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Experts discuss effects of human trafficking on economies

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Human trafficking is known as the modern-day slavery and it is a growing problem for every country in the world.  Human trafficking is mainly defined as the coercion of a person to engage in sex acts against their will or to forcefully get someone to perform labour. Sex trafficking accounts for seventy percent of human trafficking. The United States government passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000 to prosecute traffickers. It is a lucrative business that gangs have capitalized on. Studies have shown that there is an advantage for gangs in dealing with trafficking of persons over drug trafficking since in the case of the former, it only requires a small amount of investment to generate a substantial return. However, while gangs profit off sexual trafficking, it has had an adverse effect on the economies of the countries in which it occurs. Laura Rundlet, Acting Deputy Director of the Office to Monitor & Combat Trafficking in Person (TIP) in Washington DC explains.

Laura Rundlet – Acting Deputy Director of the Office to Monitor & Combat,TIP

The acts of these criminal and illicit gangs are definitely detrimental to global industries, for example, in labor trafficking; those are ill-gotten gains and they are not being transparent and they are not within the regular market so it is taking gains away from the legal activity and the money is going to criminals and it isn’t being taxed and obviously is taking away from the global economy generally and also the smaller markets. As with any crime, if you take outside of the labor market and you’re going to talk about an illicit activity, in general, would be the same as drug trafficking or any other illicit activity where those ill-gotten gains are going to promote other illicit activities. There is evidence that human trafficking is used in some areas to help fund terrorist activities by some organizations or other transnational crimes so there’s an interrelationship of a lot of criminal activities as well so in that way it also hurts economies because we have to divert our resources to combat the crime.”

The United States of America has been engaging other countries in the fight against human trafficking through its TIP report, whereby other countries are ranked on how well they meet the minimum standards as laid out in the TVPA. Countries are rated on how well they prosecute the perpetrators, protect the victims and prevent the crime from being repeated.  The rankings are tier one, which is given to countries which fully comply, tier two and tier two watch list and countries which seemingly are not making any effort to meet the minimum standards are placed on tier three. For the past three years, Belize has been placed on tier three.

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