Human Trafficking - The Crime of Exploiting Human Beings
What is human trafficking? Human trafficking or slavery still exists today, over half a century since being declared a crime against mankind by the international community. And after over 140 years after we thought slavery ended when the 13th Amendment was ratified, the US is still a favorite destination of modern day slave traders for their victims.
Involuntary labor is most prevalent in industries with minimal regulations or that are downright illegal. Human rights groups estimate that:
Forced servitude still exists for the same reason it did in the 1700s: money. But landmark federal legislation has slowly chipped away at the problem.
In 2000, the Victims of Trafficking & Violence Protection Act was signed into law. It makes funding support available and protects survivors of trafficking through such remedies as legal residency.
Human traffickers victimize people by promising them a better life and earning opportunities only to subject their victims to subhuman conditions when they get to their destination. Oftentimes, slave conditions already exist as they travel.
US government experts estimate that anywhere from 14,000 to 18,000 victims are trafficked into the country on any given year. Although more victims are rescued every year, the government says that only 600 victims were certified under the 2000 Anti-trafficking Act five years after it was enacted.
Moreover, the sad fact remains that although the law now provides victims with special immigration status, it’s highly likely that an immigration officer could focus on a person’s undocumented standing while ignoring his/her forced labor conditions. The end result: Victims of human trafficking are probably deported daily.
Recent Incidents of Human Trafficking
The same year the Anti-trafficking Act was passed, rich California businessman Lakireddy Reddy was charged with the human trafficking of young Indian girls into the US.
Reddy forced his victims to work in his restaurants and buildings and sexually abused them repeatedly. He eventually got a plea bargain of eight years in prison and paid a restitution of $2 million.
Many rights advocates thought the sentence was way too light. But it was better than letting Reddy go scot-free as he almost did. When the INS investigated him three years before he was charged, they found “nothing to indicate criminal conduct.”
What’s more, the INS actually described Reddy as an “educated gentleman” with widespread financial and corporate interests in the US!
Another case is that of a Central American girl in her mid-teens who came to Houston. Coming from an impoverished family, she was an easy victim for The Coyote, who forced her to work for his Texas relatives.
In the case documented by the local YMCA, the girl was made to sleep on the floor, starved, brutalized, and suffered threats of being sold into prostitution. After repeatedly being beaten and raped, she escaped.
The girl may have grown up, married, and made a new life in Houston, but she still suffers from the effects of her slavery to this day. The Coyote has already visited her parents in Central America and hasn’t stopped searching for her.
Human Trafficking - Types & Penalties
A Justice Department study from 2003 shows convicted human traffickers served sentences from 33 months to 270 months. Restitution usually runs into millions of dollars.
But getting convictions isn’t the main problem; it’s catching the criminals that is. The human trafficking network is vast and difficult to navigate as it’s usually run by organized crime syndicates seeking to bolster income from international narcotics operations.
a recent three-year period,
Department of Justice
prosecutors from across the US charged 121 people with human
(thrice the sum from the three preceding years) and obtained 83
|Back To Public Records Directory | Link To Reviews|