Human Trafficking The Modern Day Slavery of the 21st Century

Human Trafficking: The Modern Day Slavery of the 21st Century

Venisha McIntosh

Criminal Justice Program Keiser University

MACJ 501: Seminar in Criminal Justice

Dr. Arthur C. Jones

July 26, 2020


This journal article critique is on, Human Trafficking: The Modern Day Slavery of the 21st Century, by Job Elom Ngwe and O. Oko Elechi (2012). Human trafficking, also called trafficking in persons, form of modern-day slavery involving the illegal transport of individuals by force or deception for the purpose of labour, sexual exploitation, or activities in which others benefit financially CITATION Ste20 l 1033 (Steverson, 2020).

It is a modern day slavery because victims are exploited, manipulated, enslaved, stripped of their dignity, and many are coerced into doing crimes. Many victims are coerced into human trafficking because of the deception of promises such as; careers, better quality of life, and hope to become a citizen. It is estimated that approximately 1,000,000 people are trafficked each year globally and that between 20,000 and 50,000 are trafficked into the United States, which is one of the largest destinations for victims of the sex-trafficking trade CITATION Ste20 l 1033 (Steverson, 2020). A lot of cases go unreported. The following article will identify the violation of human rights, the different elements of human trafficking and the differences between human trafficking and human smuggling.

Description of the Research Problem

Many agree that human trafficking has become the modern day slavery. Human trafficking is slavery because it describes the situation where one individual exploits the labor of another person CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Slavery back in the day was about ownership. People owned other individuals and made them work. On the other hand; present day slavery (human trafficking), people are not owned, but their freedom is taking away because they cannot make their own decisions or walk away in fear of some type of retaliation (punishment).

According to CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012), there are essentially three aspects of modern slavery: severe economic exploitation, the absence of any framework of human rights, and the maintenance of control of one person over another by the prospect of reality of violence. The people that manipulate individuals into human trafficking, usually house individuals in deplorable places and give them little to no food. They are conditioned to think that they need them to survive. Many people who are victims of human trafficking are foreigners who are trying to make a better life for their families.

Modern day slavery is globalized CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Slaves are only kept for a certain amount of time and usually discarded or replaced with a new person. For the reason stated above; this puts the slave in a more precarious situation because the slave owner has no incentive to look after the slave and prolong his or her life and wellbeing to keep him or her productive for a longer period of time CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012).

Human smuggling is defined as the illegal transportation of a person or persons into another country. It is different than human trafficking because once the person reaches his or destination, they are free to go. Human smuggling usually is not a prolonged situation. People that choose to get smuggled into another country are evading immigration laws.

Human trafficking is often a crime that is hidden and a huge part of the underground economy. Victims of human trafficking are often reluctant to report their victimization or to cooperate with the law enforcement agents investigating the crime for myriad of reasons CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Many victims are unaware of the laws that protect them. In 2007, the United States of America State Department estimated the number of people trafficked annually across internal borders to be 800,000 CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Most human trafficked victims are woman and children. There are some adult male victims, but those victims are really under reported because of fear of the stigma that might come from reporting it. According to CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012), more than seventy percent of the female victims of human trafficking are coerced into the commercial sex industry. Citing the Polaris Project Washington, DC, TAASA says that more than 2000,000 children are trafficked into the sex industry in America each year CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012).


There have been several attempts in the history of the modern world to abolish slavery in all its form CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). This has never worked as slavery has always re-emerged in one form or another CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Some dimensions of modern day slavery include; debt bondage, sex slavery, and forced labor.

Debt bondage is where a poor person usually offers themselves or child/children as collateral for a loan. In return, the person works it off or whatever the loan giver says to do. The person never works off the debt because the loan giver adds interest to make it impossible for the person to pay off and never regain his or her freedom. This happens mostly in Southeast Asia CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012).

Sex slavery is the most common form of modern slavery. This form is involved woman and children who are forced into prostitution. Many brothers or husbands of force women into prostitution for monetary gain or for their own selfish gain. Again, this happens in Southeast Asia.

Forced labor is also a form of modern slavery because victims are recruited and forced to engage in such services as domestic work, construction and even human mine detectors CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Victims are recruited based on false promises and dreams that never happen.


To start, immigration laws have recently been changed under our current President. Many people who human trafficked often end up in another country such as; the United States, come here from poorer countries to seek a better life and better job opportunities. One of the main reasons is because some countries do not allow free movement of labor and causes an inefficient economy.

Human trafficking is rarely reported because victims do not feel safe enough to report it and fear of having to go back home to maybe even worse conditions. To add, some victims are abused or given some type of punishment to put more fear in their hearts to not report to local law enforcement agencies. Some victims are forced to commit crimes and work in the worse conditions because someone has literally sold him or her a dream.

Many people turn a blind eye to things that they see and that also plays a role in so many victims staying in human trafficking. It is hard for local law enforcement agencies or state agencies to identify victims of human trafficking without the help of the public. There are ways that people can help and stop the increase in human trafficking.


Government programs and any other agencies should provide aid to victims of human trafficking to help in the process of getting the victims on the right track. All officials should receive the proper training to help with victims of human trafficking. All the victims will need counselling of some form. Life after being in an enslaved environment can leave a person traumatized. The government should figure out the reasons the victims actually came to the country and assist them in reaching their goals at having a better life. It is necessary to have strong immigration laws to keep criminals out of the country. On the other hand, there are some people that try to become citizens in other countries because they actually want to work and help their families, but get denied and never get that chance.


Human trafficking is a major threat to global economic and political order CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). It is capable of destroying the already fragile economies and governments of the poorer countries CITATION Hum12 l 1033 (Ngwe & Elechi, 2012). Trafficking can be stopped if law enforcement officials are properly trained on how to identify a human trafficked victim and some of the locations of where one might be located. There has to be more awareness and solutions. A common myth is that people think slavery has ended; it is still around, but sadly has taken a new form.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E., & DeJong, C. (2019). The American System of Criminal Justice, Sixteeth Edition. Boston: Cengage.

Homeland Security. (2020, July 19). What is Human Trafficking? Retrieved from Blue Campaign:

Ngwe, J. E., & Elechi, O. O. (2012). Human Trafficking: The Modern Day Slavery Of The 21st Century. African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies.

Steverson, L. A. (2020, July 19). Human Trafficking. Retrieved from Britannica: