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Political Economy of Human Trafficking

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Vi Yeak

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of Political Economy of Human Trafficking

The Political Economy of Human Trafficking

Erin Katie Yao Vi

The Numbers
Social Dimensions
The social dimensions of human trafficking refers to the social conditions under which people live before, during and after becoming victims of human trafficking. The concept also encompasses the social factors in the countries of origin and destination that enable and foster human trafficking.
Gender Analysis
United States
Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders—though additional numbers of women and girls are trafficked within countries.
Female disadvantage in the job market
2000: Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
2003: UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime of 2000 and two additional protocols: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air
2005: Agreement on Cooperation of CIS Member States in Combat against Trafficking in Human Beings, Human Organs and Tissues.
2010: Agreement on Cooperation of the Ministries of Interior (Police) of the CIS Member States in combat against human trafficking

In September 2005 Belarus put forward an idea of forging a Global Partnership against Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in the 21st century.
A clear call for an action plan was made at the 2007 International Conference "Trafficking in Women and Girls: Meeting the Challenge Together", which was organised by Belarus and some other countries and organizations.
Measures to combat human trafficking in Belarus are developed and carried out in accordance with the State Program of Counteraction to Human Trafficking, Illegal Migration and Associated Illegal Actions for 2011-2013
Initiated by Belarus, the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking was established in the United Nations.

Presentation Outline
Social dimensions
Gender analysis
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs
Article 3(a) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, UNODC
Trafficking vs. smuggling?
The Big Picture
Trafficking and migration

"Fishing in the stream of migration"

-transnational criminal syndicates found an abundant supply of a new commodity to be traded for profit: human labour.

Securitisation of human trafficking
Three types of borders:

Territorial borders: inclusion or exclusion from the state

Organisational borders: labour market, citizenship

Conceptual borders: who ‘belongs’ to a political community

U.S. as the 'global sheriff' of human trafficking
Causes of human trafficking

Countries of origin:
• Poverty, especially among women
• Lack of political, social, economic stability
• Domestic violence and disintegration of the family structure

Countries of destination:
• Demand for cheap labour
• Demand for sex workers

Universal factors:
• Obstacles to legal migration channels
• High profit potential
• Sophistication of criminal networks
• Lack of effective anti-trafficking legislation
• Global economic policies that exclude marginalised people
• Corruption in countries of origin, of transit and of destination

Categories of Countries Involved
Countries of origin
Countries of transit
Recipient countries
$ 32 billion --> $13,000/individual
$15.5 billion goes to industrialised countries
800,000 are trafficked each year
161 countries involved
3rd biggest illegal enterprise
The Breakdown
Product = exploitative labour
Supplier = trafficker
Consumer = employer
Packaging = humans
Profit = driving motive

The Market
created by supply and demand
monopolistic competition
price control
easy to enter and exit
demand is driven by the need for exploitative labour
profit maximisation
denying rights
Supply and Demand in the Market
price trafficker will receive is based on:
characteristic of product
number of similar products available
negotiating powers of the trafficker
revenue --> increase in individuals being trafficked
The Trafficker
high profits
takes advantage of disparity
forged documents

The Employer/Consumer
maximise profit
labour is a large part of business cost
seeks cheap labour
easily discards workers
cost incurred
food and clothing
trafficked workers = relatively inexpensive
The Victim
low socio-economic position
human trafficking market --> monetary flows are interrupted
loss of agency
Role of Globalisation
Moral crusades:
Social movements that define a particular condition as an unqualified evil
Perception that they have a righteous mission to redefine normative boundaries and moral standards
Immigration control
Organised crime
State security
State sovereignty

Knowledge gaps in the scale of trafficking -
political rhetoric regarding perceived threats to welfare, the labour market, national culture and identity

The Solution
currently focused on disrupting the supply chain
snuffing out demand
Is this enough?
Market Share & Locations
56% = Asia Pacific
10.8% = industrialised countries
10% = Latin America & the Caribbean
9.2% = Middle East & Northern America
8% = Countries in transition
5.2% Sub-Saharan Africa
ease of transfer of commodities
dark side of comparative advantage
objectifying and exploitation for economic ends
globalisation has provided a means to broadcast the promise of better opportunities abroard
renders state-centered approaches obsolete
Social Problems Arising from Human Trafficking
Pursuit of a better life
People who leave poverty or social unrest in search of better opportunities are more vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking because of a lack of skills and education
Lack of Information and Social Protection
Victims of trafficking often have limited access to human rights information. This is coupled with weak enforcement of the law and labour standards often as a result of high corruption
Social Problems that Cause Human Trafficking
Economic and Industry Impacts
Shift to export-orientated approaches
Entry of MNCs into developing countries
structural adjustment policies imposed by IMF and WB
market liberalisation + austerity measures = detrimentally affects poor individuals
Armed Conflicts
During armed conflicts, women and girls face particular risk of sexual violence and trafficking. Sexual attacks on women are viewed as attacks against the whole community and a way of demoralizing or intimidating the enemy.

Victims are trafficked into war zones to fight as combatants or to work as messengers, spies, porters, cooks, and providers of sexual services.
Societal Breakdown
The detrimental impact of trafficking goes beyond individuals and also affects families, communities, and countries. Once trafficking takes root in a community, human trafficking undermines good governance, democracy and the economy of a country.
Addressing Social Issues
Modern problems such as trafficking clash with traditional mentalities because of the taboos around sex and shame

The stigma of sex trafficking leads to victims concealing their involvement

Stigmatization presents a huge obstacle in the reintegration process

Limited access to healthcare
Lack of affordability and availability of health services and poor responsiveness of these services to the complex needs of victims.

Mental health services are particularly inaccessible

Ineffective Responses
Responses to human trafficking often reflect a deep reluctance to address the socioeconomic root causes of the problem. Most responses focus on prosecuting traffickers, and to a lesser extent, protecting trafficked persons. Such approaches tend to overlook the broader socioeconomic reality that drives trafficking
Health Issues
Victims suffer emotional, psychological, and physical abuse and mistreatment and are particularly exposed to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS
Social Norms
Social or cultural practices can contribute to trafficking through the marginalisation and devaluation of particular groups
“the lives of tens of thousands of innocent women and children depend on . . . your daily efforts to rescue them from misery and servitude. You are in a fight against evil. . . . Human life is a gift of our Creator—and it should never be for sale.”
- George W. Bush
First National Conference on Human Trafficking, 2004
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