Written by Mrunmayee Jere and Edited by Emilee Kain
According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking accounts for “an estimated 21 million forced labor victims worldwide, creating $150 billion in illegal profits in the private economy each year” (Extent of human trafficking to be measured). In terms of preventing human trafficking, the three worst countries rank as follows: Belarus, China, and Iran (Thelwell and Project). The problems with these countries’ anti-trafficking policies are scattered among a variety of categories, with each country needing its own solution. Given the extent of the human trafficking issue in these countries, by solving this issue in these countries, other countries can follow suit similarly and reduce this crisis.
According to the Borgen Project, human trafficking in Belarus is rampant mainly in industries such as adult entertainment, where foreign workers fall prey (Thelwell and Project). It is also extremely easy for criminals to smuggle people to neighboring countries such as Poland and Turkey to get away with their crimes and reap all the benefits (Thelwell and Project). Another issue is that in 2006, a bill was passed stating that parents who had their parental rights revoked were subject to a form of compulsory labor where the government collected 70% of the money (BELARUS (TIER 3)). One solution to this problem, according to the US Embassy, is to “reform state policies to end all forms of state-sponsored forced labor” and partner with NGOs to “increase resources devoted to trafficking victim assistance and protection within Belarus” (BELARUS (TIER 3)). These actions will not only criminalize the motive behind trafficking, thus ending a large amount of this crime, but also provide aid to those already affected, allowing for peace to restore in the country.
This very issue also plagues Iran, as many Iranian criminal organizations subject women and children to sex trafficking, mainly for trade abroad (Thelwell and Project). Their victims are usually between the ages of thirteen and seventeen and are put into domestic service until deemed old enough for sex trafficking (Thelwell and Project). Some suggestions by the US Department of State include to “[a]mend the 2004 law to bring the definition of trafficking in line with international law”, effectively making it harder for criminal organizations to traffic people (Iran - United States Department of state).
According to the US Department of State, China does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and does not seem to be making any efforts either. They also mention that China continues to use trafficked people for “forced labor, including through the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and other Muslims” (China - United States Department of state). This is a significant issue because as long as this industry is thriving and in high demand, the trafficking industry in China will continue to follow the same path. The fact that human trafficking, although technically illegal in the country, is being kept alive through these detention camps means that there is more interest in trafficking because the government itself endorses this behavior. Therefore, the best solution to the high human trafficking numbers in this country is for the government to 1) abolish all detention camps and 2) criminalize all forms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking as defined under international law (China - United States Department of state). Only then will the country be able to decrease its numbers drastically.
By looking at these other countries and their situations, it is important to keep in mind the solutions to their respective issues. That way, other countries who face similar problems can use them as a blueprint for their own affairs. Hence, the global rate of human trafficking can decrease, and the world can be happier and safer for all.
“BELARUS (TIER 3).” US Embassy, 2017,
“China - United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department
of State, 1 Dec. 2020, www.state.gov/reports/2020-trafficking-in-persons-report/china/.
“Extent of Human Trafficking to Be Measured.” Financial Tribune, 5 Dec. 2016,
“Iran - United States Department of State.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department
of State, 1 Dec. 2020, www.state.gov/reports/2020-trafficking-in-persons-report/iran/.
Thelwell, Kim, and Borgen Project. “2017's Worst Countries for Human Trafficking.” The
Borgen Project, Kim Thelwell Https://Borgenproject.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/The_Borgen_Project_Logo_small.Jpg, 16 Dec. 2019, borgenproject.org/tag/worst-countries-for-human-trafficking/.