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Modern Day Slavery

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Modern Day Slavery

Natalie Hewitt

University of Central Florida

I. Introduction

Richard Holbrooke, the UN Ambassador during the last year of the Clinton Administration, endorsed the Palermo Protocol, which was later ratified in the US as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Human trafficking, otherwise known as modern day slavery, has been classified into two forms per the TVPA, Sexual and Labor. The TVPA was the first real legislation to combat an all-encompassing crisis and give authorities the guidelines to identify those who were being trafficked and to incarcerate the traffickers. Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world. In the United States, various institutions and groups have made efforts on multiple fronts to combat the human trafficking problem. Multiply governmental organizations, victim rights agencies and social service providers have responded with an array of prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies to address this crime.

II. Problem

Sexual trafficking is defined per the TVPA as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision and/or attainment a person for commercial sex act by the use of force, fraud or coercion. With respect to persons under 18 it is automatically considered forced even if they are consenting in such behaviors. Labor trafficking has been described harboring, transportation and recruitment of persons for labor services such as peonage, debt bondage, involuntary servitude or slavery through coercion and persecution.

These people, often deceived by recruiters, believe that this path will bring them and their loved ones a better life. Traffickers, some of whom are connected to organized crime, actively recruit many victims living in poverty. Many destination countries, such as the United States, have a rising demand for sexual exploitation and cheap labor at any age.

Victims of human trafficking are people forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking is one of the most lucrative sectors regarding the illegal trade in people, and involves any form of sexual exploitation in prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. Labor trafficking is widespread in variety of situations that encompass domestic servitude and small-scale labor operations, to large-scale operations such as farms, sweatshops, and major multinational corporations.

III. Prior Treatment

Governments around the world are only beginning to address the problem. Prior to the TVPA, US legislation pertaining to human trafficking was based on amendment 13 of the constitution that prohibited involuntary servitude. The TVPA broadens the definition of involuntary servitude as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Kozminski. (1988). In this case, the court held that violations of involuntary servitude must include threats or acts of physical or legal coercion. In the TVPA, Congress extended the definition of involuntary servitude to include non-violent coercion.

IV. Policy Origins

Current US policy on human trafficking is based on the UN Palermo Protocol, which was adopted in 2000. The USA has ratified a modified version of the Palermo Protocol duly named Trafficking



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