflict with their anti-trafficking agendas and pose the most significant challenge to granting victims proper treatment and services as well as investigating and prosecuting traffickers.

      In Italy the conflict has resulted in a focus on the illegal status of a person, not on whether he or she is a victim of human trafficking. Illegal migrants commonly face fines and expedited deportation without proper screening to determine whether they...

    • CHAPTER 10 Italy
      (pp. 175-185)

      It is estimated that roughly 40,000 people are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in Italy. Trafficking cases are categorized under a variety of laws, most commonly Articles 600, 601, and 602 of the Penal Code, but determining the scope of labor versus sex trafficking is difficult as the current collection and distribution of comprehensive law enforcement data does not separate forced labor from forced prostitution convictions (UNODC, 2009a, 2009b; U.S. Department of State, 2012a).

      There is a conflict between Italyʹs agenda to keep out immigrants and its effort to properly aid trafficking victims. Until this conflict is resolved, foreign victims...

    • CHAPTER 11 France
      (pp. 186-196)

      In March 2003 human trafficking was made an offense in France under the Internal Security Law. The nation prohibits trafficking for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation via Article 225-4-1 of the Penal Code (CRC, 2009). Those found guilty face up to 7 yearsʹ imprisonment and a fine of $209,275 for trafficking an adult and up to 10 yearsʹ imprisonment and a fine of $2.1 million for the trafficking of a minor. This can be increased to life imprisonment (French Republic, 2005; UNODC, 2009a). Authorities also utilize other articles of the Criminal Code to prosecute trafficking offenders, such...


    • [PART VI Introduction]
      (pp. 197-198)

      In some nations, strict sex segregation and socio-sexual and economic discrimination against women and girls make equality in life and justice impossible. This gender apartheid pervades all aspects of female existence; it saturates the human, political, economic, social, and cultural experience. It not only makes females more vulnerable to human trafficking, but it also hinders them from attaining equal justice under the law in the post-trafficking experience.

      In Iran the segregation of men and women is enforced in public spaces. Women are not allowed to socialize openly with men who are not relatives or who are unmarried. They must sit...

    • CHAPTER 12 Iran
      (pp. 199-212)

      A 16-year-old sex-trafficking victim was publicly hung in 2006. Her crime was engaging in acts incompatible with chastity. The town governor congratulated the religious leader who sentenced the young girl on his firm approach (U.S. Department of State, 2006). Just two years earlier, Iran had taken significant steps toward eliminating human trafficking within its borders. In 2004 the Iranian Parliament ratified an anti-trafficking law that prohibits the trafficking of persons by means of a threat, use of force, coercion, abuse of power or of position of vulnerability of the victim for prostitution, removal of organs, slavery, or forced marriage (UNODC,...


    • [PART VII Introduction]
      (pp. 213-216)

      In some nations a strict social hierarchy creates a marginalized population that is immensely vulnerable to exploitation, including human trafficking. In other nations the social hierarchy subjects people to hereditary slavery wherein a person faces indentured servitude or slavery upon birth. To be clear, slavery is human trafficking; the exploitation included in the definition of human trafficking is ʺat a minimum, the exploitation of prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organsʺ (United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, 2004).

      In India, where...

    • CHAPTER 13 India
      (pp. 217-235)

      Generally speaking, persons from the most disadvantaged socioeconomic strata are most vulnerable to exploitation, including human trafficking. In India these differences are exacerbated by a strict caste system, leaving many persons born into indentured servitude and slavery. According to Dr. Joseph Dʹsouza of the Dalit Freedom Network, trafficking is a huge problem, both in terms of its negative impact on communities and in terms of the massive size of slavery today: ʺWith all the general information coming from the UN, the U.S. State Department, and various nonprofit organizations, I know it is easy to miss a particular issue like the...

    • CHAPTER 14 Niger
      (pp. 236-248)

      In February 2010 a military junta led by Salou Djibo deposed then-president Mamadou Tandja and suspended the constitution and the cabinet. Approved by referendum in October 2010, the new constitution gave the army until April 6, 2011 to restore civilian rule, which it did, and on April 7, 2011, elected president Mahamadou Issoufou began his term (BBC News, 2010; IFES, 2010; VOANews, 2011a, 2011b). Before handing over leadership, the transitional government enacted the countryʹs first specific law to address human trafficking in December 2010, Order No. 2010-86. The comprehensive anti-trafficking law prohibits all forms of trafficking, including slavery and practices...

    • CHAPTER 15 China
      (pp. 249-268)

      Almost every known form of human trafficking can be found in China. Foreign persons and Chinese nationals are trafficked to and within China for commercial sexual exploitation. Chinese citizens are also trafficked abroad for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. But the most prevalent form of trafficking involves the forced labor of Chinese men, women, and children within the nation. Forced labor occurs even in government-run programs that target school-age children and in facilities such as prisons and compulsory rehabilitation centers.

      James Farrer, former director of the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University in Tokyo, stated that it is...


    • [PART VIII Introduction]
      (pp. 269-270)

      One of the most horrifying forms of human trafficking occurs in the name of traditional medicine. Muti murder (muti is the word commonly used for traditional medicine in South Africa) involves abducting people, killing them, and harvesting their body parts for use in ritual or cult practices. Believers in these rituals hold that the use of human body parts is more potent than other muti and can bring about wealth, luck, and fertility. Identified victims in South Africa include babies and toddlers, young boys and girls, and adults; the victims are found missing body parts such as heads, hearts, kidneys,...

    • CHAPTER 16 South Africa
      (pp. 271-294)

      As is the case with all nations, human trafficking in South Africa cannot be properly evaluated in isolation from its specific culture, economy, and laws. Because South Africa has four times the GDP of its neighbors, it is an attractive destination for both migrants and traffickers. Insufficient control over the nationʹs vast borders, lack of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, and the demand for body parts used in traditional healing also contribute to South Africaʹs unique trafficking scenario. Although South Africa is primarily a destination for human trafficking, it also serves as a transit nation, and its citizens are also trafficked...


    • [PART IX Introduction]
      (pp. 295-298)

      Throughout the world the severity of the crime of human trafficking is often undermined by a lack of government responsiveness to the issue—a lack of enforcement and minimal investigations. This pattern is exacerbated by the hard-to-prove trafficking criterion, which results in prosecutorsʹ charging defendants with less directly related and less severe offenses that result in minimal or suspended sentences.

      In Australia the number of criminal prosecutions and convictions remains low, and the average sentence is 7 years and 10 months. One hurdle that prosecutors face is a result of the anti-trafficking law itself, which exists in two discrete divisions,...

    • CHAPTER 17 Australia
      (pp. 299-314)

      Australiaʹs Pacific Solution of 2001–2007 is no longer in existence, but it is important to mention the measures the nation has taken to fulfill its immigration agenda. John Pace, Amnesty International delegate, said Australiaʹs means of dealing with illegal immigrants during this time aided in the smuggling of human persons. ʺThe policy has clearly failed to stop desperate asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia, and the people smuggling rings have not been broken,ʺ said Pace in an Amnesty International press release. ʺWhile the government has been creating a ʹfortress Australia,ʹ hundreds of men, women and children fleeing persecution and attempting...

    • CHAPTER 18 United Kingdom
      (pp. 315-329)

      The United Kingdom prohibits all forms of trafficking under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act, and the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act. Authorities have taken significant measures to identify and provide care to women who are trafficked for sexual exploitation and have launched aggressive law-enforcement efforts against trafficking. Despite these efforts, ill treatment and deportation of trafficking victims is still a problem.

      Persons from Africa, Asia, and eastern Europe are subjected to forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation in the United Kingdom. Women and children are trafficked to the United Kingdom for sexual exploitation through...

    • CHAPTER 19 Chile
      (pp. 330-339)

      Even though slavery was abolished in 1823, making Chile one of the first nations in South America to take this step, the nation had no specific criminal offense of trafficking in persons until March 2011. Prior to the 2011 anti-trafficking legislation, Chile criminalized only international trafficking for sexual exploitation and sex crimes against children (UNESCO, 2004; UNODC, 2009). The Penal Code did not criminalize forced labor of children or adults, nor did it criminalize internal sex trafficking of adults. The new comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation was originally proposed in 2002 and defines and distinguishes the criminal offenses of human trafficking and...

    • CHAPTER 20 Germany
      (pp. 340-350)

      The number of human trafficking investigations in Germany has significantly risen since 2005, the year the anti-trafficking laws were added to the Penal Code. Jorg Ziercke, the chief commissioner of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt; BKA), says the number of investigations rose from 317 in 2005 to 534 in 2009. ʺThis means an increase of 70 percent over five years and 11 percent last year alone,ʺ Ziercke said. ʺWe attach great importance to this form of criminal activity because the human dignity of the victims is violatedʺ (Press TV, 2010). While the rise in human trafficking investigations could reflect...


    • [PART X Introduction]
      (pp. 351-352)

      Unmonitored or undermonitored borders are a chronic challenge to the deterrence of human trafficking. They provide ideal opportunities to smugglers and traffickers. In most cases this lack of coverage is a result of a nationʹs inability to manage its borders effectively; but in some cases nations create transparent borders that result in similar problems.

      This is the case in Poland, which was once primarily a source nation but is now also a transit and destination country for trafficking. Poland joined the European Union (EU) in May 2004 and became a signatory to the Schengen Agreement in 2007. Experts believe that...

    • CHAPTER 21 Poland
      (pp. 353-370)

      The magnitude of human trafficking in Poland has grown since the nation joined the European Union in May 2004 and became a signatory member of the Schengen Agreement in 2007 (OHCHR, 2009a, 2009b). Poland is part of the easternmost border of the Schengen Area and, consequently, is an entry point into the area for illicit activities, including human trafficking. The 25 member nations of the Schengen Area enjoy enhanced police and judicial cooperation, which promotes more efficient extradition and transfer of jurisdiction in criminal prosecutions. Signatories also benefit from the Schengen Information System, a governmental database—intended to improve law...


    • CHAPTER 22 Mexico
      (pp. 373-392)

      In November 2007 Mexico passed a federal anti-trafficking law called the Law to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons. Additionally, Mexico City (the Federal District) and all 31 states have criminal codes that include trafficking in persons as a crime. The Federal District and the state of Chiapas have separate legislation that criminalizes trafficking and mandates social assistance for victims (ABA, 2009; U.S. Department of State, 2012).¹ Under federal law, acts of human trafficking include promotion, solicitation, offering, delivery, transfer, receipt, obtaining, and facilitation. The means included under the law are physical violence, moral violence, deception, and abuse of power....


    • [PART XII Introduction]
      (pp. 393-394)

      When rapid economic growth moves nations such as Russia and Brazil out of decades of comparative poverty, the inevitable dislocations change the patterns of human trafficking there. As a nation experiences economic development it becomes attractive to migrant workers from other nations and also draws nationals from poorer sections to wealthier ones. By 2020 Russia and Brazil, along with China and India, are expected to be among the worldʹs six largest economies.

      As rapid growth in the Russian economy brings constant increases in the cost of living, the average Russian struggles ever harder to make ends meet. The poverty rate...

    • CHAPTER 23 Russia
      (pp. 395-412)

      The depiction of young Russian women as sex slaves is sensationalized in movies and the media. A decade ago this image was not necessarily false, but recently the number of Russian citizens trafficked abroad appears to have significantly declined. One reason is probably the nationʹs economic resilience. Like other nations, Russia was adversely affected by the 1998 and 2008 global economic crises. Yet it maintained consistent economic growth after each crisis, averaging 7 percent economic growth since 1998, 4.1 percent growth in 2010, and 4.8 percent GDP expansion in the third quarter of 2011 over the same quarter in 2010....

    • CHAPTER 24 Brazil
      (pp. 413-426)

      Governments and environmentalists worldwide have been desperate to find an alternative renewable energy source that could alleviate dependence on crude oil and create a much-needed break for the environment. At the forefront of the biofuel movement stands Brazil with sugarcane ethanol. Some experts call it clean energy; others argue that it is not sustainable.¹ Some experts assert that it could actually have an adverse impact on the environment—warning of potential deforestation and other ecological impacts of making room for biofuel plantations (Fargione et al., 2008). This debate is certain to continue, but there is one critical issue that is...

  16. Conclusion
    (pp. 427-440)

    In examining the human trafficking scenarios in 24 nations, we discovered that each country has its own environmental, cultural, and geopolitical factors that create a unique set of anti-trafficking issues and obstacles. For instance, in India you cannot address the issue of trafficking without also discussing the caste system, an ancient tradition that places countless people into slavery and indentured servitude at birth. Under what is called the silent apartheid, members of the Scheduled and Backward Castes are born into servitude and forced to work in brick kilns, embroidery factories, and rice mills as well as perform as domestic servants...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 441-448)
  18. References
    (pp. 449-522)
  19. Index
    (pp. 523-550)