BY AMANDA KLOER
APRIL 15, 2009
For the first time, a recent report from the European Commission says that "the current scale of human trafficking outweighs the smuggling and spreading of drugs." This report sadly gives human cargo status as the most trafficked commodity in Europe - more than illegal drugs or arms.
Why has human trafficking outstripped illegal drug and arms smuggling as the raison d'être for international organized crime rings, pimps, and criminal entrepreneurs? The simplified answer is this: you can sell a gun once. You can sell an ounce of cocaine once. You can sell a woman in prostitution over and over again. You can exploit the labor of an enslaved fruit picker day after day. In other words, human trafficking is more profitable for many criminals, so they have traded in their old cargo for human cargo.
But the simplified answer is never the whole story. As criminals become aware of the profitability of human trafficking, governments are also becoming aware of how to combat it. Many have developed better border controls and immigration policies to prevent trafficking into or out of their country. This didn't make the traffickers stop- it just made them look a little closer to home, begin trafficking within country instead of between.
And law enforcement are raiding workplaces, brothels, and recruiting sites, traffickers are increasingly selling their victims online, advertising through new technologies and media.
The fact is that trafficking is growing and changing. And the traffickers are not going to sit back and wait while we get our act together. We need to get ahead and stay of the creative criminals, or human trafficking as an industry will continue to grow.