There is a huge problem that has been constantly growing in the United States and worldwide. It has of become so dangerous that it is estimated that almost 14,500 and 17,500 individuals are victims of this every single year. This problem is of real humans becoming victims and being trafficked in and out of countries such as the United States and used for a variety of things completely against their will. This is a hidden business that has involved different restaurants, agriculture productions, factories, the commercial sex industry, and sometimes even adoption facilities. A large majority of these individuals that are being trafficked are female which means that this problem could only get worse if a stop is not put to it. Exploiting a person’s race, ethnic culture, sexual identification, or gender is never acceptable. Which is why I am going to apply utilitarian and deontological perspectives to the question of human trafficking, and to make it evident that the ethical response to this awful crime is one of the worst possible engagements a person can commit to.
Human trafficking is one of the most wickedly evil and mortifying things that could ever happen to any single human being. The thing is that anyone could be the one who is unfortunate enough to have to experience this living hell and get caught up in this net of human destruction. We have all heard the stories of slavery of the African American people back in the 1800’s and how awful that was a how we eventually abolished it in America in hopes of never having to experience slavery again. However, in today’s time we are now hearing stories of modern-day slavery that will bring chills to your bones. No matter if it is labor, domestic, or sexual, the experiences that these men, women, and sometimes children have to witness first-hand go through every day will leave you cringing.
The thing about human trafficking that really surprised me the most was the fact these acts of violence/crimes happen in our every day lives without any of us even realizing it, it happens while we are living in comfort and not thinking twice about our surroundings. It also makes you feel thankful for the law enforcement officers and health care physicians who are constantly on the lookout to apprehend and put a stop to this these complex cases and have to see firsthand how it affects the survivors. It should be no surprise to anyone then that there has been a huge outcry from many citizens across the nation to try to convince our legislators to make laws stricter or create laws where they are desperately needed. Since 1999 alone the United States has spent well over 150 million dollars to help in order to prevent the trafficking of human beings (McNamara, 2015). While it is great that they are putting forth an effort in order to decrease the number of trafficking victims, it is also important to know that it is not just one specific type of person that they go after, anyone could be a potential victim.
Human trafficking is the illegal selling or trading of a human for labor though abduction, it can be done though the threatening force or using force. It can also be done though deception or fraud for the use of sexual crimes. Societies most members that are the most at risk just happen to be the easiest targets for these Traffickers. People who are burdened by a disability, are discriminated against, or those who are in poverty are mainly targeted. “Human trafficking is a complex, multi-faceted crime with no single solution. Many countries are affected by it in some way, and Australia, as a destination country for trafficking victims, is no exception” (Healey, 2012). What Healey says is proof that human trafficking doesn’t just happen in the cozy confines of the United States, it is spread globally in the forms of labor, sex, and organs. The continual growing of this awful business has allowed it to turn into an organized billion-dollar industry. Even though it is so large and for the main part it is well-known, victims are still getting lured in through false promises that they can have a better life, or into a false sense of safety in the people that eventually capture them. With social media being a big influence in many peoples every day lives, it is making the traffickers job easier and it is becoming all around easier to influence people. This is just one of the ways that traffickers use in order to pry there victims away from there comfort zone.
I will now discuss human trafficking from an ethical standpoint starting with utilitarianism. When a person wants to determine whether an act or action is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do then they will generally look at the end outcome of each action. In Utilitarianism they like to argue that depending on which action shows the best results for the greatest number affected, then that action would be the best one to choose. However, when you look at human trafficking from this point of view where happiness for the greatest number of people is what you want, then it can be extremely easy to assess. While Utilitarianism is a very natural way to look at a situation, the only people really benefiting from this disaster at all is the traffickers who are snatching the victims. They are taking advantage of a person who is looking to better their life which is making them easy prey for the traffickers. Human trafficking is estimated to bring in around a whopping 32 billion dollars worldwide, however only the people in charge are the ones who benefit, but there benefiting off the misery of the ones they captured in their line of work (Smith 2014). There are also way more victims than traffickers which would make utilitarianism invalid due to the fact that it is not filling the goal of happiness for the greatest number.
The other ethical theory I wanted to discuss was deontology. Deontology focuses more on why an action is done rather than the consequence of an action and what is the best decision. When it comes to a human trafficker, everything they do is focused on greed so that they can gain. From the moment that someone consents or agrees to be payed to smuggle an individual somewhere outside of there general living area, they are building on that greed and getting caught in a web of trafficking. Deontologist argue that we have a certain duty or obligation as some like to say to treat others with complete respect. However, when they are doing this, they have to take that person’s dignity into consideration. Human trafficking though goes against every human right ever known and through deontology it is viewed as definitely immoral and wrong. When a victim gets abducted it is taking away there freedom thus also taking away also their dignity. This also means that deontology is not valid in this situation either.
With all the bad and morally wrong things that human trafficking does, it is hard to find a bright side to it. The only real bright side to this issue it seems is that it helps provide cheap, inexpensive labor for overseas farmers and businessmen so that products such as sugar, coffee, corn, or broccoli can be produced for us to enjoy. However, this “bright side” to this issue is really anything to brag about, these “slaves” may be useful to those people to help them make money, but they are also being torn away from their families, potentially their job, there hometown, and their dreams. Some people may try to make a point that some of these people may be taken out of the poverty where they lived before and brought to a better life. Do you really think that a life of labor, or sex trafficking is better for them though? The victims would find absolutely no benefit what so ever in being relocated thousands of miles away to where they don’t know where they are. Human trafficking is just plain terrible.
To just take a person unwillingly away from there family and home because of possibly their race, gender, sexual identification, or ethnic culture is not allowed in an upholding society. The impact that it makes on both the citizens around us and our nation is tremendous, however we know that our local law enforcement, government agencies, and the common person is working together in order to gain ground in defeating the problem that is growing bigger by the day. While it may seem like it is very possible that there are great things that can make headway toward an overall solution, there are always obstacles that will be in the way.
Human trafficking from a utilitarian point of view isn’t moral and isn’t benefitting the greater number. On the other hand, the deontology point of view is also not moral and is in no way treating anyone with dignity or respect. It will always be immoral to lure someone in to a false sense of security only to snatch them up to take them to some foreign land for their own profit. All in all, a victim of any sort of trafficking is losing their entire life and everything that is important to them all so that someone can turn an easy profit. In no way ever will this be morally ethical at any point in time.