Total Article : 213
About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
As human trafficking is an obscure, grey area of our socio-political understandings, it is no surprise that a central difficulty in fighting the crime derives from lack of data and imprecise information gathering techniques. An overwhelming disparity of estimations exist in books, on governmental documents, NGO websites and reports ranging from 27 million people being part of the global human (Bales 2004) trade to 12.3 million. (Smith 2011, 272). Internal charitable organisations are aware that if a drop in crime rates is indicated, the international response may be halted. There is therefore a constant case of the ‘advocacy value of numbers’ which is used by NGOs to ensure human trafficking sits at the top of the political agenda. That is why charities list astonishingly morose figures of human trafficking, without correctly indicating the source it derives from. On this note, one may question whether a mere estimation in numbers should be of concern when fighting human trafficking – as surely if inflation of estimates leads to increased awareness then the issue can be tackled more effectively. Rationally this would make sense, yet in a world of legislations shaped by actions the theory is latent at best. As
Kriistina Kanbgaspunta (2003) endeavours to clarify, numbers do indeed count as they shape policies and dictate actions from the international community. Indeed incorrect data leads to impartial views and inadequate descriptions which become visible in policy that rarely address the matter at stake. Without acknowledging the current numeric approximations made in policy speeches, on websites and in official reports, the prospect of defeating the criminal network becomes highly improbable as we lack a detailed – if only partial – insight on it. Another issue with data is that one is obliged to view it critically, as history has shown even national official will manipulate data; as was the case of the ‘dodge dossier’, when former British Prime Minister Blair’s official collated document arguing the possibility of Iraq having weapons of destruction took its findings from a student’s thesis.
Another issue with data collection is the methodologies employed. Indeed researchers must admit a lack of impartiality when addressing victims of human trafficking. These persons partake in the category of hidden groups, defined as ‘a group of individuals for whom the size and boundaries are unknown, and for whom no sampling frame exists’ (data article, p. 18).
The very definition of human trafficking proves troublesome, as indeed a grey area of confusion lingers between human trafficking and human smuggling. A definition at the international level of human trafficking can be ‘the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation’. On a regional and national level however, definitions change in shape and form. The UK opted out of the Schengen Agreement and part of the Amsterdam treaty which calls for free movement within union’s ‘community’ pillar (Geddes 2000). The UK is ranked by the USA as Tier 1 on The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which signifies the UK complies with all the minimum requirements and the National Vigilance Association is tasked with monitoring the crime. These figures differ greatly from those of Malaysia and Syria, which are both ranked in Tier 3 as not complying with international minimal requirements, whereas Somalia remains the sole ‘special case’ as due to its own nation’s turbulence requires special attention (Human Trafficking Tier Placement 2014). Bearing these elements in mind, I have much respect for the efforts of intelligence analysts, police and forensic scientists worldwide who work overtime to gather as much information as they can to save lives.