Need to Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking is something that should be on everyone’s radar. You, your friend or ever a family member could be subjected to this horrendous crime. In a 2019 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs on Crime issued a report on human trafficking with more specifically how quickly the rate of it is increasing (UNODC 2019). As reported by the UNODC, data was obtained from 155 counties stating that “79% of human trafficking is formed around sex trafficking,’ and about “20% is forced labor” (Human Trafficking Staff 2018). The definition of human trafficking according to the Department of Homeland Security is “modern-day slavery that uses forms of force or fraud in order to have some type of labor or acts of sexual misconduct” (Homeland Security 2018). As of 2017, at least “9,000 cases” were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH 2018). There has been a “20% increase in human trafficking cases since the year 2016” (NHTH 2018).

Executive Director of the UNODC, Antonio Maria stated that “many governments are still in denial”, meaning many governments do not see human trafficking as a big problem. In order for human trafficking to be prevented or at least slowed down, the United States Department of State stated, “raising awareness for human trafficking is beneficial, reporting to the law if you believe someone may be a victim to this horrendous crime or even being trained to recognize indicators of human trafficking” (Bureau of Public Affairs 2019).

This paper will use political culture to analyze the information provided by the United Nations on Drugs on Crime (UNODC) and the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), Political Culture is “the shaping of political beliefs in traditions, habits or patterns of behaviors” (Nair 2019). Political culture is based on three elements: objective social structures, subjective legitimacy and political regime (Nair 2019). A brief description of objective social structures is “people generally accept rules, meaning people break rules that are socially acceptable” (Nair 2019). Subjective legitimacy is when an “individual accepts things that their elected leaders think are important or in the global report of the UNODC stating that there “has been an increase in human trafficking” (Nair 2019). Political regime has influenced political culture. For example, a Democratic government would make different decisions than a Communist government. Using political culture to analyze human trafficking has advantages and disadvantages. Certain opinions may be offending to people. Although political culture varies from state to state, this can show the opinions of those who have high authority (Nair 2019). This will also show which government is in denial just as the executive director of the UNODC, Antonio Maria said.

Looking at an article from Demand Against Trafficking, there are at least two elements of political culture presented. Subjective legitimacy is shown when International Labour Organization (ILO) “fail to focus and risk suggesting that one shoe fits all in the terms of human trafficking when being compared to migration issues, poor working conditions and citizenship” (Marie Segrave 2017). They accept that it’s okay to categorize all of these issues into one shoe (Maria Segrave 2017).

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Political regime plays a role, especially in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom government established a legislature that provides protection and creates policies in workplaces. This ensures that there is a change in the inconsistency of responses that recognize exploitation in the workplace. This allows people to have no choice but to accept these changes because they believe their elected leaders have made the right choice for them. I would also argue that subjective legitimacy is shown here because in some cases many jobs fail to accept unregulated labors, people are forced to accept it because it benefits the employers rather than the employees (Rebecca Napier- Moore 2017).

When examining the article produced by the Department of Homeland Security Myths and Misconceptions about human trafficking, a popular myth about human trafficking is, it only involves sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is defined by the National Human Trafficking Hotline as “ modern-day slavery in which requires an individual to perform in sexual acts unwillingly” (National Human Trafficking Hotline 2018). This shows that people are unaware of human trafficking. It shows the argument that people believe human trafficking isn’t a big problem. The people who view it as a big problem believe, they need to step up and make changes in order to raise awareness. I believe the reason why people do not think it’s a big problem is that they may have the mindset, that this is something that could never happen to them. But in reality, it can happen to someone regardless of color or socioeconomic status.

When polling individuals about human trafficking the following five questions were asked: 1. Based on your political views, do you think human trafficking is a big problem? Why or why not? 2. What is the definition of human trafficking? 3. Do you think an organization that helps victims recover from human trafficking should be funded more? Why or why not? 4. Do you think race and socioeconomic status matter under the definition of human trafficking? Why or why not? 5. What are ways human trafficking can be prevented or slowed down? Out of all individuals that were polled, all believed human trafficking was occurring in the world; however, three believed it was a pressing issue and two believed it wasn’t. The responses I got for question 5 were very shocking. One individual expressed that “there are bigger issues than human trafficking, on a scale from one to five; one being very important and five being not important, I believe human trafficking is ranked 5.”

For the second question 4 out 5 individuals generally had the same idea, that human trafficking is “forced labor or being taken against your will to engage in sexual misconduct.” For example, Savannah, my older sister expressed her opinion that she believes “human trafficking is predominantly sexual or physical.” Another claimed that human trafficking is just selling your body. People see human trafficking occurring in the world but believe it isn’t a big problem or is. Subjective legitimacy is displayed, based on a response of an individual saying that “politicians do not view human trafficking to be a topic of discussion”, “they have the tendency to view things through a rose-colored glass only focusing on things that affect them.” She is accepting that her elected leaders think human trafficking isn’t a big problem.

Political culture is a unique way to effectively interpret someone’s opinions. Republicans and Democrats generally view political culture the same. Republicans believe Democrats “only see people as groups”, meaning they only serve people that are members (Jo Freeman 2017). In the article of Democratic and GOP campaigns vow to fight human trafficking, Democrats have clearly stated: “it is time to eradicate slavery” (David Jackson 2016). Democratic officials believe there are ways to end human trafficking and this changes the political culture idea that Republicans have placed on them. When it comes to political culture, the views of elected leaders matter.

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