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The essential human right to private liberty has been substantiated by the most progressive and protuberant thinkers of each stage of the humankind’s development. Currently, civilization tries to guarantee the apprehension of the right to liberty and personal integrity. Such an approach excludes being in slavery or in a hostile state. Hence, various agents of human expertise, including political, social, and medical ones, have elaborated numerous normative documents and ensured an active international engagement in this matter. At the same time, the defilements of this ultimate natural human right in modern world take alarming forms, wherein the most intimidating one is human trafficking. The victims of trafficking in the different forms of servitude are tens of millions of people in fundamentally all countries of the world. In order to counteract this crime effectively, a theoretical understanding of the phenomena of human trafficking and contemporary slavery is necessary, and one is expected to understand their historical and social origins. However, apart from the political aspect of the issue, the nursing field of human expertise is one of the key components that are expected to help fight against this type of crime. Therefore, human trafficking is to be perceived primarily from the perspective of nursing as this field of human expertise is essential when supporting and aiding the victims of this crime.
Human trafficking is known to be a rather old social phenomenon that has existed at different stages of the humankind’s development. Certainly, over the course of time, this form of slavery has undergone certain modifications and changes, but it has retained the notion of humans as goods that can be traded. Human trafficking had long been associated with slavery since it was possible to sell someone who was one’s property. Therefore, this person could have been referred to as a slave. Classical slavery could be illustrated best by the example of ancient slavery, the main economic institution of the ancient world that had defined the nature of the social organization of society during that historic period (Curran, Naidoo, & Mchunu, 2017). Thus, the sources of the formation of legal mechanisms for the regulation of human trafficking initially emerged in ancient Greece. Consequently, the first medical fundamentals of help to slaves were created. Certainly, in Ancient Greece, this help was minimal as slaves were not treated equally to free individuals.
The dialectic of the historical process could be manifested by the fact that the birth of a progressive democratic form of government was facilitated by the regressive form of exploitation of a man by another man. Thus, the introduction and development of slavery gave the free citizen a time to engage in politics, which made democracy possible (Curran et al., 2017). With the development of democracy, the nursing field was developed as well. However, the medical science was not supposed to treat or support slaves in contrast to modern conditions.
With time, slavery did not disappear entirely. On the contrary, it was transformed. It is obvious that today, the concept of slavery is most often used in a metaphorical meaning and actually is substituted by the phrase ‘human trafficking’ (Curran et al., 2017). When it comes to nursing component of this issue, it is possible to learn that medicine in this case is dependent on certain aspects. They are represented by the earnings below the living wage, lack of money, child labor, and economic dependence on the employer in regions where unemployment is widespread (Curran et al., 2017). Consequently, nursing is considered as medical services are also in some dependence on these factors. The main feature of this case, obviously, is lack of choice. The key concept has always been considered as the concept of ownership, but modern society no longer allows the legal ability of one person to own others. Today, even from the nursing perspective, slavery is illegal. However, when people are purchased, nobody requires a certificate of ownership (Curran et al., 2017). Subsequently, this proprietorship is based on the physical intimidation to preserve power over these individuals. Frequently, this leads to numerous health issues of a person enslaved. For slaveowners, the absence of legal grounds is only an advantage since they receive a full control over their property without any responsibility for them.
Throughout the history of mankind, the world community has faced the problem of human trafficking. This phenomenon has always existed, although it took innumerable forms. Even the Roman law was aware of a particularly serious crime - encroaching on human freedom. Such a crime implied the kidnapping of a free man and his sale to slavery. In contemporary conditions, human trafficking is one of the most difficult forms of international crime. Moreover, this form of slavery encroaches on the dignity, self-determination, and inviolability of a person’s personality, reducing an individual the level of “commodity for trade” (Curran et al., 2017). Trafficking manifests itself in various forms, from employing and bringing to prostitution to illegally engaging in any nature of activity, organizing the bride market, sex tourism, and trafficking of children.
Comparing the slavery of the old and the new models, which in the normative medical legal acts denotes different notions, the most widespread of them is the term of ‘human trafficking’. The slavery of the old model required the formalization of the property right, the price for the slaves was high, and the profit relatively small, while despite demand, the shortage of slave labor was felt due to lack of potential slaves (Curran et al., 2017). However, slavery even increased with the development of social relations and the industrial development of countries (Curran et al., 2017). Slaves and masters engaged in long-term relationships, in which slaves were kept in an able-bodied state, while racial and ethnic differences were essential for slavery of the old model (Curran et al., 2017). As for the new forms of slavery, their essential characteristic is the evasion of the registration of property rights, the low price of slaves with the extremely high level of profit, and the surplus of potential slaves. Moreover, slaves and masters form short-term relations, which enables masters to substitute their slaves easily and shows that they are irrelevant. Finally, for the modern forms of slavery, racial and ethnic differences are no longer decisive, and, in general, not imperative in many cases.
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Within the present conditions, one of the most insistent issues of contemporary society is the problem of human trafficking. At the beginning of the 21st century, this was known to become the most acute and serious social threat for the humanity. Specifically, human trafficking is quite widespread in the sphere of criminal business (Holtz, 2016). In most cases, this spread is presupposed by the high cost-effectiveness of using slave labor (Curran et al., 2017). In addition to this, the danger of this crime is augmented due to its inexpression and because it is a network business that requires the involvement of more people and means to recruit for its organization and implementation. In addition, human trafficking needs transportation means to move these ‘living goods’ across the border to the destination of their owners.
One of the most popular practices of human trafficking is women trafficking with the intention of engaging them in prostitution. This phenomenon occupies a special place in the process of human trafficking as it aims to force females to sexual labor and escort (Holtz, 2016). In modern conditions, the regulations and fight against slave trade are impossible without combatting the organized prostitution. The ‘human goods’ trade for the purpose of providing sexual services, according to the UN, occurs in 92% of all other forms of slave trade (Holtz, 2016). Organized forms of prostitution include brothels as well as organized street prostitution. From the point of view of the modern understanding of international community, brothels are one of the legal forms of human trafficking. The trafficking of women as a social and criminal phenomenon provokes the most contradictory and radical judgments (Holtz, 2016). They arise from the direct recognition of the existence of this phenomenon and call to fight it with a few public organizations and a number of state ones (Holtz, 2016). As a rule, they include law enforcement agencies and medical institutions (Holtz, 2016). The latter are responsible for the documentation on regulations of medical process and healthcare to help the victims of human trafficking and provide them with the necessary medical support (Holtz, 2016). These regulations are mainly elaborated by the United Nations Organization and the World Health Organization. As a consequence, it is possible to presuppose that nursing is one of the paramount essentials for the development of the strategies to combat human trafficking. One of the basic approaches and regulations in this area is the education of people, especially the most vulnerable layers of population for them to be able to escape becoming a victim of human trafficking.
One of the most effective and rational ways to counteract the phenomenon under discussion is the improvement of the national criminal law by ensuring the legal responsibility for the trafficking of humans. In addition to this, it is paramount to improve the medical regulations of the issue as its victims are frequently in an urgent need of medical qualified help that can save their lives (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). Not only does this move create a normative base for the use of repressive measures against human trafficking, but it also has an independent preventive and educational influence on society (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). The latter two functions are usually the prerogative of the nursing organizations and medical institutions regardless of the country or region (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). It should be noted that the most effective means of preventing human trafficking is not the existence of criminal legislation but the inevitability of criminal liability for these crimes.
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An inseparable and complex measure in the fight against human trafficking is informing society about this problem, which should reveal the essence of the issue, provide public support, and potentially create non-governmental organizations that help law enforcement agencies collect and consolidate related data. This function can be generally referred to as the ‘burden of chronic care’ and it is executed by the nurses, medical staff, and doctors who are engaged in the work for medical institutions. Moreover, it is required to ensure the interaction of state bodies, mass media, and public medical organizations in the fight against human trafficking, wherein the role of the latter cannot be overestimated. This fight must be serious in every country where there is strong civil society, charity, and enthusiasts (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). Along with the medical staff, they can offer counseling skills that facilitate the identification of victims of trafficking, usually after they have been removed from the places where trafficking is practiced (Holtz, 2016). Non-governmental organizations and the representatives of the media can also play a valuable role in ensuring the enforcement of legal standards for crime prevention and victim assistance by acting as witnesses and requiring accountability (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). However, non-governmental organizations should not play a leading role since it must belong to the state bodies (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). Thus, it is possible to state that the governmental and various official state bodies should cooperate closely with medical institutions to ensure that the educative function is performed to the necessary extent to prevent the possible cases of human trafficking.
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At the moment, from the nursing point of view, there is a need to organize information campaigns that would reach all potential victims of trafficking, especially women who wish to emigrate, their families, and friends (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). They must receive information about the possibility of legal emigration and restrictions, while they should also pay the utmost attention to the risks, associated with illegal immigration and the negative consequences of trafficking. These campaigns would need to allow potential victims to make decisions that would be based on the facts and they should be able to ask for help in the case of malicious use and exploitation (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). Medical information about the dangers of trafficking and the sexual use of children, young men, and women should be spread as widely as possible. In addition to this, special efforts must be made to reach poor people, their children, adolescents, and the youth who have remained outside the education system (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). From the medical point of view, information campaigns in the mass media would be an important long-term, preventive measure conducted in a single complex to raise public awareness about such a phenomenon as human trafficking (Albright & D’Adamo, 2017). Criminals habitually use lack of this objective information to lure victims with low earnings and the promises of a much higher standard of living. Since people often become the victims of trafficking by deception, the general awareness of these potential victims increases the possibility of them becoming aware of criminal acts against themselves. As a result, they could get rid of the humiliating experience as well as potentially help law enforcement agencies.
To sum up, human trafficking has a profound history, and as a sociocultural phenomenon, it has existed for thousands of years, being an essential part of societies in the great epochs of the past. The role of nursing in the prevention and fight against human trafficking is paramount as this very field of human expertise is able to prevent or stop this negative criminal activity. The main milestones of the history of slavery and slave trade indicate that these phenomena cannot be considered accidental, as they are legitimate results of the process of social development. Thus, in those civilizations where they existed, they were an integral part of the social system. Obviously, one should not underestimate the fact that the majority of the achievements of mankind in those epochs would be hardly possible without slavery. In this regard, the analysis of human trafficking and, accordingly, the search for the ways to overcome this degrading practice as well as the ways to stop the disgraceful activity of selling people should not be superficial. Only in the light of the deep societal origins of slavery, the moral, legal, economic, and political aspects of the trafficking of human beings, one can hope to find constructive proposals to counteract this modern slavery.