Human Trafficking Continues to Urge Attention from Both Legal and Political Interventions


By Rikisha Hawthorne

Nature of the Problem

The report on human trafficking indicated that close to 20.9 million adults and children fall victim to human trafficking across the world (Puente, Aba & Skulj, 2014, p. 54). The statistics also indicated that about 54 percent of the victims are globally exploited sexually. In this case, studies associate human trafficking to illegal transportation or transfer of people intentionally to force their engagement in prescribed labor or sexual activities (Banfield, Ross, & Blatz, 2013, p. 32).

In its recent report, the U.S. Department of Justice states about 175,000 people have fallen victim to trafficking, particularly through labor and sex exploitation practices (Hosken, 2018, p. 23). Besides, some reports have indicated close to 300,000 cases go unreported, making the victims to suffer without any formal assistance (DiRienzo, 2018, p. 49). Following these reasons, the policymaker formulated a comprehensive bill–the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (2013-2015). As such, this paper will focus on addressing the intended purpose of the policymakers and the possible change required considering the dynamics within the society.

As explained before, there is significant evidence to show the rate of human trafficking has become one of the greatest problems that urges attention from both legal and political interventions. As such, the drafters of the bill intended to appropriate about $25 million for 2013–2015 to help enforce the laws and policies against the trafficking phenomenon in the community (Congress, 2015). The primary goal of this policy is to restrain the offenders, remove any antisocial behavior related to sexual activities and bar or protect children from smuggling.

Problem Identification

Human trafficking involves the aspect of economic gain and loss exclusively depending on the party involved (Amahazion, 2014, p. 56). The actors or simply the human traffickers tend to engage in human transfer either in different regions within the country or across the border. Women and children in most cases are stricken with this forceful transfer, forced labor with low wage rate, and even sometimes the element of forceful marriage comes in at least for some stereotyped cultural individuals (Kangaspunta, 2015, p. 81). In this case, issues of social injustices and discrimination crop up through such actions. According to DiRienzo (2018), human trafficking limits the accessibility to resources and opportunities by the victim as far as the international standards required for human rights are concerned. According to the report on Human Trafficking and Crime released by Department of Justice, to fight both child and women trafficking, there is the need for collaborative efforts from all actors, but only with appropriate financing (Bowersox, 2016).

Policy’s Impact

Since the conception of the Traffic Victims Act of 2000 (TVPA), Pub. La 106-386, human trafficking victims could be denied services if they are unwilling to cooperate with authorities. They are required to assist in every reasonable way in the investigation and prosecution of the trafficking cases unless physical or psychological trauma (Andrea Lange, 2010, p. 48). To be eligible for social services, the person must be certified as a “victim” of human trafficking by meeting requirements.

Rikisha Hawthorne is a second-year MSW student at California State University of Long Beach. She can be reached at or