Female Traffickers & Criminal Justice Response part 2
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Research in Human Trafficking
Today I’d like to continue the analysis of the schema and moral dichotomy of female traffickers. l and how females become involved in THB (Trafficking human beings) and their double victimisation of them.
Broad (2015) shows in his research the victim/offender dichotomy and addresses the complexity of the problem. He considers engaging in THB as an escape from sexual exploitation. Still, being in an abusive intimate relationship with male counterparts does not make it possible for female traffickers to act on their free will fully. It is a choice me or them. Thus, women participate in men’s organised crime and deciding between being exploited and abused challenges the criminal justice system.
Based on Broad’s statement that there is a lack of sensitivity from the criminal justice system in responding to female traffickers. Thus, the ‘old’ penology perspective might help to approach the issue by employing a ‘mens rea’: focusing on the intention of individuals to judge their quilt. The logic in recognition and treatment of a victim/offender dichotomy might be applied in assessing the real responsibility and guilt. Female traffickers intend to escape from sexual exploitation. However, there can be a problem with the recognition when the ‘line’ of being a victim or offender has been crossed. Is the trafficking an action of free will or not? Thus, female traffickers can be assessed, and good decisions can be made about their treatment. If they are victims, they should be supported but if they are offenders they should be incarcerated.
Due to economical and gender inequalities along with globalisation and migration, there is a constant threat of THB. The ‘new’ penology sheds light on the law that should protect the public through assessing the risk and employing actuarial techniques at a global level, to detect and prevent THB as well as to punish those involved in organised crimes. The ‘new’ penology emphasises that there should be better communication between international criminal justice organisations regarding sharing information, better monitoring, and greater accountability, which should lead to the creation of more strict sentence plans. This also applies to THB crimes. This ‘new; penology approach can help to adequately impact offenders and professional practice. Drug testing, electronic monitoring, and multi-agency public protection panel (MAPPAS) (Kemshall & Maguire, 2011) are newly available techniques that may help to fight organised crime e.g., THB at national and international levels.
Recently, international society adopted policies that approach THB holistically. This aims to focus more on victims than the crime itself. (Villacampa & Torres, 2014). For instance, the Palermo Protocol from the 2000 United Nations (UN) Convention Against Transnational Organisation Crime aims to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking (Villacampa, Torres, 2014, p.100). Still, this protocol is strongly focused on incrimination of trafficking activities such as 1. Recruitment of victims, 2. Coercive, fraudulent, and abusive trafficking, 3. Purpose of exploitation (Villacampa & Torres, 2014, p.100).
THB is not only related to sexual exploitation, there is also victims’ exploitation in criminal activities, labour exploitation, as well as extracting organs for transplantation. Organ exploitation is a known procedure around the world but it is very well organised in China, where prisoners are the donors against their will. It is done in an unhuman way, the donors are alive and fully conscious but this is a topic for another post. Let’s focus on the exploitation in criminal activities and how is it seen by the law. The law sees coerced participation in THB as labour exploitation (Villacamp & Torres, 2014). Directive 2011/36/EU on preventing and combatting THB and victims’ protection applies to traffic for criminal activities (Villacampa & Torress, 2014, p.100). Warsaw Convention from the 2005 Council of Europe on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings aims to prevent and combat THB and protect victims (Villacmpa &Torress, 2014, p.100). This brings some light on the problem, though policing is not always a synonym for practice. There is still an issue related to the ability of law bodies to differentiate victims/offenders from offenders. The fact is that victims of THB have been imprisoned due to a lack of differentiation between victims and culprits, and there is a lack of victim protection regardless of policies which specify how to deal with the victims/offenders dichotomy.
Moreover, Villacampa and Torres (2014), and Broad (2015) found that in many cases of detention a lack of understanding of the process of THB is glaring. This leads to institutional victimisation after previous victimisation by traffickers. In 2011, in Sapin, the female prison population consisted of 738 women 305 of them were foreign (Villacampa & Torress, 2014, p.102). The imprisoned victims of trafficking have different backgrounds and nationalities, they come from Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. This shows the international dimension of THB crime. Some of them were exploited as ‘mules’ for drug trafficking, then caught at Spain Airport whiles trying to smuggle drugs over borders (Villacampa & Torres, 2014). Still, victims of trafficking are forced to commit a range of crimes such as prostitution-related crimes, intellectual and industrial property crimes, and many others. For instance, a Chinese woman was lured by a friend to come and work in Spain in a Chinses shop but when she came to Spain, she was forced to commit fraud, she did not have access to not -trafficked people who did not know Spanish, and did not have a permit to work in Spain. Thus, she was dependent on her traffickers. Still, she was imprisoned. This example shows how the criminal justice system failed to recognise victim/offender dichotomy from the penology perspective, the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.
Villacampa & Torres (2014) emphasise the lack of legal awareness regarding coercion, fraud and abuse during the handover process, exploitation during committing criminal activities, and the position of female migrants in Spanish prisons. Coercive trafficking means physical or psychological violence against victims who are obliged to surrender to the violent trafficker, for instance, there was a woman whose brother was kidnapped, and she was forced to smuggle drugs to save his life. Then, she was caught and arrested, and her brother was killed. Still, she went to prison, although the judge was aware of the circumstances and saw photos of her murdered brother. This shows an extreme lack of sensitivity and awareness about the victim/offender dichotomy (Villacampa & Torress, 2014).
I'd like to add that there are various forms of psychological coercion, that include financial obligations towards traffickers or turning victims into drug addicts. Whether the criminal activities involve sex, labour, or any other form of abuse the criminal exploitation that takes place during trafficking bends victims and makes them submissive to their traffickers which is akin to slavery (Villacampa & Torres, 2014). Thus, how would you judge a slave who committed a crime because his/her master ordered him/her to do it under threat of punishment? Do not judge, if, you do not want to be judged. Not everything is white or black, there are plenty of grey areas and the criminal justice should be sensitive and clever enough to outsmart smart criminals. Otherwise, real criminals can enjoy their life while scapegoats pay for their crimes. I wonder what you think?