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Libertarian/market anarchist solutions to human trafficking

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abskebabs Posted: Sun, Nov 18 2012 12:40 PM

I see this as a quite significant problem, and certainly a means by which organised criminals wreak much havoc and do much harm to people in this world. Of human trafficking victims (a large portion being women and children) coming into the US alone (thus not including domestic victims), 60% were for sex trafficking and I think the industry alone is second only to drugs as a money maker for organised crime. I wondered what libertarians could propose to help resolve this issue, as well as how such crimes could realistically be avoided in a market anarchist world (if at all).

 

There are 2 proposals straight off the bat that I think could if implemented much help prevent but not altogether remove the problem.

  • Firstly legalising prostitution, since this could stoke off all demand from organised crime and pimps engaged in this activity and allow legitimate, non-coercive businesses to outcompete them. This would also help prevent vulnerable women and children being kidnapped and forced into this activity since the reason and the profits to be made by doing so would be lost to the depraved individuals currently carrying out these operations.
  • Secondly, easing immigration controls to a far greater degree and allowing for a far more fluid worldwide labour market (though this may not be amenable to all libertarians). This would allow trafficking victims an avenue to escape their bondage in which they are currently trapped since they are technically illegal aliens.
  • (both of these proposals are assumed under the fold of a government/state run world in which these decisions have thus been enacted into law)

 

I don't think this problem is an easy issue either to deal with. I don't know if this issue problem would dissapear or possibly even worsen in a world without governments (though in spite of genuine efforts, these institutions are clearly failing largely to handle the problem). Many trafficking victims are actually roped into forced labour via voluntary debt contracts to pay for travel to their new country in hopes of better economic prospects. When these are not realised they are subsequently coerced into forced labour to pay off their "debts". The trade has become so sophisticated now that the managers of entire trafficking rings are often found themselves to be trafficking victims!

 

In any case I would be curious to hear your thoughts on how this serious problem might be overcome.

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Sphairon replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 1:12 PM

Isn't the main problem that the victims of human trafficking don't have their "documents" and hence can't comply with the identification requirements the state imposes to get anything done in this society, leaving only the handler as an institution to turn to?


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gotlucky replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 1:15 PM

I think your points are really what is necessary in today's world. I do think that a black market in child prostitution would remain, only because of the aggression against children. However, I agree that the black market in trafficking women would be almost entirely eradicatd, if not entirely, with what you have proposed.

The trade has become so sophisticated now that the managers of entire trafficking rings are often found themselves to be trafficking victims!

Do you have a source for that? I'd be curious to read more.

I wondered what libertarians could propose to help resolve this issue, as well as how such crimes could realistically be avoided in a market anarchist world (if at all).

Well, crime will always exist, but I think you nailed the two main reasons as to why these particular crimes are as prevalent as they are, though I don't think these are as widespread as other black market activities. Anyway, the reason black markets exist is because there are laws prohibiting the relevant activites. In a private law society, there will still be laws prohibiting certain activies, so those activities will find themselves on the black market. For example, murder is prohibited, so any murderers for hire will have to be found on the black market.

If there aren't any laws preventing prostitution, then there is no reason for a black market to exist in prostitution, with the exception of prostitution that would be illegal in a private law society (e.g. child sex).

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Wheylous replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 1:27 PM

Isn't human trafficking not a significant problem in the US?

Edit: To clarify, even one person in slavery is terrible, but what I meant was not as numerous as other things like murder or theft, etc.

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abskebabs replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 1:36 PM

Do you have a source for that? I'd be curious to read more.

I found the information here: http://fee.org/the_freeman/detail/human-trafficking-the-other-good-reason-to-reform-immigration/

See the part on Debt bondage (won't let me copy and paste here).

 

The article also cites the following paper which is thankfully free to download:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2435.2009.00592.x/abstract

 

The authors also relay the point that this industry may outgrow even the drug trade in terms of profit potential at the beginning of the article. They subsequently employ a very simple Neoclassical model to explain aspects of these illegal business activities.

Even when brothels, sex tourism operations, exploitative factories, and farm labor camps are subjected to local law enforcement crackdowns, the trafficker himself is typically insulated from prosecution by having set up some of his victims as onsite managers.  According to the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking (DCAHT), most pimps and forced labor guards rounded up in police raids around the world usually turn out to have been trafficked themselves.

Read more: http://fee.org/the_freeman/detail/human-trafficking-the-other-good-reason-to-reform-immigration/#ixzz2CbW6Wt2

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abskebabs replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 2:03 PM

Isn't human trafficking not a significant problem in the US?

The estimates vary widely and this makes sense given the obvious reasons for under-reporting. Try these which I just found from a quick google search (thought admittedly the stats from the first report are a bit dated):

www.crisisaid.org/traffickstats.html

www.cicatelli.org/titlex/.../Human%20Trafficking%20Statistics.pdf

There was also quite an informative documentary done by former CNN reporter Amber Lyon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFRZ1NDR0Rc

Interestingly she left after it became clear to her that agency is a for sale propaganda company for repressive states like Bahrian whose violence against their own people she covered during 2010.

In any case from the documentary (again now, dated), seems sites like Crags List and its many clones were being used for child prostitution (advertised under the adult personals section I think). It would not surprise me in the least that this is carrying on today. I can't help but suspect much of the dubious spam on the internet along the lines of pseudodating sites claiming "hot young girls wanting you" is this kind of crap. She also notes most federal funding is at the moment dedicated to foreign sex trafficking victims as opposed to the domestic victims you can see in the documentary. This might also account for greater under-reporting of the domestic victim statistics.

I think the problem might therefore be much more widespread and serious than you've indicated.

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abskebabs replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 2:05 PM

Isn't the main problem that the victims of human trafficking don't have their "documents" and hence can't comply with the identification requirements the state imposes to get anything done in this society

Fair point, I agree. I should have noted this explicitly, it does overlap as well to some extent with other forms of immigration controls imposed by governments.

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Anenome replied on Sun, Nov 18 2012 6:10 PM
 
 

abskebabs:

I see this as a quite significant problem, and certainly a means by which organised criminals wreak much havoc and do much harm to people in this world. Of human trafficking victims (a large portion being women and children) coming into the US alone (thus not including domestic victims), 60% were for sex trafficking and I think the industry alone is second only to drugs as a money maker for organised crime. I wondered what libertarians could propose to help resolve this issue, as well as how such crimes could realistically be avoided in a market anarchist world (if at all).

I'm quite interested in this question as well and have given it a lot of thought, so let's collab :)

abskebabs:
There are 2 proposals straight off the bat that I think could if implemented much help prevent but not altogether remove the problem.

  • Firstly legalising prostitution, since this could stoke off all demand from organised crime and pimps engaged in this activity and allow legitimate, non-coercive businesses to outcompete them. This would also help prevent vulnerable women and children being kidnapped and forced into this activity since the reason and the profits to be made by doing so would be lost to the depraved individuals currently carrying out these operations.
  • Secondly, easing immigration controls to a far greater degree and allowing for a far more fluid worldwide labour market (though this may not be amenable to all libertarians). This would allow trafficking victims an avenue to escape their bondage in which they are currently trapped since they are technically illegal aliens.
  • (both of these proposals are assumed under the fold of a government/state run world in which these decisions have thus been enacted into law)

I think we don't need a fold of government or state run anything to avoid our worst-case scenario however.

Firstly, prostitution would legalized defacto in a libertarian society. Secondly, immigration would be relatively a non-factor in the same society. So smuggling people in wouldn't have any established routes, for it wouldn't be needed generally. But, let's read on then I'll give my full reply.

abskebabs:
I don't think this problem is an easy issue either to deal with. I don't know if this issue problem would dissapear or possibly even worsen in a world without governments (though in spite of genuine efforts, these institutions are clearly failing largely to handle the problem). Many trafficking victims are actually roped into forced labour via voluntary debt contracts to pay for travel to their new country in hopes of better economic prospects. When these are not realised they are subsequently coerced into forced labour to pay off their "debts". The trade has become so sophisticated now that the managers of entire trafficking rings are often found themselves to be trafficking victims!

Sex slavery, an issue I'm deeply concerned about, would be tamped down or eliminated by the legalizing of prostitution and perhaps the arrival of fembots (robotic prostitution). But then there's the issue of slavery in places where it's legal. More on that later.

As for slave-labor, it's possible that a minimum wage makes slave labor more likely, more profitable. Absent a minimum wage you might find people to work at cheaper prices on-site. Not that I think that would eliminate the practice, but could cut down the incentive considerably.

Lastly I'll lay out why I think a free society would be particularly likely to destroy these trades, especially human trafficking.

Firstly, a free society would likely be wealthier on average. And when you're own needs are taken care of, you are apt to show more concern for people around you in need. This is born out by differences in charity rates the world over. The person whose cup runneth over is likely to share, and the richest among us have given the most charity, ie: Gates giving $40b to charitable trusts.

Because of this, a free society I think would be involved in helping others around the world in bondage to become free. I can see freedom fighters, literally, organizing themselves in order to gather info on human trafficking and then stamping it out, operating much like a Blackwater-type force, funded by voluntary donations and perhaps filming their efforts and telling the stories of captives freed to provide a continual source of feedback to donators and attract more donations.

And also because in a free society it's likely that each person would be more interested in the rights protections of everyone. In strongly centralized states, people stop helping others for fear of being dragged into something themselves somehow. I think that sense of neighborly help would be restored in a society which relies on charity rather than force to help our fellow people.

And because a free society would be the first completely just society ever created by human beings, the people within it should be far more outraged to witness or even hear about injustice anywhere in the world.

Thus, I think there would be many efforts to go into even other countries in clandestine manner to free captives there.

I know there are already legal organizations working in the South East Pacific working to shut down sex-slavery there and telling those stories. I recently went through this book:

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade--and How We Can Fight It

Absolutely heart-breaking. I think adjunct to efforts to coordinate with local authorities--which are easily bought off by corruption, as shown in that book, that a free society could and would sponsor the use of defensive coercion even within the territorial boundaries of another state, acting as something like a white-hat operator, essentially non-government-sponsored special forces, subverting the corrupt authorities and creating something like an underground railroad in the heart of the beast.

If I was wealthy, I'd already be working towards implementing that.

 

 

 
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