Globally, men, women, and children undergo different forms of forced labor in various countries. The practice has been in existence for many years. Sectors that are often involved in trafficking include construction, mining, forestry, manufacturing, agriculture, domestic servitude, hospitality services, and cleaning. Moreover, men may sometimes be trafficked to work as soldiers or beggars while women are often subjected to sexual exploitation. Children may also be compelled to work in various capacities. Human trafficking is significant to global health because its victims face enormous health problems. Additionally, they lack the freedom to express their concerns, thus experiencing severe mental consequences such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. Consequently, it is vital to analyze the historical perspectives, healthcare inequalities, regulatory guidelines, and ethical issues in human trafficking, and to examine its burden on health and economic costs.
Historical Perspectives on Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a practice that has existed since ancient times. Historically, people used to trade others for manual labor, physical pleasure, and profit. Walters and Davis (2011) assert that the practice continues to date. Therefore, the current problem of human trafficking is not a new issue to both the global healthcare system and governments. Significantly, human trafficking started during the time of slavery when people would be traded for manual labor (Syla, 2013). During those ancient times, human trafficking used to be legal. Syla (2013) states that this practice was accepted worldwide. For instance, it was common to acquire slaves by using abduction and participating in selling auctions. Then, the slaves could be the possession of the buyers, who were not answerable to anyone. Syla (2013) further ascertains that from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, the state was involved in the human trade with the aim of generating profits through enslavement. Mostly, the white race used to dominate over the others (Syla, 2013).
The majority of enslaved people acted as healthcare providers to their masters. For example, in Greece, they should have cared for their masters, yet there were no hospitals built for the slaves (Theofanidis, & Sapountzi-Krepia, 2015). Nowadays, trafficked individuals still experience health problems with minimal help. Therefore, their health is a subject of global concern, given that human trafficking still exists and denies people a chance to access proper healthcare.
Importance of Published Health Inequalities in Human Trafficking
Human trafficking predisposes the victims to different health inequalities that influence global health. Barner, Okech, and Camp (2014) published a research report addressing various inequalities that victims of human trafficking encounter. Barner et al. (2014) prove that victims of human trafficking face inequalities regarding income, assets, and employment that prevent them from seekig a better healthcare. These disparities are important for the global health system to consider since unemployment and low income lead the victims to poverty. Consequently, poverty makes it difficult for them to access health services.
Women also experience many inequalities that change the global health situation. Syla (2013) contends that trafficked women are victims of sexual exploitation, which make them exposed to diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Additionally, they can become pregnant after being raped and remain in the gestation period without proper healthcare. Undoubtedly, global health organizations should investigate and improve mother and child health in the unprotected population.
Finally, trafficked people experience public health problems that make them vulnerable to communicable diseases. Walters and Davis (2011) assert that victims come from highly poor and criminal surrounding. In fact, they continue facing these problems in foreign lands. Researchers have associated poverty with unsanitary living conditions which contribute immensely to the spread of communicable diseases. This issue is important for the global health system to consider so that measures to improve primary health care can be instituted.
Formalized Regulatory Guidelines for Human Trafficking
Since human trafficking became a social problem, many governments across the world have been committed to ending it. For instance, 117 signatory countries of the United Nations enacted the Palermo Protocol in 2003 (Barner et al. 2014). The treaty established that human trafficking is a crime and is punishable by law. Additionally, the guidelines say that victims of human trafficking need to be protected from prosecution if they commit any crimes while enslaved. Similarly, the USA has guidelines that regulate the human trafficking practice. The US government introduced legislation to create a new office which would be dedicated solely to criminalizing modern slavery (Barner et al. 2014).
Barner et al. (2014) also state that certain laws allow the provision of necessary resources to human trafficking victims in the USA. Many countries across the globe have guidelines and organizations that are committed to ending human trafficking. Every effort is critical since the crime adversely affects every individual. Despite those regulatory guidelines, Syla (2013) contends that people can resort to them only whether or not they consider themselves as the victims of human trafficking.
Ethical Issues in Global Healthcare for Human Trafficking
Diverse ethical considerations for human trafficking exist. Syla (2013) asserts that during the research on human trafficking, investigators need to protect the victims from harm and prioritize their personal safety and security. Additionally, a victim needs to give the consent before the research begins, as some women might not be able to talk about sexual exploitation freely. Furthermore, Holtz (2016) contends that equitable distribution of resources iis critical to global health care since it ensures observance of dignity and access to proper services. Victims of human trafficking face many difficulties and injustices and thus, providing access to resources shows respect to the victims. Barner et al. (2014) reiterate that the Palermo Protocol criminalizes slavery and gives its victims an access to the resources.
“Burden of Chronic Care” in Human Trafficking
Human trafficking appeared many centuries ago. It has negatively affected the victims and the governments. Mc Gough (2013) believes that despite the fact that the problem is old, it continues influencing the lives. Even nowadays, women are still subjected to sexual exploitation. Additionally, men and children experience heavy unpaid labor. Furthermore, Barner et al. (2014) contend that social inequalities have caused the trafficking victims to engage in violence and substance abuse which increase crime, thus becoming a burden to the society. Even though laws regarding the fair treatment of the victims and the abolishment of the practice have been adopted, Mc Gough (2013) states that human trafficking occurs. He highlights that it is hard to measure the magnitude of the practice. Governments have also allocated large resources to prevent the problem holding meetings and signing treaties such as the Palermo Protocol (Barner et al. 2014). Consequently, human trafficking is a burden that negatively affects the whole world.
Healthcare Productivity and Economic Costs of Human Trafficking
The issue of human trafficking had and still has economic implications for the victims, countries, and healthcare systems. The victims of human trafficking are economically disadvantaged due to many inequalities they encounter (Barner et al. 2014). Consequently, health systems worldwide spend many resources on ensuring that every person suffered from trafficking is protected from the vice. Additionally, many nations focus on the elimination of the crime. For instance, 17 signatory countries have been working efficiently in order to establish laws to criminalize human trafficking (Barner et al. 2014). Obviously, attempts against modern slavery are important to the global healthcare system since their implementation is the only chance to control and prevent human trafficking.
Human trafficking is an important issue to the global healthcare system that appeared a long time ago. Victims of human trafficking have experienced many problems that affect their mental, physical, and social wellbeing. Additionally, they face many inequalities that adversely influence their health. Agencies involved in the global healthcare need to examine the issues of modern slavery to ensure that victims receive proper treatment. Moreover, health care professionals, particularly nurses who make a research on trafficking victims, need to boost the dignity of the victims. Finally, the governments should stress the importance of protecting trafficking victims to promote their wellbeing holistically.