Human trafficking is truly a hydra of criminal activity. With multiple root causes and dozens of different varieties, attempting to combat trafficking is truly a Herculean effort. There are many reputable theories on how best to combat trafficking, providing a blend of possible options for governments and human rights organizations.
Legislation is one of the primary ways to combat trafficking. Enacting swift, severe punishments against slavers and human traffickers may sometimes act as a deterrent against the crime. Creating truly efficient legislation to punish traffickers and assist victims is a long-term process that involves months or years of assessment, brainstorming, writing laws, and managing enforcement. While it is clear that legislation can help combat trafficking, it is only part of the solution.
Enforcement of existing laws is also an important means of fighting trafficking. Creating funding programs for law enforcement agencies that sponsor increased efforts to investigate and break up trafficking rings can help increase focus on the issue. In addition, providing any rescued victims with asylum, paths to citizenship, or other means of assistance can help them from being pushed directly back into the cycle of trafficking by another ring. Since trafficking crosses borders simply as a function of existence, one of the main criteria for improved enforcement is creating a means for easy communication and cooperation between law enforcement agencies in different regions.
International cooperation seems key to fighting against human trafficking. Generally, there is a silent relationships between poverty-stricken regions that supply slaves or forced laborers, and wealthy regions that import trafficked victims for their labor. In order to effectively combat this double-edged sword of trafficking, wealthy and poor regions must work in concert to develop programs that combat both the supply and demand chains. The unfortunate truth of trafficking, however, is that both sides can profit off of trafficking, meaning that the chance for corruption is quite high.
Education is what some experts consider to be the silver bullet against human trafficking. History has shown repeated examples of improved educational systems leading to more comprehensive approaches to human rights. Since the majority of trafficking victims are women and children, providing educational opportunities to these groups can be critical to their survival. In addition to general education, teaching people to recognize warning signs of trafficking enterprises, as well as helping them gain access to anti-trafficking assistance, can go a long way toward fighting the issue on a grass roots level.
Commerce is another important tool used to combat trafficking. At its heart, trafficking is a commercial enterprise geared toward profit. Some experts believe that free trade between nations enhances the opportunity to improve human rights and give destitute regions employment opportunities at businesses that enact fair labor and wage laws. Unfortunately, certain companies exploit the low wages and safety regulations in developing nations in order to cut costs. Socially conscious businesses have an incredible opportunity to strike at the heart of human trafficking by providing profitable employment alternatives for both potential slavers and potential victims.