Who is to Blame: Government or Traffickers?

The trafficking of humans will not end unless the government dedicates itself to eradicating the issue.  They have implemented acts such as the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act (TVPA) in 2000 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act in 2003; however, these acts are toothless tigers unless governments are willing to enforce the law.
Now, this is not to say that governments are doing nothing because they are doing something.  However, they are not going about stopping the exploitation the right way.  Instead, of targeting those who are trafficking the victims, the governments are incarcerating the victims (though they are incarcerating the traffickers but to a much lesser degree).   For instance, when Sara Kruzan 11-years-old she met 31-years-old George Howard who molested her and began preparing her to become a prostitute.  Kruzan began prostituting at the age of 13.  When Kruzan was 16-year-old, she was convicted of killing her pimip.  Kruzan now serves a life sentence in prison.  Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger reduced her sentence to 25 years to life with the possibility to parole.
It is cases like these that perpetuate the trafficking of humans. Instead of demeaning the traffickers, governments incarcerate the prostitutes (and forced laborers in general), even though they were held against their will.  By doing this, people believe prostitutes (and forced laborers) are the problem because they are in our country causing these problems.  Believing this does not help the cause and eliminate the problem.  It only perpetuates it.  It allows traffickers to believe what they are doing is okay.
Traffickers are not the ones to look at if you want to end modern day slavery; it is the government.  Governments hold the authority to incarcerate and create stricter laws to curb this injustice.  And while governments are trying to curb it, they are putting their efforts in the wrong basket.  They should be focusing more on incarcerating and finding the traffickers and focusing less on the prostitutes and those held in bondage.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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