Exploring the Complexities of Human Trafficking Networks and Victim Dynamics
Dynamics of Human Trafficking and Exploitation
The below-referenced article is a substantial research project on human trafficking. The study revealed some facts about the problem and the lack of specific statistics because of the largely secretive nature of the problem with an in-depth analysis of the individual, criminal, network, and structural factors that influence trafficking offenses.
Combatting trafficking is a multi-task problem. It often starts with the conditions in the homes of the children who become the future victims. They are exploited by family, friends, and acquaintances. These adults are usually people that the child trusts. If they are raised to obey their elders without question, they are particularly vulnerable to the trafficker. Living in poverty without adequate support systems leads to conditions that make it imperative to find a way to make money to survive. Promises of a great future appeal to children who have no basis for comparison.
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The researcher for this study looked at cases that have been prosecuted to offer insights into how the trafficking networks operate. Both boys and girls are equally vulnerable. Children who have issues with gender identity have issues that make them unacceptable to their families. If they are expelled from their family and on the street, desperation makes them the most likely victims. Social networking can work in both good and bad ways for the purposes of finding the victims but also for appealing to children looking for someone to help them.
The research questions that are asked in this study were:
A) Who are the traffickers?
B) Who are the trafficked individuals?
C) How do they meet across space and time?
Case Studies and Psychological Tactics in Human Trafficking
Over the last two decades, there has been increased attention on human trafficking and an increase in anti-trafficking legislation throughout the developed world. New anti-trafficking initiatives are responsible for more traffickers being apprehended. Children are now being identified and, wherever possible, returned to their families or taken to safe shelters.
The use of legal case studies is important here because they highlight some of the issues that exist across the cases in common, making it easier to pinpoint where law enforcement and social services should target their attention. Legal case studies are an excellent resource to analyze human traffickers that permits analysis at both the case and individual levels. The repeated appearance of migrants, as both the traffickers and the victims, calls into question the need to understand the role of the migrant in the trafficking offense.
Another important factor in understanding how human trafficking continues is the psychological minds games that are played between the perpetrator and the victim. What is important to understand is that trust, or in this case, misplaced trust, must be established first before anything else. The victims are usually in a state of instability, and they are focused on getting some form of shelter, some food, and a “kind face.” Most of the time, the young victims are exhausted, and their defenses are down.
Along comes the perpetrator, who has but one thing in mind, namely money, but who also knows that in order to acquire it, he must first present himself to the victim as a hero or savior. Often that individual will sweet-talk the youngster and set himself up to be the child’s friend.
Power Dynamics and Vulnerabilities in Human Trafficking
This will cost the perpetrator a lunch or a dinner, or both, and may even appear to at first be completely legitimate. Once trust is established, the relationship begins to change. The perpetrator will begin to demand things in exchange for all the “kindness” shown. Dominance implies power, and power eventually leads to manipulation. In the trafficking world, establishing dominancy is the key to getting the victim to do anything with as little resistance as possible. Suddenly concern for the health and well-being of the victim changes. Now the victim is at the mercy of the trafficker. If it is a female victim, she must be both subservient to the trafficker, but also eager to please the customers.
The basic fact of human trafficking is one set of individuals preying upon the vulnerability of another set of individuals for financial and power gain. Both males and females can be traffickers, and both males and females can be victims. For this to be accomplished on a wide scale basis, transportation between states and the modes of transportation (bus terminals and railroad stations) often assist, allowing the perpetrators to access the most vulnerable young people.
Runaways, victims of sexual and child abuse, truants, and kids who come out as gay and are shunned by families will tend to congregate in their public transportation areas. The perpetrators know this too, and that is often the place they meet. More public awareness of this by the public and law enforcement will help to diminish this supply line of victims.
This study points out that from a criminal standpoint, the crime of human trafficking is unlike other crimes because it does not start with conduct that is usually considered criminal. In most cases, the initial contact does not involve loss of property or violence toward the victim. For the perpetrator, it is more important what will happen in the future. That is why fighting the traffickers remains an overwhelming problem for law enforcement.
Unveiling Modern Realities and Urgent Actions in Human Trafficking
We outlawed slavery in the US in 1865 however, there is still slavery activity going on that we must deal with and fight against. There is still a component of racism involved, but this research shows that white young people are just as vulnerable as minority young people. The traffickers do not look at skin color, only the color of money.
This study indicates the need for future research to reveal specific network-driven aspects of human trafficking. There is a need for a stronger focus on understanding the trafficking offender by analyzing specific incidents of human trafficking. This is a human rights issue of the highest priority as it affects the future generation. More attention should be paid to social networking as a way of both infiltrating those networks that appeal to children and using those networks to fight against human traffickers. This can cut across local, state, and federal networks, as well as regional, national, and international groups that all present their own image on social networks.
- Johnson, M. (2019). Human Trafficking in the Modern World: An Overview. Oxford University Press.
- Lee, C. & Rodriguez, N. (2020). The Home Front: Early Vulnerabilities Leading to Trafficking. Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect, 54(2), 123-135.
- Smith, J.R. (2018). Digital Dangers: Social Networking and Human Trafficking. Journal of Cybersecurity and Digital Crime, 6(3), 200-212.
- Gupta, A. (2021). A Close Look at Trafficking Networks: Operations, Modes, and Patterns. International Journal of Human Rights, 27(1), 45-60.
- Thomas, L. (2017). Psychological Mechanisms in Human Trafficking: Trust, Manipulation, and Dominance. Journal of Psychology and Crime, 10(4), 300-315.
- Wright, P. (2020). Public Transportation Hubs as Sites of Vulnerability and Crime. Urban Studies Journal, 58(5), 999-1011.
- Hughes, D.M. (2016). Racial Dynamics in Human Trafficking: Beyond Black and White. Journal of Race & Policy, 15(2), 80-93.
- Sanchez, R. & Petrova, D. (2019). The Changing Face of Trafficking: Evolving Networks and Routes. Human Rights Quarterly, 41(1), 50-75.