In what ways does calling it “human trafficking” reframe and criminalize the movement of people, making vulnerable people more vulnerable, and in what way does it protect them?
Blanchette & Silva (2012) highlight the importance of PESTRAF (the study on children, women, and adolescent trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation in Brazil) in the subject of human trafficking. PESTRAF emphasizes that a situation must violate human rights for it to be classified as an act of human trafficking. This poses a danger to the vulnerable individuals in that a human trafficking act may be misjudged to be an acceptable act if it is not perceived to violate human rights. Assisted migrations that are connected to slavery are the only ones addressed by PESTRAF. Voluntary migrations of sex workers who are non-exploited are not included in this category. This simply means that if a situation is not detected to have a relation with slavery, it would not capture the attention of PESTRAF. The definition of human trafficking by PETRAF, thus, criminalizes the movement of people and makes vulnerable individuals more vulnerable as it overlooks some situations that may be dangerous in reality.
On the other hand, Giordano (2008) notes that although there are extremes on the complex nature of migration, there are solutions to these problems as they also provide migrants with an option to resort to measures that facilitate their inclusion and exclusion in the society. The fixed dichotomies through which human trafficking is articulated produce a challenge in trying to fit various migration experiences which do not fall within the range of these extremes. When human trafficking is considered beyond these extremes to include situations that are not necessarily extreme, it is possible to view human trafficking from a broader perspective. The fact that these situations are termed as human trafficking makes them weighty enough to warrant protection for these migrants.
According to Snajdr & Edward (2013), there are better interventions than anti-trafficking discourse that can be brought together to address the problem of human trafficking. This would reduce the effects of what is referred to as “human trafficking”, such as those witnessed in Bosnia and Kazakhstan. In these two countries, there was evident growth in the prevalence of sexual exploitation of women which was supported by stabilization and foreign aid strategies. This was as a result of human trafficking. It was also clear that there were increased overtones on ethnicity and serious crime problems. Connecting the human trafficking discourse to cultural processes is necessary as it leads to a clearer understanding of domestic and international policies that promote the protection of individuals against violence, criminalization, victimization, and other problems facing migrants.