January 2017



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By Bryna Rabehl, Research Assistant

The relationship between drugs and human trafficking is incredibly complex and varied. The multifaceted ways in which drugs intersect with and integrate within human trafficking cannot be confined to a single overlap. Moving away from the common tendency to study these forms of trade as separate, or narrowly linked, an examination of the ongoing war on drugs occurring in the Philippines must be performed as extrajudicial killings continue, incarceration increases, and the drug trade inevitably shifts.

Recruiting and Retaining Victims

Drugs can serve as a tool to recruit individuals for exploitation and can be used to force a victim to comply with demands, work longer hours, and with more intensity. This can exacerbate a victim’s reliance and dependency on their trafficker. Many individuals addicted to drugs may enter the trade to support their habits, and subsequently fall under the control of the individuals who have trafficked them.

In Davao City, the cost of methamphetamines has nearly doubled due to the risks faced by individuals who sell drugs. Filipinos facing addiction may be more desperate to locate illicit substances and may become indebted to suppliers due to the increased costs. On the other hand, the increased costs may prove to be unprofitable as a tool for retaining trafficking victims when compared to the profit that can be made from selling the illicit drugs at their inflated price.

Low Risk, High Profit

Confronting the growing risks of detention and death associated with the drug trade, many former drug traffickers may choose to enter into the arena of human trafficking instead. The risks associated with human trafficking are significantly lower than those of the illicit drug trade as there are much fewer international and domestic controls used to address these threats. For criminal groups that have pre-existing businesses within human trafficking and the drug market, the shift to a less risky, more profitable focus solely within human trafficking could be advantageous.

Supply and Demand

The drug trade requires a constant resupplying of their illicit products, and those products can only be sold once. Humans on the other hand, can be exploited repeatedly without the need for further investment. The Philippines claims a 90% cut in illegal drug supply as a result of their war on drugs. While this statistic may be debatable, the fact still stands that drug traffickers and users are being targeted at high rates. This has led to increased killings and incarceration, resulting in a decimated user market and a suppressed demand.

Corruption

Corruption is a key factor contributing to human trafficking and the drug trade. President Rodrigo Duterte has noted this corruption through his insistence on moving beyond targeting street-level pushers, and towards drug lords and corrupt officials as well. Corruption among officials within human trafficking has been pervasive and remains a consistent obstacle to eradication within the Philippines. The incentives for corrupt officials to engage in human trafficking remains steady, leaving little changed in the dismantling of corrupt networks connected to human trafficking. As the fight against drugs increases, attention may continue to shift away from human trafficking.

Counter Drug Policies

As can be seen through the government of Thailand’s counter narcotic policy, policies can have negative impacts on human trafficking when not met with supplemental economic programs. As a result of Thailand’s counter narcotic policies, tribal communities that had become dependent on the profits earned from the illicit drug trade were faced with limited financial opportunities. As a result, the trafficking of young women in these areas swelled.

Drug Smuggling

Human traffickers also exploit victims of trafficking to smuggle drugs across borders. Due to the prevalence and priority of prosecuting drug offences, when these individuals are caught, they are most often prosecuted on drug related charges, and their status as a victim of human trafficking is rarely considered. This drug-focused prosecution has augmented a high-profit, low-risk industry for traffickers as seen through the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a victim of trafficking from the Philippines who was arrested for smuggling heroin into Indonesia. For traffickers who use victims as drug mules, Veloso’s currently undecided case has the potential to highlight the risks, or lack thereof, involved with the drug smuggling industry through the use of trafficked individuals.

In the case of the Philippines, strong and fear-inducing drug policies have been met with low risk and stagnant human trafficking policies. Under the Duterte administration’s narrow focus on the drug war, an opportunity for expansion and adaptation through pre-existing links within criminal groups has the potential to present itself in new and innovative ways.

 

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the position of the HTC

Photo Credit: TheDigitalWay via Pixabay

 


About the Human Trafficking Center

The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.

 

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Post Summary: 

David Henriksen has been a sponsor with World Vision since 2003 and is the CEO of iDisciple.

Today, he writes about what is most powerful about seeing the faces of his sponsored children, and ponders how Jesus sees the faces of the people in our world.

In late October of 2016, I had the privilege and opportunity to speak at World Vision’s weekly chapel. I have spoken hundreds of times in front of large crowds, but I was unusually nervous for this one. I have been a child sponsor with World Vision since 2003 and now work for iDisciple, a corporate partner to World Vision.

Category: 





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By Catie Fowler, Projects Manager

Donald Trump’s unexpected rise to power continues to take the world by surprise in new ways. Though his election victory may have come as an initial shock, the negative impact his proposed legislation could have on forced labor reform should come as less of one. If Mr. Trump’s tough on crime and tough on immigration rhetoric is any indication, his policies will contribute to the country’s continued reliance on the federal prison system as a tool for reform.  On the local level, Colorado’s rejection of proposed Amendment T, restricting forced labor in the state prison system, mirrors what is likely to happen on the federal level.  Last year’s election outcomes promise to have significant ramifications in the fight against forced labor as it takes place within the United States of America.

Mass Incarceration and Forced Labor

The U.S. currently maintains the highest rate of incarceration in the world.  The nation represents only 4.4% of the world population and yet houses an approximate 22% of its prisoners.  This is relevant to the fight against forced labor because, both in the state of Colorado and at the federal level, slavery is still technically allowed to exist in U.S. prisons.  On the federal level, this is allowed by Amendment 13 to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Supposedly meant to lead to the abolition of slavery in 1865, the exception provided by Amendment 13 and by similar legislation in the Colorado state constitution means that slavery is still legal in the U.S. so long as it is used as a punishment for a crime.  As the U.S. continues to disproportionately incarcerate people of color, this means that the forced labor that occurs in the U.S. prison system carries with it an eerie echo of the nation’s long history of the enslavement of black-bodied people.  Historically, this has included the convict leasing system in which black prisoners were literally rented out to plantation owners after the Civil War.

Colorado’s Amendment T

Forced labor also continues to be legal on the local level within state-funded prisons.  While last year’s election saw the the proposal of Colorado’s Amendment T to end forced labor in Colorado state prisons, the amendment failed to pass.  Amendment T would have altered the provision in the Colorado state constitution, which reads, “There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” removing the latter half permitting forced labor as a form of legal punishment.  The amendment lost the vote by less than 2%.

Presidential Policy Implications

On the federal level, it seems we will see not only a continuation of forced labor in prisons, but potentially an increase in the use of those prisons as well.  President-elect Trump’s victory was rapidly followed by an increase in investment in private prison stocks.  Trump promises to be a tough-on-crime candidate, which explains the upsurge in privatized prison investment that followed his victory.  He encourages an increase in private prisons, stating “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations, and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better.”  This threatens to undo the movement to phase out private prisons that began last year, after findings that private prisons were more dangerous than federal ones.

The President-elect also promises to be tough on immigration, so the increasing need for private prisons would be augmented by the additional demand for new ICE detention centers to house the 4 million immigrants that Trump promises to deport once in office.  The change would go hand-in-hand with Trump’s 100 Day Initiative, in which he promises to introduce a new “End Illegal Immigration Act,” fund the construction of a wall along the southern border of the country, and impose prison penalties for illegal entry into the states.  In this way, Trump’s policies on immigration will have a distinct impact on forced labor as well.

As a self-proclaimed leader of the free world, the United States should examine the way its federal and state policies lead to forced labor.  Only when every citizen of the U.S. has the right to be free from slavery or involuntary servitude, regardless of whether they have committed a crime, can we to claim ourselves an international model for freedom.  It will require constant vigilance and pressure from those who stand for human rights–on this and many other issues–to ensure that the U.S. upholds that example under its new administration.

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the position of the HTC

Photo via Pixabay

 

For additional information on Mr. Trump’s policy positions and how they intersect with human trafficking more generally, please see our latest blog.  

If you would like to learn more about prison labor in the U.S. please see our blog on the topic from last year.

 


About the Human Trafficking Center

The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.

 

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.


This post was originally published on this site

 

By Leanne McCallum, Human Trafficking Index Project Manager

With less than a week until his inauguration day, President-elect Donald Trump has yet to publicly address human trafficking as a policy issue. As his inauguration day draws near, the question lingers: what will anti-trafficking policy look like under the Trump administration? By decoding Trump’s business’s history related to human trafficking, and his administration’s current policy views on related topics, strong indicators of what his anti-trafficking action could look like are revealed.

Why has Trump kept silent about human trafficking?

Human trafficking is an issue that has historically garnered bipartisan fanfare on the campaign trail. For example this election cycle drew anti-trafficking positions from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. Despite this fact, human trafficking is one of the few policy areas about which President-elect Trump has remained uncharacteristically tight-lipped. Some have claimed that he is employing strategic ambiguity on human rights issues in order to avoid further backlash for his views. According to George Hawley, “Donald Trump [is] vague on how he would actually govern as president. He has made many seemingly contradictory statements that can be interpreted in multiple ways.” This strategy has allowed him to maintain plausible deniability about contentious issues, throw off political opponents with misdirections, and sustain backing from supporters by appealing to their various interests. For issues related to human trafficking like immigration, security, and civil rights he has consistently used strategic ambiguity. In the case of human trafficking itself, however, President-elect Trump has simply not addressed the topic at all. This is in spite of the fact that he has talked extensively about issues inextricably linked to human trafficking, and the fact that it is an uncontroversial human rights issue to support – making his silence all the more puzzling.

His quiescence on the issue could be on account of his business’s continuous connection to human trafficking headlines. The Trump Organization has had several labor trafficking and exploitation related scandals, including: numerous lawsuits involving wage garnishing or non-payment of Trump Hotel contractors, accounts of substandard wages and living conditions for construction workers on its Dubai building sites, and accusations of misusing work visas and withholding passports of Trump Model Management models. If these allegations are correct, it would mean that the Trump Organization has committed several forms of labor trafficking as outlined by the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000). This negative publicity is a possible source of his uncharacteristically mum attitude toward a generally favored policy issue. Regardless of whether or not Trump and his businesses did engage in human trafficking or exploitative labor practices, his appointment of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to Secretary of State confirms that he will encourage a big business, deal-driven mindset in his administration. Trump Organization and Exxon are examples of corporations that have massive labor supply chains and a bottom line of ‘getting the most done for the least amount of money’. This means that they are reliant upon cheap labor, and sometimes inadvertently upon forced labor or exploited labor, in order to achieve the bottom line. This business focus will likely make a direct impact on many of the policy positions the Trump administration will take.

Trump administration on immigration policy

Immigration is inherently connected to human trafficking because of its effect on migratory flows, human smuggling, irregular migration, and vulnerable populations. President-elect Trump has taken a strong position against illegal immigration. His plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and to deport 2-3 million illegal immigrants has been steadfast since his campaign began. Most recently, he has pledged that he will start by deporting criminals, and then will decide in the future what to do with law-abiding aliens. Trump has used the term ‘criminal’ ambiguously, causing concern among immigrant populations. Trump has most recently advocated for a ban on Muslim immigrants (based on country of origin) with the intent of stopping terrorists from entering the US. Trump’s criticism of President Obama’s refugee policy suggest he will limit regular, legal migration for vulnerable populations like refugees. Trump has also stated he wants to limit highly skilled foreign workers from entering the country and taking American jobs. His Attorney General Nominee former Governor Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) has shown a long history of echoing similar sentiments to reduce legal migration pathways, block refugees from resettlement, and to punish illegal immigrants.

Many immigrant rights activists warn that this is a form of discrimination that could force people from unstable countries like Syria to be forced further toward irregular migration. Since many trafficking victims begin as migrants, immigration policy has a direct affect on the avenues through which vulnerable populations migrate. By limiting the access to legal migration while simultaneously punishing illegal immigrants more harshly, Trump’s policies create a closed-door environment. The nexus between human trafficking victims and illegal aliens can make foreign national trafficking victims both victims and criminal simultaneously, leaving these people in an odd position per Mr.Trump’s proposed immigration policy.

Trump administration’s positions on national security and law enforcement

Law enforcement and national security are integral aspects of anti-trafficking efforts, because these agencies are the ‘boots on the ground’ implementing anti-trafficking efforts and framing the way that crime ought to be addressed. President-elect Trump has taken a hardline anti-drug, anti-crime approach to law enforcement.Trump has consistently praised state and local law enforcement for their hard work, and has tasked them with a major role of enforcement for his immigration plans and tough anti-crime policy. He has also expressed support for moving back toward privatized prison systems – a system which some believe is a legalized form of slavery  because it exploits prisoner labor for profit. According to the Generation Freedom campaign, Trump surrogate Sam Clovis told them that, “we have to be able to enforce the laws that we have in this land and also to secure our borders and to control the trafficking that comes across our borders, into our ports, and into our airports.”  His emphasis on security and law enforcement is likely to define his administration’s approach to human trafficking.

Despite his tough talk on crime and justice, Mr.Trump has had scathing critiques of the intelligence community and the security field. His critique of the intel community’s involvement leading to the Iraq War, and more recently their role gathering information on the Russian election hacking scandal, has undermined the credibility of the field. It is unclear whether he will mend the relationship and utilize them, or if he will downsize their role in national security. However, Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary appointee General John F. Kelly could provide strong leadership against human trafficking. Gen. Kelly has disagreed with Trump on several key issues. In regards to the Mexico border wall, Gen. Kelly said during one appointment hearing that “A physical barrier in and of itself will not do the job. It has to be a layered defense,” and he emphasized the need to build partnerships with Latin American countries in order to combat drug and human trafficking. His commitment to border security and to curtailing criminal enterprise indicates that he will be focused on anti-trafficking efforts if given autonomy over his agencies. His role as a keynote speaker at an international anti-trafficking conference in 2014 also suggests he has a personal interest in this issue.

Trump administration on civil rights and human rights

Civil rights are an integral part to preventing human trafficking, because vulnerable populations are the most exploitable at the hands of human traffickers. Since he began his campaign, Mr.Trump has been accused of racism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, sexism, islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination throughout his celebrityhood and his campaign. These forms of discrimination are avenues through which perpetrators can further compound a victim’s vulnerability, making them more susceptible to exploitation. By utilizing this language, President-elect Trump has normalized the marginalization of whole identity groups. Most recently, Mr.Trump has followed the republican party’s platform on most civil rights issues. For example, he has made clear that he is interested in appointing a Supreme Court justice who will repeal Roe v. Wade, limiting women’s reproductive health access, and punishing doctors who perform abortions. Jeff Sessions has shown a long history of following a similarly conservative track on human rights. As a senator, Governor Sessions stalled passage of a bill for child sex trafficking victims’ services due to its provisions for abortion, and attempted to add a section about punishing illegal immigrants traveling with families. This specific instance is indicative of the fact that his beliefs about issues like reproductive rights will likely take precedence over anti-trafficking efforts.

However, Mr. Trump has also shown a surprisingly progressive commitment to issues like child care (as outlined in his campaign positions), which would include universal paid maternity leave for moms who have recently given birth. He has also stated that he “is fine” with the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same sex marriage. Whether he will show the same progressiveness in his anti-trafficking efforts, and whether he will support victim-centric measures, is still unclear at this time.

Predictions for anti-trafficking efforts under the Trump administration

Using the cross-section of President-elect Trump’s policy positions on different issues that intersect human trafficking policy, the following outcomes seem most likely under the Trump administration:

The Trump Administration will likely utilize a criminal justice/security approach to anti-trafficking. This means his administration will be focused on prosecution measures over more victim-centric protection and prevention policies. This will likely take a raid-and-rescue model to save victims of trafficking. Combating transnational criminal networks (including human trafficking networks) will almost certainly be a part of the administration’s anti-trafficking efforts. Trump and his appointees have focused extensively on transnational security and crime, thus it is assumable that they will address transnational human trafficking as a subset of this issue. If the Senate confirms Gen. Kelly as the new Homeland Security Secretary this is especially likely because of his previous experience.

The Trump administration’s hardline approach to crime, drugs, and immigration could lead to victims being punished as a result of their conditions of trafficking, AND could lead to more people being vulnerable to trafficking. The administration’s intent to limit legal migration, limit refugee resettlement, and punish illegal immigrants will likely force more people to turn to smugglers or other avenues of migration. This would make people far more vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of traffickers and smugglers. The proposed mass deportations and “law and order” emphasis could also lead to trafficking victims falling through the cracks due to insufficient time and resources to identify victims who are forced into illegal activity. However, this outcome will also depend on local level entities and how they work with victims on the ground.

The Trump administration’s current stance on human rights topics could lead to policies which further marginalize vulnerable populations, thus making them more susceptible to trafficking and exploitation. Mr.Trump and his cabinet picks have taken strong stances against human rights issues related to human trafficking – namely reproductive health rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigration. Additionally, these beliefs could produce a barrier to future anti-trafficking legislation and support for victims of trafficking.

President-elect Trump’s past allegations of exploitation and human trafficking within his businesses, coupled with his current silence on the topic of human trafficking, make it difficult to foresee the policies his administration will take. Though the republican party has traditionally supported anti-trafficking legislation, it remains uncertain how he will address it as president. The fact that he has not yet explicitly mentioned human trafficking implies that it will be a low priority in his administration. Also concerning is the fact that the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons position will be vacant indefinitely as a result of Trump’s order for all ambassadors appointed by President Obama to leave office by inauguration day. Overall, it seems most likely that either the status quo will be maintained or anti-trafficking efforts will downsize at the federal level.

 

Photo via Presidential transition of Donald Trump website

*The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the position of the HTC

 


About the Human Trafficking Center

The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.

 

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.