Human trafficking continues to be a persistent problem in the United States of America. Every year, tens of thousands of innocent people are trafficked into and out of the country, either willingly or unwillingly. The rates of trafficking are greater in some states than others with data currently indicating that Georgia and Florida are two of the states that have the highest rates of human trafficking. South Carolina is also another state that experiences relatively high rates of human trafficking. To curb these high rates of human trafficking, a special task force that exclusively deals with human trafficking cases and that actively engages with the community requires to be formed with immediate effect and assume jurisdiction in the three states so as to both prevent and identify cases of human trafficking and take appropriate action.
This proposal is destined to address the issue of trafficking in the mentioned states. The proposal includes a viable prevention program that might help to alleviate the prevalence of human trafficking in the states of Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. As mentioned, these three states have experienced high rates of human trafficking and it is has become increasingly clear that immediate measures are required. Since the three states have different governance structures, collaboration between the three state governments is required. The proposed program will be enforced by the state governments of each state. The program will also require a huge input from the community.
Florida is currently ranked as the third largest state in the nation in terms of human trafficking (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2014). This is especially in regard to the trafficking of children (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2014). The only two states that rank above it are California and New York. There are several factors in Florida that make it a human trafficking hub. One of it is its ideal climate. Normally, victims of human trafficking are utilized in areas that require unskilled labor including agriculture, construction, garment manufacturing and domestic servitude (Laczko, 2005). Florida has an economic climate that is largely dependent on tourism and agriculture, and this makes it quite ideal for human trafficking. Its geographical position also makes it as perfect entry point for human traffic from South America and the Caribbean. Florida also has a relatively rich demographic composition with the state having a large number of immigrants living there. This, therefore provides a consistent supply of vulnerable victims who traffickers can easily prey on.
Georgia is the other state that is notorious for trafficking. Atlanta is one of the cities in the country that experiences high rates of human trafficking on a yearly basis (Logan et al., 2009). For example, in the year 2012, the National Human Trafficking Resource Centre received around 446 calls for human trafficking-related incidences. About 5000 girls in Georgia face the risk of being sex trafficked. In addition, more than 370 girls are commercially sexually exploited in the state where the average age of the girls first entering into the commercial sex market is between 12 and 14 years. Statistics also seems to indicate that Atlanta is home to the largest number of trafficked Hispanic females in the nation. In the year 2012, there was a total of 278 victims trafficking in Georgia. This figure rose to 723 victims in 2013
South Carolina is the other state that ranks highly when it comes to human trafficking figures. From 1997 to 2010, more than 12 trafficking cases were documented. From the 12 cases, it was found that around 20 women were sexual victims of the crime. The last few years have also witnessed several reported cases of sex trafficking. Just like in the other states, victims of human trafficking vary. Sex trafficking however seems to be the main base for trafficking in the states. One of the factors that have been said to contribute to increased cases of trafficking in the state is a lack of awareness (Laczko, 2005).
The proposed strategy is to form a special task force that exclusively deals with human trafficking matters. The task force will be charged with the roles of identifying vulnerable communities and conducting random searches and investigations on suspected human trafficking zones. In addition, agents from this task force will also be sent to investigate common points of entry where huge consignments of human traffic are suspected to make their way into the nation.
Current efforts to prevent human trafficking are hampered by the lack of coordination between various law enforcement agencies. There is no clear-cut agency that deals with matters related to human trafficking and cases are often investigated and prosecuted by the local police and occasionally by federal bodies like the FBI. Unfortunately, there is a relative lack of coordination between these bodies and consequently, a lot of human traffickers usually slip through the hands of law enforcement and continue with their deadly business. In addition, lack of coordination means that even identifying the victims of human trafficking is hard. Prosecution of those who have been found of facilitating human trafficking is usually hampered by lack of coordination and cooperation between the various law enforcement agencies. For instance, local police might arrest a human trafficker but might not have the adequate resources to prosecute. The trafficker may then be handed over to another body such as the FBI but since the process is not well coordinated, the trafficker might end up not being prosecuted at all
This is why there is a need to establish a dedicated human trafficking task force that will be charged with the role of prevention, investigating and ultimately prosecuting offenders who engage in this type of crime.
Once again, this tasks force will have jurisdiction in the states mentioned. All matters related to human trafficking and that happen within the borders of the three states will be dealt with by this task force.
The analysis of the three states has shown that some of the primary reasons why they have high rates of human trafficking is because of their geographical location, lack of awareness and presence of economic systems that support the venture. These accentuate the reasons why a task force is needed. Local police, as well as local law enforcement agencies, are usually involved in dealing with other types of crimes and, as a result, the crime of human trafficking does not receive a lot of attention. It has been shown that one of the primary reasons why there are high rates of human trafficking in South Carolina is because of lack of awareness (Logan et al., 2009). It is not only the public who lack awareness about human trafficking, but local law enforcement agencies also tend to be very un-informed. The detection of human trafficking activities is itself a very hard task and in fact one may be witnessing a case of human trafficking and not actually recognizing it.
Human trafficking thrive in this lack of awareness (Logan et al., 2009). When lack of coordination between law enforcement agencies is added to the equation, it creates a very prime ground for traffickers to carry out their activities. This is why there is a need to create a task force that will be dedicated to this type of crime and that will not be distracted by other crimes.
This task force will actively engage with the local community in preventing and detecting incidences of human trafficking in the society. This will be done through community policing. The task force will hold frequent seminars and workshops whereby members of the public will be educated on how to spot suspicious activities and incidences that may involve human trafficking. The public will also be provided with a direct a direct line through which communication can be made with the task force for immediate response.
An active collaboration with the community will be very beneficial as crimes related to human trafficking usually occur in the society, and it is the members of this society who are likely to witness such incidents. If there are proper channels for members of the public to relay this information, then the relevant authorities can take action. When human traffickers realize that efficient detection and reporting procedures that have been instituted, they are likely to be very wary of their operations and might ultimately realize that they will be spotted and reported to the relevant authorities who are likely take action immediately. As was mentioned earlier, human traffickers thrive in a society characterized by lack of awareness as well as in a setting where there is lack of coordination between law enforcement societies as well as lack of coordination between law enforcement and the community. The proposed strategy is meant to address all these issues and in the process; the formerly favorable environment for human traffickers will turn very harsh and incidences of human trafficking are likely to go down significantly. This is why the program needs to be instituted with immediate effect.
Over the years, several other programs have been initiated to prevent the occurrence of human trafficking-related problems. One of these is stricter checking procedures at the nation’s borders as well as in entry points such as airports (DeStefano, 2007). Although these programs have been fairly successful, their success has however been hampered by several factors. One of these is that the officers conducting the checking are not properly trained. As it was mentioned earlier, it is not always easy to pinpoint an incidence involving human trafficking. Human trafficking involves individuals being held and transported against their will and sometimes, an individual might appear to be traveling willingly when in fact they are being forced and are afraid of reporting because of various consequences. Therefore, a special task force that has officers who are specially trained to detect incidences of human trafficking is needed. This has also been the case at the border. Human traffickers are very clever and will usually use the most unconventional ways of hiding victims and bringing them into the country and it takes the efforts and skills of specially trained individuals to identify the devious ways being used by traffickers and appropriately deal with them (DeStefano, 2007). This should particularly be the case in Florida which acts as an entry point for human traffic smuggled from South American countries and the Caribbean.
Crime prevention programs are usually initiated to address the needs of the community and to promote social justice. This is exactly what this strategy aims to do. Social justice encompasses promoting a just society through putting in place strategies that challenge injustice and that value and encourage diversity. A society ensures that such all society members have equal access to public resources and opportunities. Social justice enables people to lead lives that are not only self-fulfilling, but that also contribute to the general progress of the society.
Human trafficking functions as a social injustice to the victims who are trafficked and then exploited sexually or forced to provide labor (Gozdziak and Collett, 2005). These people not lead fulfilling lives and their access to opportunities is limited.
Crime prevention programs are aimed at promoting social justice by reducing the number of crime victims and hence ensuring that the majority have access to equal resources, and opportunities and that they lead normal and fulfilling lives. This is exactly what the proposed program aims to do. The program aims to prevent and identify instances of human trafficking that encompass social injustice and, as a result, greater social justice will be achieved. The plight of the victims is at the core of this program. Preventing a heinous crime such as human trafficking requires the input of all society members. The community particularly plays an accentuated role. Since crimes take place in the society, the society is at a better position to witness crimes and take appropriate action. Unfortunately, many of the programs started to prevent crimes such as human trafficking have not incorporated the community factor and this is partly why many have failed and consequently the problem of human trafficking has persisted (Gozdziak and Collett, 2005). It is clear that if any advancements in terms of crime prevention are to be realized, the society must be at the center of each and every program. The proposed program recognizes this fact and this why it is centered on the community. In addition to the community, the individuals involved in crime prevention must also be adequately skilled and this is why this program proposes the high quality training of its stakeholders, that is, the agents who will involve in the human trafficking prevention and detection task force.
One question that might be raised in regard to the implementation of this program relates to funding. The establishment of a special task force is an expensive venture. Making engagements with the community might also prove to be quite expensive. Therefore, an adequate funding strategy is required. This program will require funding to be provided by the governments of the three states. Each state will derive a small portion of its crime prevention budget and forward it towards the implementation of this program. The funds accumulated by this will be enough to fund the implementation of the program. However, if the funds are not enough, the three state governments can write an appeal to the federal government asking it to fund the program or at least chip in a little amount.
In conclusion, the proposed program that involves the formation of human trafficking prevention and detection task force that actively collaborates with the community members to identify and generally prevent incidences of human trafficking will greatly aid to reduce incidences of this crime in the three states of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. The governments of the three states should put away their differences and engage in meaningful collaboration in the form of this program and at the end, greater social justice will be achieved in the three states.
Gozdziak, E. M., & Collett, E. A. (2005). Research on human trafficking in North America: A review of literature. International Migration, 43(1‐2), 99-128.
Logan, T. K., Walker, R., & Hunt, G. (2009). Understanding human trafficking in the United States. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(1), 3-30.
DeStefano, A. (2007). The war on human trafficking: US policy assessed. Rutgers University Press.
Laczko, F. (2005). Data and research on human trafficking. International Migration, 43(1‐2), 5-16.
Florida Department of Children and Families. (2014). Human Trafficking. Retrieved December 7, 2014, from http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/human-trafficking
Bales, K., & Soodalter, R. (2010). The slave next door: Human trafficking and slavery in America today. Univ of California Press.