The Government Can Do More To Stop Human Trafficking

The Government Can Do More To Stop Human Trafficking

Are there effective laws to help combat human trafficking in the United States?

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Slavery hides within many places in the modern world, including developed countries. Many adults and children are victims of human trafficking in the United States, but just how much is the government involved with extinguishing the issue? Mark P. Lagon and Laila Mickelwait wrote, "The U.S. Government Turns a Blind Eye to Policies That Fuel Sex Trafficking," to convey how they believe that there are currently ineffective laws to combat human trafficking in the United States. On the other hand, Alex Trouteaud wrote, "Anti-human Trafficking Laws Have Made Great Progress," in order to express his views on how he believes that there are enough effective laws in the United States to combat human trafficking. Although their views may differ when it comes to the amount of effective legislation in America in combatting against human trafficking, they reach common ground through one aspect: human trafficking grows with the demand for commercial sex.

To begin, Mark P. Lagon and Laila Mickelwait contend that the government's legislation is not effective in combatting human trafficking. Lagon and Mickelwait express that "year after year, the department sidesteps the most critical aspect" (Langon and Mickelwait 1) of setting sustainable efforts in eliminating the trafficking issue. They claim that although there are laws in place for the purpose of abolishing the issue, "it seems the department doesn't want to ruffle feathers by turning words into action" (Langon and Mickelwait 1).

The authors analyze the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and express that their law is outdated in their methods of reducing sex trafficking crimes because they do not assess sex consuming laws. They argue that "it is high time to stop saying "boys will be boys" and recognize that abolishing sex trafficking requires placing the stigma on the purchaser rather than the commodified women and girls they buy" (Langon and Mickelwait 1).

In other words, they believe that even when the government recognizes the problem, they are not taking enough action to help prevent sex trafficking culture from growing because the negative connotation has been placed on the victims, rather than the traffickers. Their argument in this context appeals to government and legislation because it gives insight over how some people may feel over current human trafficking legislation.

In contrast to Lagon and Mickelwait's article, Alex Trouteaud stands in disagreement with the claim that human trafficking legislation in the United States is not effective. Trouteaud, as a "Director of Policy and Research for Demand Abolition, an organization that fights to combat the illegal commercial sex industry in the U.S.," (Trouteaud 2) notices that the government is taking the necessary action to improve human trafficking legislation. Thus, throughout his argument, he says that "members of Congress… are writing smarter laws that address the problem at its roots" (Trouteaud 1). Traditional laws have not effectively addressed the human trafficking issue because they have not targeted the root of the problem. But, because Congress identified the source, they have since updated their policy. According to Trouteaud, the government established The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act to help fund operations that seize traffickers. In addition, he claims that they have implemented the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prevent the demand for sex from women and children from rising. To Trouteaud, he believes that only when Congress had updated their policies by holding commercial sex buyers accountable for their actions, have the human trafficking laws been most effective. Therefore, in this context, his argument gives insight to those who feel as if human trafficking laws are ineffective.

Despite the differing views between Lagon and Mickelwait's claim, and Trouteau's views on whether or not human trafficking laws are effective, there is common ground. Both sides have identified the main source of the growing sex trafficking culture, which is due to the high demand for commercial sex. Lagon and Mickelwait use an economic theory of supply and demand by stating that "when a country allows for the legal purchase of sex, demand increases, as does the supply of women and girls needed to meet that demand" (Lagon and Mickelwait 1). Lagon and Mickelwait have been appalled by the results, and state a call to action for the government to recognize the root of the problem. Furthermore, Trouteaud stated that "high frequency buyers, who purchase sex dozens of times each year, are responsible for three of every four transactions in the illegal sex trade" (Trouteaud 1). Trouteaud has identified that the government has found the root of the human trafficking problem, similar to what Lagon and Mickelwait have identified. By both authors holding the same supply and demand theory, and attitude over the identification of the root of the problem, a common ground is reached.

Although Lagon and Mickelwait's views and Trousseau's claim prove to be opposing ends of the human trafficking legislation argument, a compromise can be reached. Since the concerns between both sides address the effectiveness of the human trafficking legislation and are within the same vicinity, which is over the concern of the effectiveness of the law, a solution can be made. The concerns between both sides may be addressed if they are willing to listen to the opposing point of view. In that way, they may find that because both sides agree in the common root of the sex trafficking issue, people in the United States can continue to push for more effective legislation that targets the problem of the high demand for commercial sex.

Thus, the government can pass more effective bills to create better laws for combatting human trafficking and ultimately, protect those who are most vulnerable as victims.

Works Cited

Lagon, Mark P., and Laila Mickelwait. "The U.S. Government Turns a Blind Eye to Policies

That Fuel Sex Trafficking." The Washington Post, WP Company, 1 Feb. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-government-.... Accessed 15 Mar. 2019

Trouteaud, Alex. "Anti-Trafficking Laws Have Made Great Progress." TheHill, 17 Aug. 2017,

thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/crime/346642-anti-trafficking-laws-have-made-great-progress. Accessed 13 Mar. 2019

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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