Human trafficking compare and contrast essay

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Every person has a right to be safe and free. In addition, humans are entitled to live a dignified life. However, this has not been the case in some regions of Asia. It has been established that people have been denied their fundamental rights to living a dignified life by either being forced or lured into substandard lives through human trafficking. For years, people mostly women and children have been subjected to adverse lives by being transited to different destinations within their countries or abroad for exploitation purposes. In most parts of South Asia, although human trafficking has been banned and is a criminal offense, perpetrators have continued to practice this vice to prosper their ill intentions. In fact, human trafficking has been used as a source of slaves for factories and girls for prostitution. In this regard, this paper aims at making a comparison between on the state of human Thailand and Cambodia. This study aims to obtain an in-depth understanding on the severity of the situation of human trafficking in the two countries by looking at issues like legislation made, progresses on reducing it, the involvement of international bodies among other key factors in order to draw an objective conclusion on human trafficking in the two countries.

The human trafficking crisis can be best put into context by first understanding what defines human trafficking. The Trafficking Protocol defines the Trafficking of Persons as the hiring, carriage, handover, sheltering, or receiving of people forcefully, by use of intimidations, duress, deception, or by means of the abuse of power or through extension or receiving of payments to obtain agreement to have control over another person for manipulation reasons (UN Human Rights). Manipulation or exploitation has been outlined to constitute various activities that include among other things any form of sexual exploitation, forced services of servitude or removal of organs. It has been argued that the approval of the victim to be subjected to human trafficking during use of any of the aforementioned methods shall be deemed to be null and void especially when a person’s freedom is being taken away.

The perpetrators of human trafficking in Cambodia and Thailand are a rampant activity. In Thailand for instance, of the four million migrants’ population, it is estimated that 90 percent come from the neighboring countries (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). Majority of these people have been said to have entered the country irregularly through use of force, deception or manipulation while in transit. Although trafficking occurs for a variety of reasons in Thailand, the most common one is labor trafficking with children being the most vulnerable. These victims are forced to work in fishing industries and also in construction sites. Other than labor, victims have also been brought to Thailand for sexual exploitation. Recently, Pajjuban Aungkachotephan, a former Thai regional officer surrendered himself to the police in Bangkok having been sought for human trafficking (France-Presse, Agence). This had happened following a Thai crackdown that had ensured after secret jungle camps had been discovered in the south of Thailand. Many immigrants had also been discovered abandoned in wobbly water vessels in the Andaman Sea.

The severity of human trafficking continues to be observed in Thailand in the number of arrests that have been made in the recent past. In July 2017, a highly ranked ex-general together with more than sixty others were sentenced and sent to prison for being part of a human trafficking offense involving Bangladeshis and Rohingya speaking Muslims (Associated Press). Apart from making the arrests, the government has been a high rate of investigation in which the Prime Minister of Thailand has been observed at set deadlines for the crackdown of the illicit trade one point. During this period in which Thailand had been ranked lowest in anti-trafficking efforts, two men had been arrested having detained 13 Rohingya Muslims.  In addition to undertaking crackdowns and making the arrests, the CSR Asia outlined human trafficking as the subject of discussion during the CSR Asia summit that was being held in Bangkok in September 2017 (The nation). This, therefore, shows that the human trafficking in Thailand is on a huge scale and hence there is need to put measures to avert its perpetration.

On the hand, the situation in Cambodia seems to be taking an almost similar trend to that of Thailand. In Cambodia, reports have shown that victims of human trafficking endure torture and abuse for years during their years of victimization (Mainichi Daily News). Victims have been observed to spend several years in underground impenetrable cellars. Women have been subjected to extreme torture mechanisms and sexual exploitation. During this period some have been required to receive more than 15 men a day failure to which they are beaten and starved (Morris, Kylie). In particular instance, a young girl who was trafficked from Cambodia to Thailand was forced into prostitution after her initial job of selling fruits failed to bring enough profits to her ‘boss’. Similarly, another young girl kidnapped and sold to a brothel in the capital of Cambodia at a tender age of 13 has been recorded recount her ordeal on how she was tied and tortured including the use of an electric current until she acquiesced (Corben, Ron). To this end, although there seems to be a similarity in the occurrence of human trafficking in Thailand and Cambodia, the cases observed in Cambodia seem are extreme and more inclined towards trafficking of young girls for prostitution.

However, there seems to be a similarity in the rate at which both countries are making arrests. In 2005, the Cambodian police raided a hotel and arrested two women, one acting as a broker to the other was a pimp. In another instance, police were observed to have arrested a 39-year-old woman who had allegedly bought a one-month-old baby for $50 who was to be smuggled into Malaysia through Thailand (Langer, Annette). Girls victimized by human trafficking have also been rescued through organizations such as the Somaly Mam Foundation that helps to rehabilitate them. Although the evidence available shows a high rate of human trafficking in both countries there are similarities that show efforts to reduce the activities of human trafficking.

According to statistics carried out in 2006, there had been an estimated number of more than seventy thousand unauthorized Cambodian migrants in Thailand that were discovered in the border of Thailand.  In a 2008 report by the International Labor Organization, it was indicated that almost two hundred thousand irregular migrant laborers were caught in 2006 (UNODC).  Recently, in 2013 studies showed that about four-fifths of the irregular immigrants from Cambodia were smuggled to Thailand, an estimated amount of fifty-five thousand annually. On the other hand, it has been estimated that more than six thousand migrants enter into Thailand on a daily basis (UNODC). In a 2013 report indicated that in a period of five years, Lao PDR lost about fifteen thousand people as a result of migration.

Human trafficking has various effects on the individuals, family members, and even country. In both Thailand and Cambodia, individuals are forced or lured into working in as fishermen and or in factories. In addition, victims especially girls most of which are under age have been traumatized by the experiences that they are taken through during the abduction. They are tortured through beatings and other extreme modes such as being electrified and being tied for long hours. Memories of the experiences of exposure to prostitution are permanent. Some victims end up contracting sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, others have died on the way during the processes of being transported. Because of poverty, some mothers have opted to sell their children into prostitution and servitude in order to survive. Family members have been involuntarily alienated from their children in hopes that their children will have better jobs or will be living in the better environment.

The effect of human trafficking is also seen in the rise of corruption and involvement of celebrities and government officials in the scandal. In Thailand for instance, a modeling director, Panwarot Kuabkoom, thirty-four years old was arrested for perpetrating human trafficking activities with an objective of profiting from sexual activities performed by minors (The Nation). On the other hand, an ex-official in Thai region who was also arrested has been a kingpin in the operations of human trafficking for several years. Reports have also indicated that corruption in Cambodia has been a major hindrance to the anti-trafficking efforts. Officials in the government have been observed to turn a blind on activities relating to human trafficking. In fact, officials in the government have a tendency to avoid inquiry and trial for cases that involved human trafficking. In the year 2015, a conviction against a former anti-trafficking chief of police made in 2011 had been overturned. Such instances observed in the two countries can play a key role in facilitating the prevalence of corruption.

Various measures have been undertaken in the Cambodia and also in Thailand to tackle the problem of human trafficking. In Cambodia for instance, measures have been taken through film and entertainment to create awareness amongst the people of Cambodia and also abroad on human trafficking and why it should be mitigated. In 2013, a film showed how fishermen who had been trafficked retold their ordeals and how they managed to survive in the sea (Sassoon, Alessandro). The film producer tells a story through media in an anti-trafficking program. In another occasion in 2016, a yearly short film festival called Chaktomuk was organized in the capital of Cambodia with a theme of human trafficking and migration. These undertakings by use of performing arts are part of the ways in which Cambodia is using to sensitize the public.

On another occasion, Cambodia has been observed to be set marriages restrictions against foreigners. For two instances, Cambodia set a temporary ban that restricted Cambodian women from being married abroad. In 2010, the government was informed that there was the use of an illegal commission by brokers to connect women in Cambodia who had wanted to get married to South Korean men (Kunthear, Mom, and Will Baxter).Earlier in 2008, the government of Cambodia had set a similar ban that took eight months with the main aim of combating human trafficking that had been cited by a report released in the previous year.

On the other hand, Thailand has also taken measures that are slightly different from those in Cambodia. One of the measures was the introduction of a global phone number by the government for human trafficking victims. This move that was made on September 2017 by the Social Development in conjunction with the Ministry of Human Security ensures that any victims around the globe could establish contact with the government and hence to ensure more timely response (The nation). In addition, to setting a contact line, Thailand has also organized summits that particularly focus on the topic of human trafficking. According to a statement from the founder of CSR Asia, the organization that planned for the September Summit, human trafficking was a problem that required an immediate attention.

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The countries have also set up regulations that restrict the human trafficking. In Cambodia, one who is found guilty in the activities of either trading or exchange of a person will warrant a punishment of two to five years imprisonment. On the hand, a convicted person on the crime of trading a person with the intent of profit-making, sexual violence, filming of pornography or any other gain will be imprisoned for a period of not less than seven years with the maximum term being fifteen years (“Criminal Code of the Kingdom of Cambodia”). Additionally, the aforementioned offense will attract a higher penalty of fifteen to twenty years if the victim is below the age of eighteen, the offense is perpetrated by a public official who is proved to be abusing his office or if the act is done by an organized group. Other more stringent regulations have also been stipulated in chapter 2 of the law reforms on the Cambodian Human Trafficking Act.

In conclusion, it has been observed from the foregoing study that human trafficking remains to be a critical issue in the countries of Cambodia and Thailand. Although human trafficking is a common phenomenon in both countries, it is noticed that the rate of human trafficking mainly for prostitution and sexual exploitation in Cambodia is rampant. Various government institutions have made a lot of effort including the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators by the government. In addition, there are programs that have been organized to sensitize the public on the issues of human trafficking. In some scenarios modes of contact with the victims have been established. Also, legal measures have been put in place to make sure those who break the law are convicted with harsh punishments. Although all these measures have been made, there is still more that needs to be undertaken by both countries to reduce the rate of human trafficking that is increasing at a high rate in some areas.

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  1. Associated Press. “Raid By Thai Police Exposes Human Trafficking Ring.” NDTV.Com, 2014, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/raid-by-thai-police-exposes-human-trafficking-ring-585964
  2.  Corben, Ron. “Human Trafficking Conference Calls For Action Against Corruption, Weak Law Enforcement.” VOA, 2006, http://www.voanews.com/content/a-13-2006-05-22-voa9/324966.html
  3. France-Presse, Agence. “Thai Human Trafficking ‘Kingpin’ Hands Himself In: Police.” NDTV.Com, 2015, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/thai-human-trafficking-kingpin-hands-himself-in-police-764055
  4. France-Presse, Agence. “Thai Human Trafficking ‘Kingpin’ Hands Himself In: Police.” NDTV.Com, 2015, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/thai-human-trafficking-kingpin-hands-himself-in-police-764055
  5.  Kingdom of Cambodia, “Criminal Code Of The Kingdom Of Cambodia..” vol 2, no.7  KHM-2010-L-93343, 2010,
  6. Langer, Annette. “Child Trafficking In Cambodia: The $50 Baby.” SPIEGEL ONLINE, 2005, http://www.spiegel.de/international/child-trafficking-in-cambodia-the-50-baby-a-339105.html
  7. Mainichi Daily News. “The Future Group: Cambodian Police Raid Hotel, Rescue Three Girls from Sex Trade.” Thefuturegroup.Blogspot.Co.Ke, 2005, http://thefuturegroup.blogspot.co.ke/2005/09/cambodian-police-raid-hotel-rescue.html
  8. Morris, Kylie. “BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Khmer Girls’ Trafficking Ordeal.” News.Bbc.Co.Uk, 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4599709.stm.
  9. Reuters, Thomson. “Thailand Races To Meet Deadline To Uncover Human Trafficking Camps.” NDTV.Com, 2005, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/thailand-races-to-meet-deadline-to-uncover-human-trafficking-camps-761668.
  10. The nation. “CSR Asia Summit 2017; Human Trafficking And How Corporations Can Help – The Nation.” The Nation, 2017, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/event/30325949.
  11. The nation. “CSR Asia Summit 2017; Human Trafficking And How Corporations Can Help – The Nation.” The Nation, 2017, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/event/30325949.
  12. The Nation. “Modelling Agency Boss Surrenders On Human-Trafficking Charges – The Nation.” The Nation, 2017, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30327227.
  13. UN Human Rights. “Human Rights and Human Trafficking.” vol 36, 2014, p. 2. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FS36_en.pdf.
  14. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “New UNODC Report Sheds Light on The Phenomenon Of Human Trafficking Into Thailand – The Nation.” The Nation, 2017, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30323415
  15. UNODC. “Trafficking In Persons From Cambodia, Lao PDR And Myanmar To Thailand.” UNODC, 2017, pp. 7,88. http://: www.unodc.org/southeastasiaandpacific
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