Human trafficking is one of the global criminal concerns in the contemporary times besides terrorism and drug trafficking. This is because it occurs across national boundaries and has implications on many aspects of law and policies As such; the international community has a set of laws and regulations that guide human trafficking policies across the world. In accordance with the international community requirements, human trafficking is also referred to as trafficking in Persons (TIP). The prevalence of human trafficking across the world as at 2006 was reported to be 700,000 women and children. The industry is reported to be a multi-billion dollar industry, having generated approximately $9.5 billion dollars in 2006 alone (Siskin & Wyler, 2013). From the report of Siskin and Wyler, human trafficking is described as a global phenomenon that can only be addressed through collaboration.
Human trafficking is defined as any act that includes recruitment, transfer, transportation, harboring or receipt of people through methods that take advantage of their vulnerability with the objective of exploiting them. This can be done through coercion, deceit, fraud or abduction. The main reasons for human trafficking in the present times are for sex exploitation and for forced labor. The labor herein may involve involuntary servitude, slavery, debt bondage or even child labor. There are varied policies that have been enacted by different countries for the elimination of human trafficking. Each country has to follow the stipulations of the international community in order to put in place an effective policy for eliminating human trafficking. This study is aimed at discovering the human trafficking policies in three different countries. The focus of the report is on the United States of America, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Each of these countries has different policies with regards to human trafficking and also faces different challenges in the enactment of human trafficking policies. The report will be separated into sections by the country in the order in which the countries are named and will give a conclusion comparing the policy implications across the three countries.
Human Trafficking in the United States
The U.S has the most explicit policies with regards to the prevention of human trafficking. In a report by Siskin and Wyler (2013), human trafficking is said to be high in the U.S. According to the report, 58% of all the trafficking that takes place in the U.S is for the purpose of sex exploitation. Another 36% is for labor purposes. While these reports are said to be true according to law enforcement reports, it is also predicted that the reports may be indicative of biased reporting in that people are more likely to report sex exploitation rather than labor exploitation. It is therefore clear that the actual figures of human trafficking cases may be higher. Human trafficking occurs in all the states of the U.S and is recognized as a source, transit and destination for human trafficking victims. As a source, human trafficking victims are mainly non citizens and/ or citizens of the U.S. The non-citizens are however most vulnerable to human trafficking. As a transit point, human trafficking victims from other countries pass through the U.S en route to other places. This is due to the liberal immigration laws in the U.S and the consideration of the U.S as a reputable source of immigrants for other countries. For instance, countries in the European Union are more likely to accept immigrants from the U.S than from other countries. 27% of all the TIP victims are reported to be children (Siskin & Wyler, 2013). Despite the prevalence of human trafficking in the country, the country has made significant efforts to eliminate the vice through dependence on international community objectives on TIP.
The U.S human trafficking policies are very stringent and in accordance with the international community stipulations. However, there are still claims that the country has limitations in the enforcement of the human trafficking policies. The limitations result in challenges in enforcement. There have been reported discrepancies between the reported magnitude of the phenomenon and the convictions that have been made according to the law. However, the country has continued to fight the vice of human trafficking through the enforcement of the policies made for this purpose. The country stipulated an act i.e. the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 which gives the directions on what the country can tolerate with regards to human trafficking (Siskin & Wyler, 2013).
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act provides that the victims of Trade in Humans can report from foreign countries. This implies that those individuals that are brought into the country or who pass through the country can report any cases of human trafficking to the authorities. The act allows the law enforcement agencies to respond to cases of human trafficking whether they involve foreigners or citizens of the country. Additionally, the act mandates the law enforcement agencies to act in response to other countries’ requests for assistance in dealing with human trafficking cases. Additionally, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act also a list of products that are presumed to have been developed through the use of forced labor. With regards to this, forced labor is described that any form of labor provided through forced servitude, slavery, debt bondage and/ or child labor. The law enforcement agencies follow up on such suspected cases to establish the certainty of the claims then bans the products from sale in the U.S market. The country may also bar the citizens from using products made based on such inhumane labor sources.
Apart from the individual products, the U.S foreign policy also scrutinizes countries based on a tier system of judgment. The protection act provides that the country shall classify other countries as Tier 1, tier 2 or tier 3 depending on the level of compliance with the international goals for human trafficking elimination. Those countries at the lowest level of compliance are those at tier 3 (Siskin & Wyler, 2013). They are the ones whose level of compliance is significantly low and which make the minimum efforts at complying with those international goals. The U.S law policy on human trafficking provides that such countries should not receive foreign aid from the U.S government. Apart from this, the countries which have been placed at tier three are liable for not advancing the goals of the U.S and have limitations on trade preferences. The U.S cannot form trade agreements with such countries and cannot conduct partnerships with such countries despite being on the same trade blocs. The U.S policy and tier system is the most recognized across the world and is thus used as the measure of compliance with human trafficking laws across the world through the international community goals.
Human Trafficking policies in Germany
Human trafficking in Germany occurs as part of the crime prevalence in the entire European Union. Among the more than 23,600 cases of TIP reported, two thirds are cases of sexual exploitation trafficking cases (Follmar- Otto & Rabe, 2009). In Germany, the legalization of prostitution has played an essential role in the advancement of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. While the country has strong and functional human trafficking policies, the implementation of such policies has been difficult due to the prevalence of prostitution in the country. In most cases, Germany acts as a transit and destination location for human trafficking for both labor and sexual exploitation purposes. The victims trafficked to Germany are mainly from Africa (majorly Nigeria), parts of Europe and the Western hemisphere. However, one quarter of the victims of sex trafficking are German nationals trafficked within their country. Of all the victims, 12 percent were underage (younger than 18 years of age) and most of those who were sexually exploited come from brothels and bars (Follmar- Otto & Rabe, 2009). Incidences of forced labor however occurred in restaurants, domestic work, agriculture and catering sectors.
From a report created by Martin (2016), human trafficking has been prolific in Germany over the past few years due to the legalization of prostitution in the country. According to martin, most cases reported about sexual trafficking in the country originated from inclusion through deceit and threats. Most women trafficked from Romania, Moldavia and other parts of Germany were lured with promises of jobs in bakeries and other places. Once within a new country, everything changed and the victims could no longer chase their dreams. Sexual trafficking has grown too much in the country based on reports given over the years. From actions such as trafficking for world cup to other practices, human trafficking can be said to be prolific in the country (Martin, 2016). Despite the existence of some centers for women who have been exploited, the country’s law enforcement agencies still face significant challenges in curbing TIP within the boundaries of the country. For instance, some women may have situations and outlooks that indicate their victimization. However, it is difficult for law enforcement agencies to take action on such cases due to the lack of evidence. Such women often find it difficult to report or even to provide evidence for their claims. In addition to this, reporting may imply that the sole source of evidence is the woman’s words, something that may not be acceptable by law (Martin, 2016).
The human trafficking policy in Germany is stringent. However, the U.S Department of State Bureau of Democracy reported that in 2005 the key challenge to implementing these policies is the inaccessibility of brothels by the law enforcement agencies (2006). It is difficult to obtain evidence of human trafficking unless one visits those locations suspected to be harboring trafficked persons. At the same time, the legality of prostitution gives the brothels the mandate to carry out commercial sex businesses. It is thus difficult to ascertain whether the participants do so voluntarily or they are forced to. To confirm this, the law enforcers need entry to such places yet they cannot gain it due to lack of legal grounds for the same. As such, they are aware that sexual trafficking occurs yet have no means of confirming or executing the perpetrators. Some of the criminals who deal in human trafficking are members of organized gangs that operate across countries. Others also threaten their victims with death and other adverse effects should they report to the authorities (Martin, 2016).
Human Trafficking in Saudi Arabia
The condition of human trafficking in Saudi Arabia is different from that in the U.S as well as in Germany. According to a report by UNODC, the Saudi Arabian context of human trafficking is one of the least acceptable across the world (2009). The country has no implemented laws on the prevention of human trafficking. While this raises concern about the status of human trafficking in the country, it may be attributed to the lack of a functional constitution in Saudi Arabia. The country relies on the Sharia law through the Basic law of governance which provides for various aspects of acceptable moral behavior in the country (Al-Turaiqi, 2008). As such, the prevalence of human trafficking in Saudi Arabia is high and the government appears to be indifferent to the status of human trafficking therein. As such, the level of compliance with the U.S and the international goals on human trafficking is low. In 2005, Saudi Arabia was classified as a tier 3 country under the U.S Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000). Similarly, the country gained the same status repeatedly in 2007 and 2008. The status of the country has remained the same over the years, giving the perception that the problem of human trafficking in the country is not taken seriously (UNODC, 2009).
Following repeated listing as a tier three country, the U.S recommended that Saudi Arabian government should put in place policies for the elimination of human trafficking within the nation’s borders. To do this effectively, the country leadership was advised to apply the Islamic laws that offer guidance against the mistreatment of women, laborers and children. According to the U.S government, most of the trafficking situations reported involve children and women who are trafficked are acquired mainly for labor purposes. Saudi Arabia acts as destination location, receiving labor trafficking victims from eastern Asia as well as East Africa. Most of the children who come into the country room Yemen and from Africa are recruited into forceful begging in order to gain income for their masters. The laws of Saudi Arabia do not provide for the prevention of human trafficking hence it is difficult to control the vice.
Saudi Arabian government does not make any significant efforts to eliminate human trafficking. In the previous times i.e. before 2005, the country was categorized as a tier two country by the U.S. However, the increasing need for labor and demand for cheap labor from other countries led to an increase in TIP issues in the country and subsequent fall to tier 3. The citizens of Saudi Arabia who acquire laborers from other countries through human trafficking do so to let the people work in sectors such as domestic working, catering and others (UNODC). They prefer foreign personalities due to the low costs associated with such people. Additionally, the TIP victims in the country undergo several human rights violation issues which make it difficult for them to live a healthy and productive lifestyle. At the same time, they cannot report what they are going through to the authorities since those who report are no longer allowed to work hence lack ways of supporting their families (UNODC).
The laws of Saudi Arabia have no provisions criminalizing human trafficking offenses. As such, most of the prosecutions done on human trafficking cases are performed through the provisions of Sharia laws. Since the laws themselves are limited and restrictive in many ways, foreign nationals who experience difficulties as TIP victims often opt to leave the country instead of filing charges against their employers. To make matters worse UNODC reports that that those who report human trafficking cases are often faced by several procedural hurdles which make them give up along the way. Those who come into the country through human trafficking are often made to do so through promises of good jobs in the hospitality industry and in the education sector only to be faced with the domestic sector works in a new country. According to the UNODC, the male workers have the greatest challenges as there are neither laws protecting them nor shelters for the TIP victims. On the other hand, women have only 3 shelters across the country to accommodate all the victims of TIP.
Human trafficking has grown to be a global phenomenon in the present times. Despite the presence of international laws that are supposed to guide the formulation of policies to eliminate human trafficking across countries, each nation is to make its own policies and subsequently eliminate human trafficking. For instance, both Germany and the U.S have well articulated laws for addressing the issue of human trafficking. The governments of both countries therefore make efforts to prevent human trafficking in their countries despite facing different challenges. In the U.S, the key challenge is in the limitation of laws, a factor which is continuously being addressed through implementation of the TVPA of 2000. In Germany, the key challenge is the legalization of prostitution which has led to increased instances of sexual trafficking and decreased ability to address the issue by the law enforcement agencies. Saudi Arabia on the other hand has no law criminalizing human trafficking offenses and does not offer protection for the victims. The three countries are similar in that each of them has reported cases of human trafficking.
Al-Turaiqi, A. (2008). The Political System of Saudi Arabia. Galnaa Publications.
Follmar- Otto, P. and Rabe, H. (2009). Human Trafficking in Germany: Strengthening Victims Human Rights. German Institute for Human Rights.
Martin, P. (2016). Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery- Germany. ]
Siskin, A. and Wyler, L. (2013). Trafficking in Persons: U.S Policies and Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service.
UNODC (2009). Combating Trafficking in Persons in Accordance with the Principles of Islamic Law. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
U.S Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human rights and Labor. (2006, March 8). 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.