Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Human Trafficking in a Globalized World: Gender Aspects of the Issue and Anti-Trafficking Politics

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Human Trafficking in a Globalized World: Gender Aspects of the Issue and Anti-Trafficking Politics

Article excerpt


Human trafficking has become a globally prominent issue which attracts the attention of different countries worldwide because of its devastating consequences to human beings. Is human trafficking a gender issue? If yes, we need to have gender-based anti-trafficking initiatives that help eliminate gender causes and consequences of human trafficking. This paper turns around human trafficking situation in Vietnam and anti-trafficking politics of the state to examine gender aspects of human trafficking in globalization; to see if the commitments are gender specific or gender-sensitive; and the state ideologies that inform anti-trafficking politics in globalization.

Keywords: human trafficking, state, ideology, gender, globalization

"Both the supply and demand sides of the trade in human beings are fed by gendered vulnerabilities" (USDOS, 2009).

1. Introduction

Human trafficking has become a globally prominent issue which not only adversely affects individual development, national, regional and global security, but also contravenes international conventions on human rights and women's rights (Heyzer, 2006; Munro, 2008). Worldwide, million people are living under different types of exploitation. It can be said that no other crime has such a high prevalence of victims like human trafficking. According to "Human Trafficking in Person Report 2010" of the US Department of State, there are 1.8 victims per every 1,000 inhabitants. In Asia and the Pacific, the ratio is even much higher, with 3 victims per every 1,000 inhabitants. Being seen as a low-risk and high profit trade, human trafficking attracts different individuals and groups to become engaged in this crime. Among different actors involved, women and children shoulder the greatest devastation of human trafficking and are the most vulnerable in the trafficking process. That explains why in some countries human trafficking is being understood as trafficking in women and children.

Vietnam is not an exception of human trafficking; even it is a "hot point" of human trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (the GMS countries).1 From 1998-2008, approximately 5,700 Vietnamese women and children were trafficked, 8,000 were absent from home and assumed to have been trafficked, and another 11,000 women may have been victims of the illegal bride trade (VWU, 2008a). However, statistics on trafficked victims in Vietnam are still limited (UNODC, 2009). Due to complicated characteristics of the crime, the state itself is unclear of the number and status of the trafficked women and children living abroad (GOSRV, 2004). The exact number of victims of human trafficking, therefore, is likely to be much higher. Trafficking in women and children in Vietnam is reported to be on the rise with new types emerging in the forms of fraudulent brokered marriage, deceptive labor recruitment practices, illegal child adoption, and child sex tourism (Dang, 2006; USDOS, 2009). Significantly, cases of trafficking for removing organs have been acknowledged. There are signals of having trafficking chains that approach the poor and advise them to sell organs and leave serious consequences.2 Recently, in March 2011, cases of trafficking in Vietnamese women for surrogacy were uncovered. 14 young girls from the South of Vietnam, aged from 19-26 were trafficked to Thailand, there they were forced to be pregnant, the traffickers then take the babies to sell to infertile couples or foreigners with high price. The girls were harbored with identification papers and passports confiscated. Thus, the nature and types of human trafficking in Vietnam are quite complicated that need solutions to successfully control the situation. This requires more actions and research which aid in determining the shortcoming and gaps in the existing antitrafficking policies and programs.

2. Anti-Human Trafficking Politics Worldwide

Human trafficking has been a matter of great importance for countries worldwide not only because this illicit crime is one of the fastest growing crimes which dehumanizes and erodes human dignity (Getu, 2006), but also because it involves different countries, regions, and continents. …

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