History of Human Trafficking: Children The issue of trading humans for illegal purposes has been an issue that society has faced for a very long time. No one knows when it first started as it goes back for centuries, but it is still a big issue in the twenty-first century. Human Trafficking is like slavery, except the person is sold off to someone, like a pimp, and then used for sexual acts. One of the biggest problems that society is facing is Human Trafficking of children.
According to Wikipedia, the term Human Trafficking is defined as, “Human Trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery” (Wiki). Regarding the history of this subject, as stated above, it is not known when it started, but the problem is that it is VERY difficult to get rid of it completely. According to Julie Wedam on Blogspot, she gives some facts as to what some countries did regarding this sort of crime. The British were the first to make a law against slavery in 1807, when they passed a law that made the Transatlantic Slave Trade illegal. In 1820, the United States followed Great Britain’s example by making the slave trade a crime that was punishable by death” (Wedam). Before the 1800s, there were no laws for this kind of thing, so children were forced to become slaves against their own will. Once Britain started making the laws on Human Trafficking, they pretty much set the ball rolling for this sort of issue.
Other countries began to follow suit, by making laws of their own. Children are very vulnerable and tend not to have free will of their own, hence, why slave owners prey on the young ones. Children are easily targeted as well, when their own parents are willing to sell them, intentions and reasons unknown. Some people argue that the term, ‘Human Trafficking’ may have had its beginnings in the 1700s, where children were forced to work at a young age.
Wedam continues on to talk more about the history of this kind of issue, “In 1899 and 1902, international conferences to talk about white slavery were organized in Paris, France. Then in 1904, an international agreement against the ‘white slave trade’ was created, with a focus on migrant women and children” (Wedam). Around the 1900s, Human Trafficking was being noticed around the world what kind of terrible things were happening to children. France opened its doors and discussed what exactly should be done for this kind of problem. Two years later, an greement was made to try and prevent slavery against children. Donna M. Hughes, who wrote the article, “The Demand: Where Sex Trafficking Begins”, gives her input about Sweden and their feelings on this growing epidemic, “In Sweden, beginning in 1999, the purchasing of sexual acts became a crime. The new law was passed as part of a new violence against women act that broadened the activities that qualified as criminal acts of violence” (Hughes). Even though it took Sweden sometime to make this a crime in their country, they took action in the battle against Human Trafficking.
As stated before, Human Trafficking is a huge problem, and something must be done otherwise it will get out of hand. When Britain first made the law to ban Human Trafficking, originally they were the only ones who wanted to do it. Other countries around the world had a hard time letting go of Human Trafficking because it was something they had relied on for so long. However, they had to end Human Trafficking because the British were pressuring them into ending it. The document, “The History of Human Trafficking”, explains what Britain was trying to do exactly to end it. In the United States, Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere, slavery continued into the second half of the 19th century, despite British pressure to end it. But then, as slaveholders lost political and economic influence and as more people began to view slavery as morally wrong, the legal institution of slavery disappeared” (History). If it was not for the slaveholders losing political and economic influence, they would still be going strong and Human Trafficking would be big. In hindsight, it still is.
There are laws trying to prevent Human Trafficking from getting out of hand. Although many places had tried to get rid of Human Trafficking and prostitution all together, most of the time, the laws failed because as stated before, people do not like change. The history of Human Trafficking is long and extensive. Yet, no one knows exactly where it started. As society moves on, one must also consider the problems that this has on children, such as the effects and the future of this ever growing problem.