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A Stolen Life Essay

1346 words - 6 pages

There is a problem that is getting bigger. It is one that willing governments are trying to fight, but it is one that will take changes in our thinking, in our attitudes, in our hearts for anything effective to happen. It is a problem where the perpetrators are often dealt laughable sentences and victims are treated as criminals instead of as moms, sisters, sons, and daughters of families who were destroyed because of what has happened to them. The “It’s not happening to me or affecting my life” way of thinking needs to change.

Picture yourself for a moment as a young teenager. You live in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a city that law and order seem to come only to make an ...view middle of the document...

It is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons: by the threat or use of kidnapping, force, fraud, deception or coercion, or by the giving or receiving of unlawful payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, and for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor” (Talati, Ronak, 2007, p. 1). In other words, being made less than a human - an expendable commodity. When you realize that the trafficking of humans for whatever the reason has become arguably the most lucrative multi-billion dollar illegal activity in the world (Clare Seelke, 2008), you begin to understand the power of greed.

It is not just a problem for poor, third world people. According to a U. S. State Department report, of the 800,000 and 900,000 people that are believed to be trafficked across international borders each year, 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States (Miko, 2004). Their many destinations range from sweat shops, pimps, and families that are willing to buy kidnapped infants. Another problem starts where some Americans travel to developing countries for “entertainment purposes” to take advantage of those country’s weak laws on prostitution and trafficking. Fortunately, our congress passed legislation within the last several years that make Americans who sexually prey on children abroad eligible for prosecution and sentenced to as many as 30 years in prison (U.S. Department of State, 2005, p.1). The risk of being caught is low, but now as soon as they step foot on American soil they can be prosecuted for their diabolical acts to children abroad.
In many cases it is hard for authorities to get information or any type of report from trafficking victims as they tend to be treated as criminals. When police here and abroad have raided brothels whose “employees” were brought in from other countries, they were sometimes detained and punished and /or quickly deported. There have not been many steps to provide these victims with psychological support, healthcare, and access to justice (Clare Seelke, 2008). There is also a fear of what may be done to their family if these victims cooperate with authorities since most governments do not offer sufficient protection for witnesses.

It may be easy to see why the victims may not want to tell authorities about how they arrived where they were found, but it is not easy to understand how families and whole villages refuse to report the disappearances of their members. In a book review by M. Askew (1998), that targets the trade of human trafficking in Thailand he states “There is a high level of collusion between families, women, and brokers, with large numbers of villagers expressing an unwillingness to condemn the practice.” Brokers are referred to as people who...

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