State of Human Trafficking Legislation around the World

The scenario is tough – while human trafficking is on the rise and continues to grow, governments are falling behind when it comes to prevention. Some countries have created policies to combat this problem, but others are way behind with no counter-trafficking laws.

United States

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was authorized almost two decades back. It was the very first federal law to address sex and labor trafficking in the United States – it constituted of measures focusing on prevention and protection for trafficking survivors, as well as prosecution for traffickers. The TVPA was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2016 the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization (TVPRA). It holds government contractors responsible for using foreign labor recruiters that use exploited labor, helps law enforcement prevent and prosecute sex tourism, and creates a grant-making program to prevent trafficking in humanitarian crises. Some states have enforced strict legislation. For instance, a Human Trafficking Task Force was created in Massachusetts to protect victims of trafficking and severely punishes those using the Internet as a trafficking tool. But Wyoming has only just caught up by passing House Bill 133, which details trafficking legislation and will be passed onto the Senate.

South Korea

This country meets the minimum standards for preventing human trafficking, which is why it holds the status of being at Tier 1 level in the United States Trafficking in Persons Report. But labor exploitation and trafficking in factories still loom over the horizon, with migrant workers and vulnerable locals being abused and falling ill. The Punishment of Acts Arranging Sexual Traffic and its Labor Standards Act places harsh sentences on traffickers, but there is no clear legislation defining trafficking.

India

As many as 200,000 Indian children are trafficked every year! They are coerced into domestic servitude or labor in brick kilns or embroidery factories. Even though there are government- sponsored Anti-Trafficking Units set up to investigate human trafficking cases, laws aren’t enforced as strictly as they should be. Since India is a large and regionally diverse country, a universal trafficking law doesn’t really hold weight, which is one of the major issues. Other factors like corruption and lack of training and resources make it difficult to ensure that programs are effective. However, the U.S. State Department has encouraged India to carry on with their efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking and establish anti-trafficking courts to prosecute offenders on local levels.

Cambodia

The Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation came into effect so that Cambodia would be compliant with U.S. anti-trafficking recommendations. However, this law has been criticized for conflating sex work and human trafficking, making those who engage in sex work either go into hiding or be at risk for prosecution. Another challenge is to distinguish between those who are trafficked and participating by choice – Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia, so sex work is at times considered economically rational.

Sweden

According to the Kvinnofrid law, you are punishable if you buy sex, but not if you sell sex. The law was perceived this way because authorities believed it would reduce human trafficking and curb demand for prostitution. The downside to such laws is they force sex workers to operate “from the shadows” but don’t really reduce number of trafficking cases.

Human trafficking survivors don’t have it easy, as they have to overcome trauma (years of it at times), and other conflicting emotions like guilt, shame, anxiety, etc. and started living normal lives once again. Even if they manage to come out of that vicious cycle, they are still victims in away, because the physical and mental damage is already done. At More Too Life, we provide survivors with a fresh start with the aid of therapy, counseling, exercise, yoga, and meditation, while educating and empowering them to move ahead in life. We also liaise with experts to prepare them for upcoming trials and eventually get justice for everything they have been through.