There are many claims on both sides of the fence as to whether or not increased border security in the form of a border wall would decrease human trafficking. Some claim the security increase won’t affect human trafficking in any way. Others argue the increase in security will help to cut down on human trafficking. As mentioned in a previous article, many people confuse human smuggling and human trafficking. They are two very different things.
Polaris says the border wall will do nothing to cut down on human trafficking because of the many different ways it occurs. However, there are others that feel the border wall will at least cut down on human trafficking.
Mexico is both a high source and destination country for sex trafficked persons (Goldberg, Silverman, Engstrom, Bojorquez-Chapela, & Strathdee, 2013; Still, 2017; Tiano & Murphy-Aguilar, 2012) and is believed to be the most significant source country when trafficking across international borders (Gozdziak & Collett, 2005; Loff & Sanghera, 2004) and when trafficking into the United States (Cicero-Dominguez, 2005; Protection Project, 2010). The U.S. Department of State (2005) estimated that 70% of all sex trafficked persons are trafficked from Mexico to the U.S., 50% of which are minors brought for prostitution. Statistics such as these offer some justification for the vast amount of research conducted on sex trafficking at the Mexican border.
So, with 70% of all recorded human trafficking coming from Mexico, it stands to reason that building a border wall will reduce the numbers brought into the USA. It’s true that people will still find a way around this and will come up with alternative ways to move their victims. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to combat this horrendous crime entirely. However, being diligent, knowing the signs of a trafficked person, taking preventative measures and being informed, we can cut down on the millions of victims and save our friends and families.
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Cicero-Dominguez, A. (2005). Assessing the US-Mexico fight against human trafficking and smuggling: Unintended results of US immigration policy. Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, 4(2), 303-330.
Goldberg, S. M., Silverman, J. G., Engstrom, D., Bojorquez-Chapela, I., & Strathdee, S. A. (2013). “Right here is the gateway”: Mobility, sex work entry and HIV risk along the Mexico-U.S. border. International Migration, 52(4), 26-40.
Gozdziak, E. M., & Collett, E. A. (2005). Research on human trafficking in North America: A review of the literature. International Migration, 43(1/2), 99-128.
Loff, B., & Sanghera, J. (2004). Distortions and difficulties in data for trafficking. Lancet, 363(9408), 566.
Protection Project. (2010). Report on Mexico.
Still, A. (2017). Solving human trafficking between Mexico and the United States. Pepperdine Policy Review, 9(1).
Tiano, S., & Murphy-Aguilar, M. (2012). Borderline slavery: Mexico, United States, and the human trade. New York, NY: Ashgate Publishing.
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