Category: Law Essay

Abstract

This study examines the notions, history, and types of such burning issues in criminal justice today as slavery, human trafficking, and debt bondage. It analyzes statistics to find a link between age groups and gender and trafficking victims, forms of exploitation and victims by region, the direction between trafficking flow and the countries’ welfare.

The questions about slavery, its manifestation and practices; human trafficking and its types; as well as debt bondage and its history shape a hypothesis of this research work. Methods used during the research include analysis of secondary sources, comparing, summarizing, and drawing own conclusions. The results of this research paper demonstrate studies conducted by different scholars on the topic of slavery, its manifestations, types of human trafficking, debt bondage, and relevant solid statistics collected over the recent years.

Keywords: slavery, debt bondage, human trafficking, servitude, forced labor, sex trafficking, debt slavery.

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Nowadays, despite all measures taken to eradicate the problem of slavery and to reduce the rate of human trafficking, modern society experiences the ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. This paper examines the issue of modern slavery and debt bondage from the perspective of their history and classification and may serve as a summary of scientific sources concerning the topic. Furthermore, it investigates basic types of human trafficking with regard to its regional dispersal. Previous research has suggested that although people, governments, and police are well aware of the current situation, some further plans should be devised and public attention should be attracted to tackle the problem.

Slavery emphasizes the practice of keeping slaves, which presupposes complete ownership when one person is owned as property by another and remains under the absolute control of a master. It can be compared to the involuntary servitude which is a type of compulsory service, often required by legal punishment. As Davis (2014) points out, slaves lived like domestic animals, “ their only reason for existence was to perform labor for their white owners in exchange for care and feeding.” Moreover, slaves could be bought, sold, traded, leased, inherited, included in a dowry, gambled, or lost as debt.

Human trafficking or trafficking in persons is the illegal practice of obtaining, holding, or trading human beings in compelled service for the purpose of different forms of exploitation, most likely prostitution, forced labor, or the extraction of organs or tissues, including illegal actions of surrogacy and ovary removal. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), individuals are victims of trafficking if they once voluntarily agreed, directly participated in a crime while being trafficked, were transported into the coerced labor, or were simply born in the enslaved family. This term does not convey any movement because at the center of the trafficking phenomenon there are numerous kinds of enslavement and not only different activities connected with international transportation. Currently, trafficking is a profitable industry, as some criminals earn good money on other people’s sufferings.

The term “bondage” stands for a state of subordination or captivity, involving heavy, humiliating, frequently underpaid, or even free work. However, the debt bondage, also called debt slavery, peonage, or bonded labor, means people’s pledge of their labor or services as reimbursement for a loan or other obligation. The services may be undefined in size and time and, more importantly, may even be passed on from one generation to another.

Slavery

Slavery Starting in the Bible

It might seem astonishing to many people that the Holy Bible comprises several references to slavery which was a common practice throughout biblical times. The unfair treatment of slaves is frequently referred to in the Old Testament. Besides, there are also references to slavery in the New Testament and Mosaic Law. For example, after the Israelites had fled Egypt, they were given the Mosaic Law, which allowed them to make slaves of Hebrews and foreigners. Anyway, one should keep in mind that the slavery that sanctioned in the Bible is different from the slavery that occurred in America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The treatment of slaves described in the Old Testament was far more humane than the slavery practiced in other ancient civilizations.

On the one hand, the Bible neither criticizes slavery practices nor tries to stop them, but condemns the abuse of slaves and forced enslavement. On the other hand, it is full of teachings on the manner in which slaves should be treated in both Old and New Testaments. The problem lies in the fact that the Bible’s meaning can often be distorted, especially when reading in fragments. For example, the advocates of slavery cite several lines from the Holy Bible and regard it as a moral justification of slavery.

Slavery Starting in the World

Meager (2007) suggests that slavery used to be a common practice in many ancient societies such as Egypt, China, and the Middle East. The vast majority of the slaves appeared because of wars, kidnapping, or the necessity to pay debts. In antiquity there existed various practices on how to handle the enslaved people but, in most cases, slaves were under full control of the master; thus, they had little or no rights or status. It indicated that many people were treated harshly, although most ancient societies had some laws to regulate slavery, such as the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC).

Unfortunately, at present slavery belongs to the urgent issues that humanity still needs to tackle. UNODC (2014) emphasizes that the modern world is still far from eradicating slavery. It is a shame that slavery, which is a relic of the past, still exists not only in developing or poor countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Thailand, Congo, Bangladesh, and many others but also in advanced democratic nations.

Practices Similar to Slavery

Davis (2014) in his book The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation distinguishes such meanings of slavery and emancipation as dehumanization, animalization, and free soil. These notions convey the message that in some severe cases like, for instance, in the post-emancipation lynching era, “ blacks who were treated like animals were literally seen as “ only animals,” or as an entirely different species from humans”. However, degradation and insult are reinforced day by day when people call one another pigs, swine, or apes. Dehumanization has been a major aspect of slavery starting from ancient times. Thus, the problem of slavery includes the impossibility of converting human beings into “ totally compliant, submissive chattel property”. The scholar argues that animalization and genocide or ethnic cleansing have many links throughout history and mentions the example of Nazi policy against Jews. The victims must be dehumanized, which involves the projection on victims or enslaved groups of “ an exaggerated version of the so-called animal traits that all humans share and often fear and repress”.

Human Trafficking

The Notion of Human Trafficking

The situation when one person exploits another for the purpose of trade of human beings is widely regarded as a crime committed by people without any good moral principles. Notwithstanding any laws or moral values, trafficking in persons remains too common, with too few perpetrators being justly punished. The overwhelming majority of detected trafficking victims suffered from sexual exploitation. However, in recent years, there has been an increased number of those trafficked for forced labor.

The US government regards human trafficking as an illegal activity committed by the members of criminal organizations engaged in sexual abuse and forced labor, especially when the gang of smugglers keeps victims against their will in coerced servitude. As mentioned earlier, according to the U.S. Department of State (n.d.), under the TVPA and Palermo Protocol, people are considered trafficking victims in the case they agreed, directly participated in a crime while being trafficked, were forced or deceived into the abusive conditions, or were simply born in the enslaved family.

According to statistical data gathered in 2011, victims of trafficking in persons are detected by age groups and gender. Women comprise virtually a half, namely 49% of victims while boys constitute the smallest percentage which is 12%.

The United Nations states that despite progress in eliminating human trafficking issue has been achieved over the past decade, convictions remain low in many countries. Moreover, people, especially children, continue to be particularly unstable to such a treacherous trade.

It is possible to find and analyze connections between certain forms of exploitation among detected trafficking defenseless victims, by region of detection (see Fig. 1 for a more detailed description).

Law essay

Figure 1. Forms of exploitation among detected trafficking defenseless victims, by region of detection (UNODC, 2014).

 

Different Types of Trafficking

Human trafficking can be generally categorized into the following types:

  • Sex trafficking, which included child sex trafficking;
  • Forced labor;
  • Organ removal;
  • Domestic servitude;
  • People smuggling;
  • Other types.

Sex trafficking is a prevalent form of trafficking. It implies that women and children from developing countries are coerced or