As a modern form of slavery, human trafficking represents a type of criminology in which victims are forced into an illegal form of involuntary servitude. The range of illicit activities, by force or fraud, include sex trafficking, debt enslavement or forced labor. A multibillion-dollar industry in human beings, human trafficking ranks second to drug trafficking. One source cites between 600,000 and 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders every year. Up to 80% of those are women and girls, with over 50% under legal age, or children, in terms of a global perspective.
Domestically, within the U.S., it is estimated that the level of criminal activity for human exploitation ranges between 240,000 and 300,000 youths each year. Many are at risk for sexual exploitation, while others are involved in forced labor situations or other criminal activities. As such, given the dangerous potentiality of the associated criminal activities, as well as other threat possibilities, a personal strategy for safety and security is essential. Part of the planning individual safeguards, includes raising one’s level of awareness to a more heightened state of informed vigilance.
Another aspect includes the realization and recognition that deadly possibilities exist everywhere. Regardless of where you are or where you go, a threat potential could erupt when least expected. As a seemingly vulnerable target of opportunity, a criminal event could happen in the most unlikely places. Unfortunately, most people remain willfully distracted by technology, or other preoccupations, to maintain a state of deliberate readiness. Planning personal safety countermeasures is a full-time effort for savvy urban vigilance, both within the U.S., and especially during foreign travel.
Under “Gonzo Theory”, the rule of “5-P’s” apply. This refers to “proper planning prevents poor performance”. The concept includes both formal and informal risk analysis, defensive preparations, and contingency plans. Naturally, within this scheme, a good safety protocol begins at home with a thorough security assessment of the home environment. From living room to classroom, boardroom or workroom, personal safety is a primary concern. In between, there are traveling considerations. Whether going to the school campus or the workplace, defensive driving demands full presence of mind and body during the trip. Vehicular operations require exceptional attentiveness.
Both illicit sex trafficking and forced labor conscription involve a variety of tactics and trickery. From fraud to force, whereby the victim becomes trapped in dangerous scenarios, sometimes involving torture and death, criminals use various means. A swindle could come from nearly anyone, like an intimate partner, or a co-worker, and the offer of a “good deal” is “too good to pass up”, or simply “too good to be true”. It could involve international intrigue, a foreign adventure and easy money for “get rich quick” scheme. Concerning foreign travel, the traveler should ensure a well-researched travel plan. This includes following U.S. Department of State foreign country guidelines.
For now, on the domestic front, personal security countermeasures require daily vigilance. Developing a “tactical mindset” means preparing oneself each day for the harsh reality that seriously dangerous predators hunt for targets of opportunity. Trusting “intuitive thinking”, that is to say, feeling uncomfortable about people, places and things, is an early warning system that warrants attentiveness. Being naïve, gullible and uninformed as to the dangerousness of human behavior in the real world, is reflective of immaturity that risks personal safety and the security of others.
Self-education in the personal self-evolving process is essential to social survival in post-modern times. Among professionals in the field of law enforcement, most agree that making serious judgmental assessments is vital to personal well-being. Not surprisingly, many people today do not practice the ability to assert rationally logical critical assessments of much of anything. In actuality, a growing body of credible research points to an increasing state of social stupidity widespread throughout the U.S. mainstream.
The inability to think and react becomes challenging. Using one’s full sensory abilities to assess, appraise, and otherwise plan protective contingencies begins early as one emerges into adulthood. Obviously, there are no guarantees to ensure an absolute state of individual security. Likewise, there are no foolproof assurances that everyone can be trusted, or any particular environment is perfectly safe and insulated from dangers.
Given the world of the internet, social media networking and associated societal interactions, distractions loom everywhere. Mass marking in particular is hideously provocative in every medium of information exchange. Gross distractions flirt with seductive contrivances to entice more consumerism to foster gluttonous consumption. Opportunistic predation finds sinister ways to victimize others.
In American society, in contrast to other countries, the average person has very little conception of self-defense tactical skills. Other than public safety-first responders and the military, most people are ill equipped to ensure a defensive state of readiness. A basic framework necessitates building a “tactical mindset”, which infers a sense of self-reliance in personal intuitive abilities. Of this, judicious discretion, or real-world threat assessment, is vital to a profound sense of situational awareness. At a very basic level, such capacity for analysis of people and places requires attentiveness to surroundings.
However, since most people function day to day in a seemingly safe environment, but not absolutely safe, a false sense of security reinforces a lack of proper preparation. In addition, having a limited set of experiences in “up close in your face” confrontations, a perspective of adolescent naiveté allows faulty reactivity. That is, in response to potential dangers of human interaction, many would not expect a horrendous calamity to occur. Nonetheless, any place at any time, a horrific event can unfold quickly.
In one survey, conducted by a national security firm, 80% of respondents reported they were unprepared to deal with a terroristic attack within their working environment. With less than 1% to 3% of the population actively engaged in public safety services, or national defense, the other nearly 97% to 99% rely on 1% to 3% “protect them”. From another analysis of perhaps what might be called “societal capacity for self-reliance”, a major international business magazine reports on what is being call a “nation of sissies”. In the subsequent reporting, the assertion is made that 75% of the younger generation is characterized as being “spoiled, soft and not self-sustaining as adults”. Inexperienced in matters of self-reliance and readiness to deal with an emergency is very visible.
Granted, the forgoing addresses American cultural issues that express a bloated feel-good, relatively safe and excessively consumer-oriented society. There are always exceptions to every claim or assertion. Usually upon closer examination, a small percentage of the grouping does not fit the generalization. Regardless, where studies and analysis support the argument, the majority can be said to suggest a post-adolescent immaturity in adulthood. Overly indulged, pampered, prone to magical thinking and given to emotional reactivity rather than logical rationality, many are easy pickings for vicious predators throughout society on and off the World Wide Web. Not only that, but a false sense of safety and security where many are oblivious to social dangers.
In terms of targets of opportunity, criminals look for weaknesses. Targeting hardening is an age-old necessity of increasing the risk of the criminal. Criminals make choices given their skill set in the selectivity of their victimization. Predators are everywhere and willing to take advantage of vulnerabilities. In the modern age, with a diversity of varying types of slavery, abduction as well as seduction lurks closer than what one might think. Whether incoming or outgoing, immigration to foreign vacation, personal safety is extremely important. Developing a personal safety strategy is vital.
Once upon a time, at least two generations ago, social maturation included a conceptual framework of self-reliance, individuation in social survival training, and a sense of competence in growing up. Civil defense awareness was a customary reminder. Yet, over the decades, subsequent generation of young Americans appear less understanding of the dangers that surround them. Potential threats exist are a real possibility. With the advent of the millennials, and the subsequent z-generation, victimization on and off the World Wide Web is a real and present danger, where many naively travel.
According to one online magazine that contributes to the corporate environment, many young people today are ill equipped to deal with the dangers of a volatile world. Cocooned in a seemingly never-ending array of over-protection, a generation of “sissies” have been described as badly prepared to ascended toward anything that might be considered adulthood. Immature and poorly trained in “social survival tactics”, many are oblivious to the probabilities for threatening situations and human deceptions. Being alert to situational vulnerabilities requires sensory attentiveness. Vigilance is demanding.
Yet, the younglings are not the only group to get the most the criticisms. Older members of society, in particular those who never served in public safety services or the military, are typically not prepared either. For most people, daily travel and interaction with others is mostly safe and otherwise secure, as contacts tend to be in seemingly controlled environments. From home to the world of academia, or the workplace, driving, sitting, shopping, consuming and working, things are primarily routine and mundane. From texting, to posting selfies and interacting in social media, a surreal sense of superficiality overshadows the reality of human nature. Nonetheless, dangers lurk everywhere and happen with a sudden burst of violence that is nearly unpredictable. Many people are in a state of perpetual “greyness”, a foggy sense of the world around them.
Dealing with the criminality of human trafficking is multifaceted and multilayered. Combating the terrorism of criminals who traffic in people crosses boundaries of national sovereignty. While citizen awareness and civic actions are one aspect, another interrelated component are commercial and institutional responsibilities. Likewise, significant in terms of interdictions are the critical resources of law enforcement at the local, state and national levels. As with all public safety endeavors, resources, funding, and personnel are vital. And, with a scarcity of resources, such as personnel, priorities are competitive. Nonetheless, contingencies are required at the local level as well as nationally.
Awareness is essential across all generations, and particularly among the younger ones. As related to targets of victimization and enforcement options, the complexity extends from locale to international borders. Modern day slavery comes in diverse forms of criminality, some overtly conspiratorial by criminal collusions. Other forms manifest by intentional actions of commercial and political contrivances to ensure cheap labor costs, as well as market profitability. Naïve citizens, special interest social groups and career politicians foster an atmosphere of disingenuous discourse that aids and abets criminality.
Relevance of facts in the face of national security threats often goes ignored until the next horrific catastrophe. Whether by foolish juvenile ignorance, or intentional political agenda, serious criminological issues typically miss the mainstream headlines. In place of serious interest and determined problem solving implementations, criminogenic factors are left to underfunded and understaffed limited resources. Modern day human slavery is a matter of national security concern. In particular, an inquisitive investigator might wonder why special interests contrive to interfere with immigration enforcement efforts.
Where credible evidence and substantial data demonstrate the terroristic and illegal trafficking collusions, with regard to immigration activities, question arise as to the complicity of corporate and political agendas. On the dark side of economic globalism, the utilization of cheap labor, low wages and substandard living conditions, reflects business and corporate interest in “cost effective labor” resources. With more than 50% of human trafficking involving forced labor, one might conclude the “benefits” of modern-day slavery to the labor market. In addition, the dangerous nature of human trafficking contains many areas of human exploitation. An assessment of solvability factors reaches to the upper echelons of society, as well as the political processes of society.
In a massive consumer-oriented society, where fixation is on consumption, the ongoing process of raising awareness among many competitive public and private interests remains challenging. While celebrity gossip and political collusions blabber about the superficial and the simplistic, the real hardcore societal issues remain in the background. In the distractions of an array of techno obsessiveness, as well as the mean-spirited nature of political agendas, critical social priorities seldom get much attention.
At the bottom line, an essential consideration for some aspects of the human trafficking connivance is the question as to who stands to gain from illicit operations. Reports from several sources indicate that human trafficking is extremely profitable. One international group suggests that 36 million people are in bondage to some form of modern-day slavery. Of that number, 26% are reported to be children. Complicity lurks in the shadows. Extremely lucrative, the dangerous and sinister nature of human trafficking makes it a highly attractive business operation for criminal entrepreneurs.
According to at least one investigative reporter, and there are many others, the gluttony of consumer consumption is fed in part from the labor of illegal immigrants. As suggested earlier, some would call this the equivalent of modern-day human slavery. From an economic standpoint, slavery generates a couple hundred billion dollars a year. Low cost labor forces save companies’ money on personnel costs. Ignoring the degradation and exploitation, a significant cost-benefit formula arises.
From enslavement to the marketplace, human beings remain an illicit commodity to be sold on the world market. Enforcement of law is critical. Apprehension, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of criminals are vital. Accordingly, as one research foundation points out, the supply and demand for human slaves is highly profitable in the globalization of transnational commerce throughout the world community.
Issues of impoverishment, barriers to enforcement, governmental instability, warfare, environmental exploitation, political corruption, profit continuity, agricultural production, cheap wages, and so forth, interfere with efforts to ensure human safety and security. On top that, nation-state geographic boundaries of sovereignty, in terms of jurisdictional enforcement, add to the difficulties of interdicting the supply side of the problem. Interdiction suggests international cooperation, and full enforcement of laws. Enforcement infers resources, material, funding, personnel and legal support components.
From all this, a more enlightened, mature and relentless proactive collaboration of public education and politically strong supportive efforts for law enforcement operations are essential. Law enforcement at every level requires serious backing in terms of personnel, technical materials, and resources. Likewise, politicians, pundits, and powerful people, especially the elite wealthy, need to honestly appraise the reality of modern-day slavery, and their role in the world society. From the decadent corridors of academia, to fawning of adulation of celebrity self-importance, relevant action is required.
In one insightful analysis from an online publication, the researchers point out that profitmaking operations like “labor contracting services”, across the border enticements for jobs and benefits, and other recruitment solicitations, require serious investigative scrutiny. Every aspect of modern-day immigration should be assessed critically in terms of the real implications of what actually happens. Some would suggest that “immigration reform” is a cover phrase for redefining slavery. Or, “cheap labor”, “immigrant worker” is synonymous with the word slave. Companies that employ them, “slave holders”.
Serious questions arise every day. As such, where do the policy makers, the politicians and influence peddlers, draw the line? Which corporate empires, global entrepreneurs and wealthy oligarchs further their complicities in support of human trafficking in varied forms? From Europe to Asia, from Africa to the Middle East, and so on, which countries continue to be involved in human trafficking? As the international markets expand, what are the major sociopolitical and economic factors that should be addressed on a global scale? For serious violations, who enforces international law?
From agriculture to construction project, nationally and internationally, profit sometimes ignores the abuse of workers. Consumption, likewise, overlooks the indirect consequences of forced and indebted enslavement. In countries where slavery is part of the production processes, the resulting products, or additives to consumer goods, are bought and sold in the U.S. marketplace. Since Americans are enormous, sometimes gluttonous, consumers, it is important to know which companies and products are the result of human exploitation. When politicians and business organizations clamor about the need for an “immigrant worker program”, what does that really mean? When a city or even a state illegally declares a “sanctuary” status, are they really condoning human exploitation? In addition, what about an immigrant caravan? Are they potential future slaves?