Child Protection

With the establishment of child protection services and welfare for children, governments such as the UK's have played a big role in the protection of minors. The twofold purpose of the child protection policy is to protect children from harm by their families and to create safe havens for abused children at home (Domoney, Howard, Abas, Broadbent and Oram 2015). Some of the terms used in the efforts to protect children make it unclear whether these acts are indeed human trafficking even though they reflect a form of slavery. Hence this makes it challenging for scholars to draw the line on the extent of their studies and revelations in terms of human trafficking. The following terms are often associated with the protection of children and are used to explain the language in more detail.
Abuse and Neglect of Children: any recent or omitted act by a parental figure or caregiver, which has resulted in the untimely passing, and/or severe physical or mental harm, sexual exploitation abuse or acts or failures which have resulted in the child being placed in immediate danger or being neglected. This definition can differ depending on the state in which it is enacted.
Child Protection: a public body that provides protection services to cause significant harm to children and another child in the household, to stabilize the child's setting and, if possible, to maintain healthy family life.
Coercion: the threat of serious damage or physical restriction of an individual; any strategies or plans designed to cause an individual to suspect that the performance of action causes severe injury or bodily restriction to an individual.
Exploitation of a child for sexual commercial purposes: the use of an individual, who is under the legal age of consent, for a purpose that is sexual in nature and necessitates the exchange of favours or cash; can occur between a customer and a child; the customer in this sense being either a trafficker or a family member, who wishes to attain a profit from the sexual exploitation of the minor.
Force: the use of any type of physical strength, such as controlling the victim or rape, confinement or beating of a victim. Fraud: Offers that, whilst promising an opportunity for financial stability, lead the victim into situations which place them as a victim of human trafficking. Women and children, for example, respond to announcements that offer promising work opportunities such as dancers, maids, and waitresses in other nations, and then engage in forced service, labour, pornography, or prostitution when they reach their goal.
Harbour: to obtain or keep someone in a location in the violation of their legal human rights (Joachim 2019). It is questionable whether all the terms or scenarios above should be used in relation to human trafficking. For example, much as some form of neglect by a parent in a home may amount to slavery, it may not amount to human trafficking of a child.

Human Trafficking Victim Services

Using a victim-centred approach helps in better determining the needs of human trafficking victims and addressing the voices of the affected populations. Greenbaum, Crawford-Jakubiak and Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (2015) conducted interviews with 11 female survivors of human trafficking. Subjects included victims of domestic servitude and sex trafficking. The qualitative results indicated that physical security, followed by the provision of basic needs, were of greatest priority as reported by the survivors (Greenbaum, Crawford-Jakubiak and Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect 2015).
The main characteristic shared by all the study participants was the lack of economic opportunity in their native countries as well as the tremendous human rights violations experienced and the clear psychological scars from their victimization. While their captivity was induced by severe physical abuse, it was isolation and fear that limited their freedom of movement and ability to escape. This finding aligns with the provision in the TVPA which recognizes that psychological forms of coercion may at times be more constraining than physical ones. Victims of trafficking suffer several serious traumas that include the terrorism of sexual and physical violence, mental harm resulting from imprisonment and dread of retaliation if they were to run away from the trafficker(s).
Serious threats and brainwashing of the victims' relatives as well as the victims are common and contribute to the mental damage that the incident causes. The emotional impacts of the trauma can be devastating and persistent. As reported by Burke, victims of trafficking can suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, severe depression, eating and substance abuse disorders, as well as a combination of these factors (Burke 2019). Due to the physical and psychological abuse endured by victims, support and services are critically necessary. McCabe gives the example of Austria that tries to offer comprehensive professional support to victims of human trafficking. She reports that an organisation (LEFO-IBF) specialises in supporting female victims through coordinated comprehensive (social, psychological and medical) treatments, and provides psychological and legal assistance to victims during criminal proceedings (McCabe and Manian 2010).
For adult human trafficking victims, immediate resources should include telephone helplines, crisis intervention, language services, temporary and safe shelter, and physical, medical, and mental health care. Long term services should incorporate job training, drug and alcohol counselling, legal assistance, public benefits, housing, or assistance in attaining employment, help if the victim wishes to return or relocate to his/her home nation assistance, educational, basic training in and for the English language, and trauma-informed therapy (Wolfe, Greeson, Wasch and Treglia 2018).


It is inconceivable that a lot of effort has been made in trying to eradicate human trafficking, from reports and studies being made to new legislation as these efforts continue to meet numerous challenges. The intimate nature of the issue of human trafficking does not only act as a difficulty for academic researchers, but it also creates challenges for multinational organizations and agencies as well as numerous governments (Stoyanova 2017).

The Limits of International Law

The first effort towards an initiative into combating human trafficking in the global context was the Palermo Protocol’s acceptance by the global community. In the following two decades, almost seventy laws regarding human trafficking have been passed and the protocol has been ratified by a hundred and thirty-eight individual nations. The quickness at which nations around the world have passed regulations in order to combat human trafficking is evidence to the work of non-governmental and international organizations in promoting awareness regarding the problem.

International agencies such as the International Organization for Migrants and the United Nations taking the lead in such efforts, a significant amount of progress has been made. Furthermore, data and information collecting methods, the human trafficking dialogue and the creation of new housing for the victims have increased tremendously (Skilbrei and Holmström 2017). Unfortunately, there are a variety of weaknesses that international organizations suffer despite their effects in collecting data on and combating against global trafficking. Firstly, peacekeepers of the United Nations became famous for patronizing victims and prostitutes of trafficking in areas of crisis (Wylie 2016). Over a hundred peacekeepers in Sri Lanka, in 2007, were patronizing prostitutes in Haiti and were debarred for their actions. As technocrats from the United Nations and various governments move towards widespread initiatives against trafficking such as the Palermo Protocol, peacekeepers in areas of crisis are, at the same time, damaging their work.

Insufficient preferences among high-level UN actors and peacekeepers underline the limits of international regulations and international organizations against trafficking in human beings (McDonald 2018). The progress of the Palermo Protocol was a critical one, however, the failure of the United Nations to regulate its representatives demonstrates its restricted scope. The second flaw of international legislation is the nature of multinational trafficking in human beings. Deeb-Swihart, Endert and Bruckman (2019) identify the variety of problems that arise in obtaining accurate statistical and the incentives that pave the way for empirical difficulties and underreporting behaviours in the global context. This second obstacle, the true intimacy of the offence, is what has made multinational legislation a blunt instrument. For example, the primary focus of the Palermo Protocol was the prosecution of perpetrators. Flores (2018) contributes this to conflicts and preferences between non-governmental organizations and governments in negotiating treaties. Instead of setting strict specific duties for nations to help the victims or to consider the aspects that contribute to the spread of multinational trafficking in human beings, the protocol aims at having member states criminalize the offence (Deeb-Swihart, Endert and Bruckman 2019). It focuses on the aspects of observable behaviour, namely perpetrators’ criminal proceedings. While judicial proceedings are still an essential element of an international law approach to eradicating human trafficking, the support and protection of victims must be paid attention to (McDonald 2018). Additionally, conflicts within international organizations and the dominance of the criminal justice approach being utilized in order to combat trafficking have both led governments to become reluctant in developing strict regulations to limit their sovereignty. Developing treaties that necessitate victim assistance would require governments to spend their resources in a specific manner such as providing visas for temporary residency and opening shelters for victims and providing financial aid to victims (Tong, Zadeh, Jones and Morency 2017). Multinational organizations play a critical part in promoting the debate and lobbying nations to focus trafficking victims and their fundamental rights by integrating the Human Trafficking and Human Rights Guidelines of the United Nations High Commission into their legal practice.

Political challenges

Human trafficking is associated with human rights violations that made governments disinclined to gather data before the 2000 Palermo Protocol (Allain 2015). Whilst the veil is slowly being lifted from trafficking and governments are beginning to prosecute traffickers and the number of victims receiving aid has drastically increased, political challenges still stand (Blom 2019). As the offence involves certain discomforting and intimate behaviours, most victims are reluctant to report or disclose their experiences. In turn, governments may feel cultural pressure to hide information regarding the offence as well as their prevalence across national boundaries.

Empirical Challenges

In the best situations, where nations cooperate in order to sincerely gather data, empirical challenges can hinder data collection and data representation accuracy (Dubrawski, Miller, Barnes, Boecking and Kennedy 2015). Reliance on secondary factors can be found when assessing economies in the black market such as corruption, arms, and trafficking narcotics (Munro-Kramer, et al. 2019). Since we can never know exactly how much corruption is going on in a government, research regarding the subject uses the international transparency index, which measures the perception of corruption in the public eye (Kempadoo, Sanghera and Pattanaik 2015).
Similarly, trafficking studies are generally based on tracking and investigating measures to rate the severity of trafficking- imperfect secondary factors. The issue with depending on prosecution rates is that they have been proven to be drastically low and are not nearly close to approximating the issue’s scope is most nations (Cannon, Arcara, Graham and Macy 2018). In addition, researchers such as Tyldum and Brunovskis (2005) have termed individuals who are evaluated in trafficking research, victims of trafficking, traffickers, and prostitutes as “hidden populations”. These are groups of individuals of whom researchers do not know the boundaries or the size of the group. In recent years, intergovernmental organizations and the multinational community, despite these empirical restrictions, have taken

Like Us on Twitter

Follow us on Instagram


Like us on Facebook