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Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Sample Answer 

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. The world has more slaves than it has ever had over the centuries. Human trafficking is defined as the act of harboring, recruiting, transporting, obtaining or providing a person for the purposes of commercial sex or compelled labor through the utilization of coercion, fraud, or force. Forced labor and sexual exploitation are the most common forms of this kind of slavery (Shelley, 2010). Over 50% of victims of human trafficking are female. Other exploitation forms exist but are not reported as frequently as they occur. It is also important to point out that movement is not always part of human trafficking (Shelley, 2010). This paper will explore the causes of human trafficking, the theoretical approaches of policy analysts, the policies in place to deal with human trafficking, and finally conclude with an analysis of the effectiveness of these policies.

The Known Explanations or Causes of Human Trafficking

According to Kempadoo, Sanghera, & Pattanaik (2015), human trafficking is caused by intertwined and complex factors, including political, social, and economic factors. Poverty in itself is not a precursor to human trafficking. However, when poverty is combined with other factors, it can result in increasing the risk of human trafficking. Other contributing factors include economic disruptions, a lack of human rights, family dysfunction or disruption, lack of access to jobs or education, a government that is weak, civil unrest, and corruption (Kempadoo et al., 2015).

Theoretical explanations and approaches scholars and policy analysts used to discuss human trafficking

The Bronfenbrenner model suggests that human beings develop through five influence systems. These systems include the chronosystem, macrosystem, exosystem, mesosystem, and microsystem (Barner, Okech, & Camp, 2018). The systems are in a growing nest of circles with a large system encompassed within a larger circle. Each circle influences the other in a bi-directional manner. The policy level system is an additional newer chronosystem in the ecological model (Sallis, Owen, & Fischer, 2015). This implies that greater institutional and policy levels of processes can have an impact on individuals on a smaller level, thus influencing how such an individual operates and lives. This is because an individual is expected to develop and also mature within the support and constraints given by these levels’ powers. At the center of all five systems is the individual. The manner in which all these systems affect an individual formed the basis of Bronfenbrenner’s model, as seen in the figure below:

Source: Bronfenbrenner, (1994)

The ecological system is utilized in the evaluation of human trafficking risk factors as well as violations of human rights (Barner et al., 2018). Other risk factors that have been highlighted as individual risk factors to human trafficking include marginalized identities, homelessness, political instability, issues with substance use, neglect, and abuse. The risk factors can be best understood using the ecological model. Social workers use the same in identifying the intervention areas as well as prevention for populations that are at risk.

The policies that have resulted from these discussions

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is an arm of the UN of which most nations are part of. As a guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) as well as its protocols, it offers nations assistance on their implementation efforts of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (UNODC, 2019a). Within this Protocol is Article 3, which aims at providing a consensus and consistency across the globe on human trafficking. The conduct that Article 3 sets out is criminalized as per Article 5 using domestic legislation. The domestic legislation implemented by individual states need not to precisely follow the language used in the Protocol. However, it should be adopted in accordance with a nation’s legal system. Doing so will give effect to the concepts outlined in the Protocol. Additionally, the Protocol calls for the criminalization of any attempts to carry out a human trafficking offense, participating in human trafficking as an accomplice, and directing or organizing others in human trafficking offenses.

Legislation within a country ought to have a flexible and dynamic definition of trafficking as this would empower that framework in responding effectively to human trafficking, which occurs within and without the borders of a country; encompasses a variety of exploitative purposes; victimizes men, women, and children; and which occurs with or without the participation of organized crime (UNODC, 2019a)

Explanation of whether they are effective at resolving human trafficking

The policies are ineffective in resolving human trafficking. A UNODC study that examined the human trafficking trend in 142 countries showed that there is a new dimension to the offense. Human trafficking is now characterized by terrorists and armed groups who gain victims and spread fear. The victims are offered incentives for the recruitment of new fighters. Examples of this menace are sexual slaves, forced labor, and child soldiers (UNODC, 2019b).

Although recent past years have reported a fluctuation in the number of victims, there has been a steady increase since 2010. The largest victim numbers are recorded in the Americas and Asia. This could be attributed to the improved methods of data detection, reporting, and recording, as well as a real increase in victim numbers (UNODC, 2019b).

In conclusion, although policies have been put in place that should act as a guide for UN member nations, these seem to have failed. Countries need to strengthen their cooperation, as well as put up technical support to protect victims, prosecute perpetrators, and develop sustainable goals.


Barner, J. R., Okech, D., & Camp, M. A. (2018). “One Size Does Not Fit All:” A Proposed Ecological Model for Human Trafficking Intervention. Journal of evidence-informed social work15(2), 137-150.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. Readings on the development of children2(1), 37-43.

Kempadoo, K., Sanghera, J., & Pattanaik, B. (2015). Trafficking and prostitution reconsidered: New perspectives on migration, sex work, and human rights. Routledge.

Sallis, J. F., Owen, N., & Fisher, E. (2015). Ecological models of health behavior. Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice5(43-64).

Shelley, L. (2010). Human trafficking: A global perspective. Cambridge University Press.

UNODC (2019a). Human Trafficking.

UNODC (2019b). More action needed to stop human trafficking, exploitation in armed conflict: UNODC launches latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.–exploitation-in-armed-conflict_-unodc-launches-latest-global-report-on-trafficking-in-persons.html


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Human Trafficking

  • A description of the known explanations or causes of human trafficking

    Human Trafficking

    Human Trafficking

  • A description of the theoretical explanations and approaches scholars and policy analysts used to discuss human trafficking
  • A description of the policies that have resulted from these discussions and an explanation of whether they are effective at resolving human trafficking

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