24 Jun 2022


Human Trafficking: The Facts

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 948

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Human trafficking is a common issue and world crisis. The FBI reports that cases of human trafficking increasing in the last few years ( Farrell et al., 2019) . Although it is common, many people have only come across the cases through the scenes on movies. Interestingly, the world perceives human trafficking in relation to trade involving children and women who are then subjected to sex. However, human trafficking is a broad issue that rates as second form of trafficking after drugs. It extends to the case of labor reasons where the victims are subjected to work in various setups such as in manufacturing, agriculture, domestic service, mining, and construction sectors. The paper will address the deontology and virtue ethics theories, in addition to reflecting on the egoism perspective in discussing the ethical issue connected to human trafficking. 

Human trafficking refers to the deportation, recruitment or harboring of people through coercion, threat, fraud, power abuse or deceit where the person receiving them will have control over them in addition to their exploitation ( Graycar, 2017) . It is unethical act that denies people their freedom by forcing them into things without their consent. Generally, the aims of human traffickers are focused on making a personal gain. The disregard aspect makes it a morally wrong act by the perpetrators and beneficiaries. 

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In the wake of the issue, the government has come up with various regulations and laws to curb the act. For instance, the federal government operates with laws such as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 that aims at discouraging trafficking issue ( Reauthorization, 2008). It protects and prevents the citizens in addition to ensuring prosecutions of the accused operators of the act. In the past, human trafficking enjoyed success through deceitful means hence making, many people to end up victims. Unfortunately, people tend to think that human trafficking acts happen in other places and thus remain less sensitive when the threat poses to them hence ending up as victims. therefore, led to the separation of individuals from their families. Since people are subjected to forced duties, the victims have no communication abilities to reach out for help making it difficult to regain their own freedom. On the other hand, the affected families are forced to move on with their lives as they can only await the government efforts to reach out to their loved ones. 

Virtue Ethics 

Generally, traffickers target the weak people in the society especially children as they have no protection or means for calling for help. Children are easy targets as they are deceived with small gifts and find themselves in the wrong hands. Again, the vulnerability of the poor and unemployed people is very high to the human trafficking vice. The traffickers will give a great offer that promises a better life to the victim yet being a witting form of deceiving them. However, it results in abuse of the victims which is totally unethical practice on humanity. 

The virtue ethics theory revolves on the judgment on a person’s actions towards others concerning their character and compared it to the normal expected behavior. It points out on the motivations that would drive others into things that they do not agree since they have no knowledge of the consequences but come to realize later that it was not as they expected ( Annas, 2015) . Human trafficking comes against the expectations of the victims where they find themselves in situations they would never have imagined. 


According to Rothman et al. (2017), cases revolving on human trafficking have increased with over 2800 investigation being recorded in 2015 alone. It is clear that the human traffickers have no concerns on the people they subject to their deals but only cares about their personal gains. Mosser (2013) argues that a person should not take advantage of others to make their own gains without considering others. However, this is the opposite case of human trafficking operators. The argument explores the issues of using others to make a certain gain through deceiving where they have no knowledge of what is happening ( Campana and Varese, 2016) . It is true to consider the human traffickers as individuals do not respect other people thus they subject as victims of their acts but are only interested in their own selfish motives. 

According to the deontological theory, a person will adhere to the duties and obligations they have on others ( Hunt and Vitell, 2016) . In this case, every action taken must be ethically right. In regard to the actions taken by an individual, one must uphold their said duties in addition to adhering to their obligations. However, human trafficking takes a different turn of things from what is promised. In this case, the victims find themselves in things such as forced labor instead of good fortunes promised by the traffickers. 

Ethical Egoism Perspective 

All the operators of human trafficking exhibit similar ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is a perspective where the moral agents act in a way that only leads to personal benefits in satisfaction of their own self-interest ( Machan, 2015). With the case of human traffickers’ acts, such individuals act in the high and sole interest of their own gain. Although promoting ones goodness is right, it becomes unethical in case it happens at the expense of other people. Traffickers simply take advantage of other people and will never care about them in any way. 


The paper has discussed the issue of human trafficking through the theory lenses of deontology and virtue ethics theories in addition to egoism perspective. Human trafficking is an illegal and unethical act that should be discouraged by all concerned and relevant groups and agencies. The act can be countered through awareness campaigns that will enlighten people to easily rely on the possibility of falling victims. 


Annas, J. (2015). Applying virtue to ethics. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 32(1), 1-14 

Campana, P., & Varese, F. (2016). Exploitation in human trafficking and smuggling. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research , 22 (1), 89-105. 

Farrell, A., Dank, M., Kafafian, M., Lockwood, S., Pfeffer, R., Hughes, A., ... & United States of America. (2019). Capturing Human Trafficking Victimization Through Crime Reporting . Technical Report 2015-VF-GX-0105, National Institute of Justice. 

Graycar, A. (2017). Trafficking in human beings. In Migration, Culture Conflict and Crime (pp. 23-42). Routledge. 

Hunt, S. D., & Vitell, S. J. (2016). Personal Moral Codes and the Hunt-Vitell Theory of Ethics: Why Do People’s Ethical Judgments Differ?. In  Business ethics: New Challenges for Business Schools and Corporate Leaders  (pp. 30-49). Routledge. 

Mosser, K., (2013). Ethics and social responsibility. (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu Bridgepoint Education, Inc. 

Reauthorization, V. P. (2008). William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.  Public law 110 , 457. 

Rothman, E. F., Stoklosa, H., Baldwin, S. B., Chisolm-Straker, M., Price, R. K., & Atkinson, H. G. (2017). Public Health Research Priorities to Address US Human Trafficking. American Journal Of Public Health, 107(7), 1045-1047. 

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