The Society for the
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Congressional Hearing Puts Spotlight on Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime

On November 2, the Helsinki Commission held the hearing, Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime, in the United States Congress. The hearing was organized by the SPSSI James Marshal Fellow, Dr. Angel Colon-Rivera.

According to the International Labor Organization, human traffickers made profits reckoned to be around $31 billion last year. The trade is extremely lucrative because of the dependency (indeed virtual slavery) that trafficking individuals become subject to because of their vulnerability and invisibility in society.

According to one of the witnesses, Piero Bonadeo, Deputy Representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there are approximately 2.4 million people world-wide who are being trafficked today. The terrific scale of the task needed to combat human trafficking is evidenced by the fact that although victims have been identified in 127 countries, just 2 out of 5 of these countries have ever prosecuted a human trafficking case.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act seeks to provide tools and strategies for the U.S. government to tackle human trafficking. According to witnesses at the hearing, specific areas that need to be further addressed are improving public awareness of the problem, paying more attention to small crime outfits that are increasingly at the root of trafficking crimes, tackling the broader roots of human trafficking especially economic underdevelopment and government corruption.

A full transcript of the hearing is available on the Helsinki Commission website here. The Washington Times carried an good synopsis which can be read here.


Alex Ingrams
SPSSI Policy Coordinator

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Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin