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About a month or two back I was discussing in a thread with Jerome how I felt his writings on labor rights issues were relevant to the human trafficking story.

I was arguing that if countries are finding themselves combating human trafficking through law enforcement, one thing it points to is a failure in that country's labor policies. When law enforcement rescues a victim of trafficking and successfully prosecutes a trafficker or gang related to trafficking, it is post-trafficking event. As Laura Germino states in the audio piece, the fact that the counter-human trafficking movement is growing in the US highlights a "sorry state of affairs in this country".

Many people, and press, have framed the increase in prosecutions of human trafficking crimes as a good thing. Without a doubt the prosecution of trafficking and crimes related to forced labor and slavery is a very good thing, however, what I feel is often missing from the dialogue is why does this crime still exist in a "modern" society? For answers to that question we need to start examining the reasons the environments that allow trafficking to occur exist. I found Laura Germino to speak very well to that point with regards to labor trafficking in the US.

As an aside, the Coalition of Immokalee workers will often use the term modern day slavery in place of human trafficking. The reason behind this is that several of the cases that they uncovered and helped prosecute were before the United States had ratified its human trafficking laws. Department of Justice prosecutors were able to win their cases using peonage & slavery related laws created just after the US Civil War.

by aden on Fri Aug 11th, 2006 at 11:36:01 AM EST

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