The situation in regard to human trafficking is much more problematic than it is commonly perceived by the general population. Human trafficking refers to the trade of people for various purposes, but the most common goals include forced labor and sex exploitation. Currently, there are more than 45 million slaves worldwide with the highest absolute numbers in such countries as India, China, and Pakistan (WSJ Editorial, 2016). There is a need to examine the problem in detail from the perspective of Global Health as the existing trends are twofold including both positive and negative tendencies. The consolidated efforts of governments and non-governmental organizations are required to achieve substantial improvement in this area.
Human trafficking has a very long history due to the regular attempts of various individuals and social groups to obtain an absolute control over other people and treat them as objects for sale. The most problematic situation emerged after the colonization of America at the end of the 15th century with the rapid expansion of slave trade worldwide. The problem of human trafficking has become especially serious in many developing countries (Zhidkova, 2015). As the population in these countries tends to grow, there is a well-grounded need for initiating the efficient Global Health projects.
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The history of responses to human trafficking is also significant. In 1904, the International Agreement regarding the suppression of human trafficking was signed. In particular, it protected the rights of women who could be forcibly involved in prostitution. The League of Nations expanded the application of the existing norms in terms of the rights and concerns of children. The regulations adopted in India in the 1950s specify the strict punishment for people involved in human trafficking. Currently, a large number of international organizations in developed countries such as the United Nations provide the proper financial and human resources in order to address and mitigate the problem (Zhidkova, 2015). One of the examples of the current Global Health initiatives is the measures implemented by Humanity United in relation to combatting slave labor (Chao, 2016). New projects in this sphere also tend to appear on a regular basis.
Importance of Documented Healthcare Disparities
The role of documented healthcare disparities is significant as they are related to both the causes and effects of human trafficking. On the one hand, the substantial disparities at the economic level among countries create additional incentives for international criminal groups to concentrate on developing countries and utilize victims from these regions either as a source of the workforce for international corporations or as sex slaves (Chao, 2016). On the other hand, the prevalence of such practices as human trafficking creates additional health disparities mostly related to the transmission of numerous diseases including HIV and AIDS and the lack of the proper healthcare services.
However, the major difficulties refer to the process of documenting disparities related to human trafficking. As all parties involved (except victims) are interested in concealing the existence of the problem, there are substantial difficulties associated with identifying and verifying the statistical information. Therefore, many human rights and Global Health organizations have to rely on the indirect methods of assessing the scope of human trafficking.
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Formalized Regulatory Guidelines
As the problem of human trafficking is recognized at the global scale, there are numerous formalized regulatory guidelines that prohibit such practices and establish the relevant responsibilities for all parties involved. They include the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the ILO Forced Labor Convention, and the US Trafficking Victims Protection (DHS, 2015). These guidelines play a central role in coordinating the efforts of the governments and international organizations while dealing with the actual cases of human trafficking to reduce its scope to the minimum possible degree.
Moral, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Global Health
It is evident that human trafficking is associated with different moral, legal, and ethical issues. The key moral issue refers to a serious violation of human rights as human trafficking necessarily presupposes the use of violence or threatening with violence in relation to the victims. Despite the absence of explicit or implicit consent, the criminals utilize the labor of a particular person for their advantage. The moral issues for Global Health organizations include identifying the major psychological problems experienced by the victims and utilizing the most reliable solutions in terms of providing the needed psychological support.
The scope of legal issues is even more substantial. It refers to the serious crime of human trafficking that typically includes a large number of related crimes such as forced labor or prostitution. Despite the legal status of prostitution in a number of countries, human trafficking has always been considered as a serious crime because it constitutes the direct and large-scale violation of fundamental individual rights and liberties (Chao, 2016). Global Health initiatives should utilize the available legal opportunities for minimizing the scope of such practices in different parts of the world.
In addition, there are ethical issues that should be addressed while providing assistance to the victims of human trafficking. First of all, it is crucial to ensure privacy and confidentiality while working with people. The obtained information should be used only in the aggregated form to determine the most typical problems and appropriate responses. Secondly, the individual approach towards each victim is reasonable as all people have different values and life experience (Medin et al., 2013). Therefore, it is necessary to avoid the over-generalization and the use of formal methods. Finally, Global Health professionals should always evaluate the feedback of the victims to make the timely and efficient adjustments.
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Burden of Chronic Care
As human trafficking necessarily involves the negation of fundamental human rights, the majority of victims continue experiencing psychological difficulties even after the suspension of the acts of violence. Therefore, even the most effective but short-term care often appears to be insufficient. For this reason, the modern Global Health organizations monitor the long-term health dynamics of all victims of human trafficking (Medin et al., 2013). In addition to the traditional interventions, a close investigation of the specific symptoms of each patient should be carried out.
As many developing countries lack the needed funds for initiating the relevant projects aimed at assisting the victims of human trafficking, the responsible international organizations provide the needed support to them. In particular, the United Nations evaluates the dynamics of the situation in different parts of the world and initiates the corresponding interventions (Chao, 2016). At the same time, the proper control over the use of funds directed to chronic care should be established as the proper use of financial resources remains a serious issue in many developing countries.
The modern technologies allow developing the international databases for the victims of human trafficking with the close investigation of their health dynamics and addressing of all privacy concerns. In general, the analysis of international trends regarding the needs of human trafficking victims may contribute to more rational distribution of resources at the global level.
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Healthcare Productivity and Economic Costs
In relation to human trafficking, the most problematic situation is observed in such countries as India (18.4 million slaves), China (3.4 million), and Pakistan (2.1 million). However, in relation to the percentage of slaves in different countries, the most problematic situation is observed in such countries as North Korea (4.4%), Uzbekistan (4.0%), and Cambodia (1.6%) (WSJ Editorial, 2016). There are different approaches towards measuring the healthcare productivity; however, Medin et al. (2013) suggest that Finland has the most efficient healthcare system in terms of cost efficiency and hospital productivity. Global Health organizations should verify the obtained results and expand the current Finnish practices to other countries to ensure the growing effectiveness of healthcare responses to health concerns associated with human trafficking.
The current distribution of economic costs associated with the provision of healthcare services in different countries is non-uniform. The current level in the US is around $9,400 per capita; in the UK, it is around $3,900; and in Finland, it is $4,600. In contrast, in such developing countries as Ethiopia, Ghana, and Haiti, it is below $100 per capita (The World Bank, 2016). Therefore, Global Health organizations should both ensure the maximum possible effectiveness regarding the use of available funds and provide the adequate financial support to the developing countries. The systematic improvement in healthcare productivity and optimization of economic costs may contribute to achieving positive results in the long run.
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The problem of human trafficking is one of the most urgent problems nowadays. The number of slaves worldwide exceeds 45 million, and the situation in many developing countries including China, India, and North Korea is unsatisfactory. The current historical trends outline the growing concerns in the sphere of sex exploitation and forced labor in many countries around the world. Global Health organizations try to achieve maximum efficiency in terms of allocating the available scarce resources even though there is a lack of documented and reliable statistics regarding human trafficking. There are numerous healthcare disparities contributing to the prevalence of human trafficking. The existence of such practices creates additional health concerns including the transmission of HIV and AIDS in developing countries. The existing moral, legal, and ethical issues require the coordinated efforts of all professionals involved. Close attention should be paid to organizing the conditions for chronic care as psychological issues related to human trafficking may persist for many years. Global Health organizations should implement all possible measures to maximize healthcare productivity and regulate economic costs.