Human trafficking is an illegal trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery or commercial sexual exploitation done by human traffickers. This may encompass providing a spouse on the contest of forced marriage, or the extraction of organs or tissues that may include surrogacy and oval removal. It can occur within a country or trans-nationally. It is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion. It is the trade in people, especially women and children, and it does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.
Amy Farrell, an assistant professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Jack McDevitt, an associate dean of research in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, conducted the two-year study. Both are staff members at the Northeastern University’s Institute on Race and Justice. The study analysed 140 closed trafficking cases in 12 sites across the country, seeking to identify the challenges that local, state and federal law enforcement face in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting human-trafficking cases. After the study, Farrell said, “We hope our work will result in the development of systems within police and prosecutors offices to promote identification and investigation.”
Poverty, lack of education, immigration policy, environmental conditions, fractured families, and lack of good job opportunities are the real causes of human trafficking. On an individual level, we can prevent it by fundraising, volunteering, boycotting products and companies that permit it, helping survivors, and reporting suspicions. Professionally, it can be prevented by advocating it’s cases, creating awareness of the signs of human trafficking, etc. According to a report prepared by Northeastern researchers in conjunction with the Washington based Urban Institute, in order to overcome the hurdles of identifying and prosecuting human trafficking cases, police and prosecutors must significantly bolster education and training and develop coordinated proactive investigation strategies.