Human trafficking in our backyard and abroad

Sophie Bullard, Colin Adams and Jenna Walpole, Contributing Writers

Human Trafficking can be defined as the action or practice of illicitly, forcibly, or fraudulently relocating people from one country or area to another, typically in order to exploit them for forced labor, prostitution, etc.; the trade in or production of human beings for the purposes of exploitation. Unfortunately, prostitution and sex trafficking, migration and slavery are all intertwined and have been a part of human history for centuries.

Many students arrive to campus by driving on I-80 and then getting off at Route 15. What many students do not know, and what students studying human trafficking at the University have learned, is that both of these roads are major hubs for human trafficking, due to the fact that they both span across the United States.

Human trafficking happens all around us, but there is minor coverage in the media, which makes this issue appear to be less severe.


Rise of globalization and capitalism impacting sex slavery in Thailand

Sophie Bullard ’20

For my research paper, I focused on human trafficking — more specifically, sex trafficking in Thailand.

The global sex industry has become a very central portion of international capitalism. My research focuses specifically on how globalization has driven this sex industry, with two peaks of globalization after World War II and in recent decades.

Globalization was driven by the expansion of multinational corporations based in the United States and Europe, and worldwide exchange of new developments in science, technology and products. In the last few decades, globalization has happened in the form of technological advancement, which has resulted in easier travel and communication at an international level.

With large economic expansion, the sex trade has become much more important in the Thai economy, increasing the number of humans processed through the system. Profits from the sex industry are now vital and provide capital for development in Thailand. Profits from human trafficking also fund campaigns, and are used to bribe government officials and law enforcement.

Many different structural factors in a society, such as social inequality, gender roles and corrupt governments are the keys to help to provide some reasoning as to why some countries, especially Thailand, experience increases in the number of sex slaves compared to other countries.

The expanding international sex market exploits women who are members of the lower-income class in Thailand. It is clear that when neo-liberal policies are implemented, some countries prosper while others do not. Globalization and capitalism go hand in hand, and when profit is the only outlook, this “sex industry” becomes mainly based off of commodifying human beings.


Organ trafficking in Southeast Asia

By Colin Adams, Contributing Writer  


As of 12:22 p.m., Oct. 10, there were 114,565 people who needed a lifesaving organ transplant within the United States alone, with 74,952 of those people actively on a waiting list. The most common organ required is a kidney, which according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) has been transplanted 439,185 times since 1988 in the U.S.; however, there have only been 30,415 organ transplants since January 2018, which has resulted in roughly 20 people dying each day while waiting for a transplant. The underground organ market exists to fill the gap between legalized donors and those in need.

While the causes for such a demand in illegal organs is horrific, the way in which they are supplied is even more tragic. While the underground organ market may be saving the lives of a select few, it is destroying the lives of many vulnerable people in south and east Asia.

Due to the largely defenseless population, lack of governmental regulation, and inherent discretion involved in the practice, trafficked people and organs play an integral role in making south and east Asia (China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines) the primary hub for transplant tourism at the cost of the livelihood of those supplying the organs starting from the 1980s to present day. They are misled, paid next to nothing for their organs, and are not given proper care, which can result in a dramatic loss in quality of life and even death.

Considering the demographic of the targeted areas, that is lower-income to extremely poor, children represent a heavy financial burden, which increases the likelihood of one of these individuals being lured into the organ market to sell a kidney or liver. In this way and many more, individuals are exploited into selling their organs without the proper knowledge of the repercussions of such actions.


The effect of “The migrant crisis” on human trafficking in modern-day Italy

By Jenna Walpole, Contributing Writer

My eyes have been opened to this worldwide issue after completing the course, so for my research paper, I decided to focus on how migration has affected trafficking in Italy.

Migration from Africa and the Middle East has increased drastically. According to Eurostat, there were 284,985 asylum applicants in 2010, and in 2015 there were about 1.3 million. That only includes the number of migrants who applied for asylum, so the number of those who migrated is actually larger.

Migrants are leaving their home countries in search of economic, social, and political security. When they arrive in Europe, they usually land in Greece or Italy due to the close proximity relative to where they are migrating from. When and if the individuals migrating across the Mediterranean reach Europe, they are in desperate need for food and shelter, putting them in an especially vulnerable position.

People engaged in human trafficking abuse this weakness and take advantage of those who have recently entered the European Union. This growth in migration is so severe it has been labeled a “Migrant Crisis,” and has put an enormous amount of stress on the Italian government to help migrants find a place to live and work. As more and more people travel to Europe in search of asylum, the larger the pool of possible trafficking victims becomes.


What we can do


As shown, all types of trafficking happen all over the world. Countries that are prone to political unrest, or have weak or corrupt infrastructures combined with widespread poverty, are breeding grounds for international criminal networks, only promoting trafficking of all persons. Although our power is very limited, raising awareness and educating not only ourselves, but the people around us will allow us to help make a change. The more information that people have on this issue the better. Since there is a minimal amount of coverage in the media, we have to do our best to take advantage of our opportunities and spread the word ourselves.

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