ESSAY 2: PEACE AND JUSTICE STUDIES
LEDERACH’S THEORY OF CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION PERTAINING TO
CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING
The Living Dead
“Eritrean youths are being kidnapped by senior military officers, smuggled into Sudan and held to ransom, according to a report by Dutch and Swedish researchers. The captives are threatened with being sold to people traffickers if they do not raise tens of thousands of dollars. Some are freed if they raise the ransoms. Others are sold on to Bedouin traffickers in Sinai, even after money has changed hands, only to be tortured to extract further cash from their relatives.” (The Guardian.com)
Over one million children every year are being forced to perform oral, anal, vaginal sex. These children are fondled or made to fondle another child’s or an adult’s genitalia, are directed to pose nude, take part in sex acts by themselves or with other children, and/or adults in photographs and film. A significant portion of the time, children take part in these acts anywhere from one, to twenty times or more every single day.
“Under U.S. law, human trafficking is defined as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age,” or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery” (humanrightsfirst.org).
Significant steps have been taken by anti-trafficking advocates, federal and local law enforcement, human rights defenders, as well as people around the world to combat the epidemic of child sexual slavery for profit.
The Immediate Situation: Supply and Demand
“We have a big picture, but it is impressionistic and lacks depth. We fear the problem is getting worse, but we can not prove it for lack of data, and many governments are obstructing”, he admitted. The head of UNODC therefore called on governments and social scientists to improve information-gathering and -sharing on human trafficking. “If we do not overcome this knowledge crisis we will be fighting the problem blindfolded”, he warned. (unods.org)
Child sex trafficking (…victims have diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, varied levels of education, and may be documented or undocumented” (polarisproject.com) . Most times, they have a history of abuse, addiction, and are runaways. Sex traffickers see these wounds as a way to fill the void of the love these children are lacking through manipulation and violence to create and control sex slaves for profit. Much like Battered Women Syndrome, the ties to the trafficker combine what the child views as love and caring, with violence. Kidnapping, smuggling, and force are also used, yet many instances are through coercion, the need for money or drugs, gang affiliation, or an idealization of that lifestyle.
Asking Prices for Crimes Related to Human Trafficking
- High Class Escort – Florida, United States$80,000 a month
- Human Smugglers – Indonesia$1 Million per boat to Australia
- Human Smugglers – South Korea$2,500
- Human Trafficker – Canada$79,380 per year
- Human Trafficker – New York City$100,000 per year
- Human Trafficker – United Kingdom$77,000 per year
- Human Trafficker – Vietnam$470 to move victim to China
- Human Trafficking Broker – Bangladesh$1,638 per girl
- Human Trafficking Broker – Ireland$394 per child
- Kidnappers – Virtual Kidnappers$1,000 to $3,000 per ransom
- Legal Brothel Owner40 to 50 percent of sex workers earnings
Patterns: Why is Child Sex Trafficking Getting Worse?
“According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the second fastest growing crime in the country and is on the rise in cities and towns in all 50 states…” (spokesman.com)
From 2014 to 2016 instances of sex trafficking increased by over 2,500. There were a total of 18,158 victims, “2,387 of the reported victims were minor.” (Sott.net)
Only a small percentage of violators of child sex trafficking are arrested and seldom are they prosecuted. The selling of children cost some traffickers life sentences, and for a few, the death penalty. The traffickers smuggle children under the shroud of secrecy and violence while technology makes it even easier to remain anonymous beneath the watchful eyes of the authorities and concerned citizens.
Poverty is named as one of the most significant factors that contributes to the cycle of sex trafficking. Where there are no other means of employment, sex trafficking seems like the only option for not only the victims, but for the families who, in financial desperation, sometimes sell their own children. In some cases, this form of employment is multi-generational.
With the way technology progresses, it is not surprising that criminals would use new and improved ways to encrypt their communications when selling children for sex. The buyers also have a better chance of remaining unidentifiable when viewing child pornography.
“…suspects in question are accused of paying to see children being abused online, in what the NCA [National Crime Agency] describes as “significant and emerging threat,” particularly in the developing world. Payments totaled more than £37,500 ($61,268)…and greater internet connectivity have made it easier to exploit children for cash.” (Theverge.com)
Conflict Transformation: Long and Short-Term Changes in Sex Trafficking
“Trafficking victims also commonly blame themselves for what has happened to them, which can stop them from seeking help.” (unodc.com)
The United Nations is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases worldwide. “Prevention, protection, prosecution” (unodc.org) are the fundamentals of their strategy on these offenses. The “criminalization” of this form of exploitation is crucial to not only removing traffickers from society, but keeping them incarcerated for decades.
Many survivors of trafficking do not have the resources to thrive independently. Donations help to, not only, meet their immediate survival needs, but ensure they get started on a new path toward better job and educational options. Over one and a half million dollars has been collected by the United Nations for survivors of modern-day slavery.
Laws and policies must continue to be applied to eradicate the elusive methods and advancements of child sex trafficking. Perpetrators should face lifetime, high-security maximum control prison sentences while victims should receive resources to help them recover from experiencing multiple rapes and beatings on a daily basis. Survivors should also be offered mental health and/or addiction services, as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the most common ailment of sex trafficking victims. Shelters and safe houses should be open to these victims for as long as it takes them to heal.
Anti-Trafficking Laws Since 2000:
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (TVPRA of 2003)
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (TVPRA of 2005)
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA of 2008) The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 (TVPRA 2013),
RICO was created to be a tool for the federal government to more effectively prosecute members of organized crime for racketeering offenses. Federal human trafficking offenses are included as racketeering offenses, thus giving law enforcement a powerful tool when prosecuting traffickers.
The Mann Act of 1910, (18 U.S.C. § 2421-2424
The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today(PROTECT) Act of 2003,
One of the leading anti-slavery organizations in the country, Polaris is an organization where victims and witnesses of modern-day slavery can report crime. Identifying signs of grooming and trafficking in victims and perpetrators, access to legal, housing, psychological services, and survivor stories are also available.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES REPORTED BY STATE (2017)
Other modern-day abolitionists such as Kevin Bales, author of Disposable People, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Genocide, and the Secret to Saving the World, and The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today, has implemented the use of satellite imagery for locating evidence of sex trafficking used to prosecute offenders. “Improved data collection techniques are making it easier to track progress in the global drive to end slavery, and better measure the crime in rich countries where slaves are often hidden, thinly spread and harder to monitor, he said.” (Reuters.com)
A Victim-Centered Approach
Victims of violence often report feeling as if they will never be able to feel love again. That they are forever broken, they are damaged goods, just dead inside. I feel like I don’t belong to this world. In the victim-centered approach to child sex trafficking, the child, must be given the means to grow back into the child they were before the rapes and the violence began. Trusted professionals in the medical and mental health fields must restore a sense of humanity to the small person who was treated like they were a product.
The monsters who sell children should be removed from society long-term. While the journey of a survivor of child sex trafficking may be more time and money consuming, we owe it to that child to, not only, atone for our failure to protect them, but insist that they are able to reach whichever potential promotes growth, healing and the ability to love and be loved without fear of harm.
Even after they escape the clutches of the people traffickers, the Eritreans are not safe. In 2012 the Israeli government adopted an anti-infiltration law – using a term normally reserved for Palestinians attempting to enter the country. This definition has been extended to African migrants, and since July 2012 refugees and asylum seekers entering Israel have been detained. A new fence has been built along the Israel-Egyptian border in Sinai, and groups of Eritrean survivors of torture huddle against it, unable to proceed.