Human Trafficking Essay Ideas For Middle School

Human trafficking is a widespread global human rights problem and refers to the recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receipt of human beings by use of force, coercion, or fraud. Trafficked persons are subjected to labor exploitation, sexual exploitation, or both. Exploitation may include forced labor, debt bondage, slavery, abuse within the commercial sex industry, private parties who demand work and sex, and removal of organs. For children, trafficking may also include trafficking for early marriage, illegal adoption, child prostitution, recruitment as child soldiers, or recruitment for religious cults.

This modern-day slavery is most prevalent in agriculture, mining, and forced prostitution, but it also exists in industries such as construction, domestic servitude, food services, and manufacturing. There are various routes to human trafficking, but the common theme is that the trafficker uses force or coercion to control the trafficked person. Some people are captured and exploited; others are forced to work without pay to erase an illegal “debt.” Some voluntarily migrate in search of better economic or political situations but subsequently find themselves in oppressive situations once they get to the destination country. Women and young girls are often tricked into migrating by traffickers who promise a better life through marriage, employment, or educational opportunities. As a means of control, traffickers sometimes keep them locked up away from the public or their families, take away passports or other necessary documents, and use violence or threats of deportation.

The International Labor Organization estimates that more than 12 million people worldwide are in forced labor, debt bondage, forced child labor, or sexual servitude. Depending on the methodology and definition used, other estimates of trafficked persons are as high as 27 million. The U.S. government estimates that the number of people trafficked annually across international borders is approximately 800,000, with millions more trafficked within their own country’s borders. Women and children are particularly vulnerable and comprise the majority of trafficked persons. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that human trafficking occurs in at least 127 countries and trafficked persons are exploited in 137 countries.

Human Trafficking Supply and Demand

Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing and most profitable illicit industries, second only to drug trafficking. Global profits from human trafficking are estimated at $44.3 billion per year. Globalization has allowed for greater movement across borders of people, money, goods, and services. The proliferation of human trafficking is due to several interconnected factors on both the supply side and the demand side.

On the supply side, the increase in the world population, rapid social and economic change in countries around the world, and government policies or inaction have all played a role in the conditions that allow human trafficking to prosper. Struggling economies of developing countries and enormous political changes have created economic circumstances that have perpetuated extreme poverty and desperate situations, leaving many people with no choice but to accept work under oppressive conditions. In particular, postcommunist societies have experienced much economic and political instability, and the weakening of law enforcement has allowed organized crime to proliferate and engage in widespread global human trafficking. Other factors such as war, civil unrest, and natural disasters may lead to population displacement and an increase in orphans and street children who are easy prey for traffickers. Further, lack of opportunities for education and lack of a living wage increase the number of individuals competing for low-skilled jobs.

At the same time, developed countries are experiencing a decrease in birth rates. Countries such as Japan and the nations of Western Europe are not able to replenish their labor force, leaving them with unskilled labor shortages. Nonetheless, restrictive immigration policies contribute to the reduction in the flow of labor to countries to fill this gap. As a result, the demand remains high in developed countries for low-skilled labor, and migrants who are desperate for jobs turn to smugglers to get them to these countries. As the risks and costs to smuggle people into developed countries increase, some smugglers become traffickers who sell the migrants or hold them in debt bondage or forced labor to recover the high costs of smuggling.

The situation for women and girls is particularly dire. They are especially vulnerable because the demand remains high for women and girls to work in the commercial sex industry, in sweatshops, and in domestic servitude. The continued subjugation of women economically, socially, and politically in many countries feeds this demand and accounts for some of the increase in human trafficking. For example, some families continue to see girls as a burden and may sell their female children or relatives to brothels or traffickers to support their sons or feed their families. Other families may sell their children believing that this will be the best opportunity for them to escape poverty. Research has shown that most trafficked women are under the age of 25, but traffickers are recruiting younger and younger girls in response to the fear of HIV/AIDS infection among customers. The majority of internationally trafficked women and girls come from Asia. Other source regions include the former Soviet Union and southeastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Trafficked women and girls are often sent to North America, Asia, Western Europe, and the Middle East.

International and Domestic Laws and Policies

The international community has used various mechanisms to address trafficking. In particular, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires countries to take steps to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children and to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation. The United States still has not ratified this convention, although it has ratified the convention’s Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict. To protect women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women requires countries to curb all forms of trafficking in women, prevent exploitative prostitution, and ensure healthy and safe working conditions. Although the United States has signed this convention, it is one of the few countries that has not ratified it. The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, was adopted by the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2000. The United States ratified the trafficking protocol in December 2005. Various international organizations have programs in place to combat human trafficking worldwide.

In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was passed in 2000 and reauthorized in 2003 and 2005. This legislation addresses human trafficking in the United States through prevention, prosecution, and protection. Since the enactment of this policy, however, it has actually helped very few trafficked persons in the United States. One criticism of the TVPA is that it focuses on a law enforcement approach rather than the needs of the trafficked person. Many of the provisions in the TVPA seek to protect the witness primarily so that law enforcement can successfully prosecute the case. Some trafficked persons who cannot provide evidence or refuse to cooperate out of fear are deported rather than helped. Further, this law requires that the trafficked person cooperate with law enforcement immediately and provide detailed accounts of the trafficking. Trafficked persons may be distrustful of law enforcement or traumatized, particularly when first released from trafficking. If law enforcement cannot determine that the person has been trafficked, the person is then deported. Although the TVPA sought to end deportation of trafficked persons, this practice continues to be common.

Despite estimates of up to 17,500 persons trafficked into the United States every year, since 2000 only 675 have been counted as such. This low number accounts only for the number of people who met the definition of a trafficked person within the TVPA and received a T visa, which is a temporary visa granted upon cooperation with law enforcement. Excluded from this count are those who do not report to or assist law enforcement, those who do not require immigration relief, those who are U.S. citizens, those who cannot meet the requirements for a T visa, and those denied a T visa because law enforcement refused to offer support for the application. Although prosecution of traffickers is a worthy goal, the needs of trafficked persons should also be addressed in a way that helps restore their humanity and reintegrates them into society.

A more balanced global approach is needed to address the imbalance of wealth and poverty and labor supply and demand. In particular, social scientists believe that governments in the developed world of destination countries such as the United States need to take a more proactive approach to address the confluence of unstable global economies, lack of labor laws protecting low-skilled workers’ rights, lack of availability of living wages, and restrictive immigration policies.


  1. Bales, Kevin. 2005. Understanding Global Slavery: A Reader. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  2. Naim, Moises. 2005. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy. New York: Doubleday.
  3. UN Office on Drugs and Crime. 2006. “Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns.” Vienna, Austria: UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Retrieved March 29, 2017 (
  4. S. Department of State. 2007. “Trafficking in Persons Report.” Washington, DC: United States Department of State. Retrieved March 29, 2017 (

This example Human Trafficking Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

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A great paper needs a great topic. The topic you choose will show your teacher how well you have understood the assignment. Unfortunately, leaving your assignment till the last moment can be disastrous to your grade. This is especially true if you have to come up with a critical essay on a tricky subject such as human trafficking.

If you are having a tough time coming up with appropriate critical essay topics about human trafficking, you have come to the right place. The following lines offer a list of 20 topics related to this subject. There is a handy list of references and source materials at the end which you can use as research material.

  1. The Cross-Border Challenges of Dealing with Human Trafficking
  2. Issues Faced by Law Enforcement During Human Trafficking Investigation
  3. Rehabilitating Victims of Human Trafficking: Ethical and Practical Considerations
  4. Human Traffickers and Their Methods of Operating
  5. Invisible to The Naked Eye: Hidden Forms of Human Trafficking
  6. Understanding the Major Indicators of Human Trafficking
  7. Human Trafficking as the Modern-Day Slavery
  8. Anti-Human Trafficking Campaigns in Cultural Media
  9. The Anonymity of the Internet: A Boon for Human Traffickers
  10. The Differences between Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking
  11. The Aftermath of War: Women Enslavement and Trafficking
  12. Human Trafficking: Influence of Cultural Factors
  13. The Exploitation of Humanity: How Human Trafficking Became a $150 Billion Global Industry
  14. A Perspective on Clients: Who Buys From Human Traffickers?
  15. Armed Conflict Zones are Breeding Grounds for The Illicit Trade of Human Trafficking
  16. Philanthropy Engineering: How Advanced Tech Can Help Victims of Human Trafficking
  17. How Anti-Money Laundering Efforts Combat Human Trafficking
  18. Comparing International Trafficking and Domestic Trafficking
  19. The Ideal Victim: Predictors of Human Trafficking
  20. Using Children for in Armed Conflicts

Since word count requirements vary across the board, we have tried to keep the topics a little generalized. Feel free to narrow them down according to your interests. Remember to limit the scope of your paper to a particular time period, geographical location, a pivotal case, the efforts of a specific humanitarian/aid agency, a specific piece of legislation, the efforts of a specific political figure, or even a documentary.

If you cannot find a suitable topic from these, check out our list of 10 facts on human trafficking for a critical essay.

Since we are here to help, here is a sample paper which you can use as an outline for your critical essay. A more detailed guide on how to write a critical essay on human trafficking is also available and you can learn to effectively write this type of assignment with our 10 facts on the subject.

Sample Critical Essay on Trafficking for Organ Trade and Body Parts: The Emergence of a Disturbing Dimension in Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the worst form of abuse that can be inflicted on an individual. The horror of the crime lies in the fact that is negates very humanity of the victims. This modern-day equivalent of slavery continues unabated; the complex nature of the crime makes detecting and controlling it difficult. The most common cases are ones in which human traffickers sexually exploit their victims or force them into hard labor. The less commonly known forms of human trafficking involves an extreme form of cruelty: where the victims are trafficked for organ trade.

According to the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (GIFT), organ trafficking has three basic categories: (1) the victims are somehow deceived or coerced by force to give up the organ; (2) commercial transaction where the victim is not paid or paid less than the promised amount; (3) when the organs are removed without the victim’s knowledge.

A report by the European Parliament (EP) states that organ trafficking and trafficking of human beings for organ removal (TBHOR) has become widespread over the span of the past 16 years. Until recently, most of these cases have occurred in Eastern European countries and Russia. However, the implementation of tougher law enforcement rules has decreased the incidence rates in these countries.

Unfortunately, traffickers have simply switched tactics and moved onto other regions, such as Latin America and North Africa. These regions suffer from economic and political instability. Under such conditions, human traffickers find the ideal victim pool, i.e. people who are already a part of at-risk sections of society, such as migrant workers, those living below the poverty line, members of highly marginalized groups, homeless people, and illiterate people.

The entire process involves a host of people as well as high levels of coordination and organization: the medical professionals who are responsible for the procedure, the middlemen, the buyers, the organ banks where the organs are stored, and transporters who are responsible for the logistics.

The recommendations of legislating bodies and humanitarian agencies state that this issue can only be addressed through proper legislation covering all the aspects of the crime and proper implementation of these laws. National laws of each country should have an anti-trafficking policy. An increase in public awareness of organ donation will drive up donation rates, hopefully closing some of the gap between the number of organs needed for transplantation and available organs. EP also recommends that the donor recipient should be held criminally and morally liable. The technical recommendations include improvement of organ traceability systems.

Human trafficking is a reality that the public in general needs to realize and react to. More awareness, education, and stronger legal frameworks will allow vulnerable victims to escape the horrors of this experience.

This is just a sample that can inspire you to come up with a great critical essay that will win over your instructor. So, make sure that you start working on your paper right away.


Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking, Technology and Human Trafficking 8 (Background Paper, 2008),
Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Organ Removal (ASSESSMENT TOOLKIT,2015),
European Union, European Parliament. (2015). Trafficking in human organs. Retrieved from
Lehti, M. (2003), Trafficking in women and children in Europe, in HEUNI papers, no. 18, Helsinki: HEUNI.
Banks, D., and Kyckelhahn, T. (2011). Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents: 2008–2010. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington, D.C.: Office of Justice Programs
International Organization for Migration. (2012). IOM 2011 Case Data on Human Trafficking: Global Figures & Trends. Washington:
Polaris Project. (2014). “The Victims.” Retrieved January 28, 2014, from Polaris Project: For a World without Slavery, overview/the-victims.
Bales, K., and Trodd, Z. (2009). Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People. Oxford: Oneworld.
Palmiotto, M. Combating human trafficking (pp. 30-32).

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