“Human trafficking is not only an injustice to the victim, but it is an injustice to the families and friends of that victim” -Asa Don Brown
The world today is in turmoil. A quick glance around us would show signs of unrest, dissatisfaction, economic collapse, rising inflation, armed conflict, political upheaval, pandemics, terminal illnesses, accidents , refugees and one of the most worrying elements: human trafficking. We trade goods intended for the benefit of humans, but when we trade humans, we are actually degrading humanity to the level of disposable goods. This is the standard of appreciation we hold for our species. Not that this is a recent development. Human trafficking is linked to the oldest known profession, prostitution. “The traffickers will stop when men stop buying women,” Corban Addison said in his novel, A Walk In The Sun.
Disregarding previous slave trades and drawing inspiration from Lou de Baca, U.S. Goodwill Ambassador, Office to Combat and Monitor Human Trafficking, “When bad things happen to men, we say it’s terrible, but when bad things happen to women, we say it’s just a cultural practice.” As long as women were the main business, this uproar was not as intense as when children and men began to be included in the human commodity as sex workers and drug carriers.As late as 1997, two divisions of the United Nations (UN) were merged to form the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, renamed in 2002 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which publishes reports focusing on illicit drug trafficking and abuse, crime prevention and the fair criminal justice, international terrorism and political corruption.
We trade goods intended for the benefit of humans, but when we trade humans, we are actually degrading humanity to the level of disposable goods.
According to the global report, published in February 2009, data was collected from 155 countries to determine the extent of human trafficking and the measures taken to control it. Launching the report in New York, Antonio Maria Costa, then UNODC Executive Director, said: “Many governments are still in denial. There is even negligence when it comes to reporting or prosecuting cases of human trafficking”. Without acknowledging the occurrence and extent of any crime, it is impossible to develop strategies to combat them. Relying on society’s false moral presumptions is like providing a curtain to hide the filth behind it. In light of the report, which improved our understanding of modern slave markets while revealing our level of ignorance, Mr. Costa complained about the government’s attitude towards certain countries in these terms: “We have a view overall, but it is impressionistic and lacks depth. We fear the problem is getting worse, but we cannot prove it due to lack of data, and many governments are filibustering.” Apparently, there is a lack of political will.
The report provides a breakdown of human trafficking as 79% related to female-dominated sexual exploitation and 18% to forced labor, a figure which could be misleading as not all cases of forced labor can be easily detected . 20% of all victims worldwide are children and in parts of Africa and the Mekong region they are the majority with 100% in parts of West Africa. The report also clarifies that human trafficking does not actually involve a cross-border movement of people, as relevant information shows that intra-regional and national trafficking constitute the main forms of trafficking. As Asa Don Brown has stated, “people who are trafficked are often the most vulnerable in our society”.
In this whole multi-billion dollar industry, a rather disturbing and inhumane trend has been observed in recent years regarding refugees moving across continents. We must be aware that the crime of trafficking in human beings has three fundamental elements: the act, the means and the aim, but the main objective is the exploitation which can take place in the country of origin of the victim, in a foreign country or during migration, which again may be legal or, as in the case of frustrated men and women, illegal. In their struggle to abandon their harrowing lives at home, many end up being captured in foreign lands. They are either deported by border security forces and housed where the authorities are friendly, but in the worst case scenario they are humiliated, trafficked or killed as an easy way to provide vital organs to the wealthy. indisposed.
In the article ‘Organ Trafficking and Migration: A Bibliometric Analysis of an Untold Story’ written by Juan Gonzales, Ignacio Garijo and Alfonso Sanchez, the authors suggested that trafficking in human beings for the purpose of organ removal (THBOR) remains largely absent from policy debates, as this crime is barely identified, reported and rarely investigated. They give the example of Lebanon where, in 2017, a number of cases related to organ trafficking were discovered. They were Syrian refugees frantically trying to support themselves and their families. They further mention that in 2018, the International Labor Organization (ILO) claimed that approximately 40 million people were victims of human trafficking, 90% of them for the purpose of sexual exploitation, while the remaining 10% was used for other purposes, including the removal of organs.
Like helpless women and children, refugees also belong to the most vulnerable category that can be subject to human/organ trafficking, especially when denied re-registration in as such in a second country by the United Nations, as happened with Pakistanis fleeing Syria. civil war and take refuge in Lebanon. Organ brokers find them most suitable for their nefarious activities as they are forced to sell their body parts as in the case of a seventeen-year-old Syrian boy, the only surviving male member who agreed to sell his kidney entitled to US$8,000 to support his family. mother and five sisters. The authors lament the lack of academic attention to this growing inhumane trade, as evidenced by the detection of only 700 THBOR victims from 25 countries between 2006 and 2019.
150 scientific researchers from 78 countries participated in the International Summit on Transplant Tourism and Organ Trafficking organized by the Transplant Society and the International Society of Nephrology in 2008. Popularly known as the Istanbul Declaration, it concluded that the transplant trade targeting vulnerable transplant tourism and organ trafficking should be banned urging governments to take concrete action to prevent the poor and vulnerable from being forced to sell their organs, but the fact is that governments around the world have paid little heed to these pleas as the trafficking in human beings and organs continues to increase unabated.
The writer, lawyer and co-author of numerous books, is an adjunct professor at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).