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Impact of Human Trafficking

The phrase “human trafficking” has emerged as a potent lens for redefining and criminalizing human mobility. This way of thinking simultaneously reveals weaknesses and provides a strategy for preventing them. When looking at the situations in Bosnia and Kazakhstan, we can see the far-reaching effects of the term “human trafficking.”

The word “human trafficking” effectively reframes mobility from a socially and economically productive activity to a criminal one. The war’s aftermath in Bosnia paved the way for the sexual exploitation of civilians, particularly women. The official narrative, framed by the phrase “human trafficking,” depicts this exploitation as a criminal activity, stressing the agency of criminals and the suffering of those exploited (Snajdr, 2013). However, international relations, peacekeeping, and postwar instability are often overlooked in favor of criminalizing the problem. The word “human trafficking” in Kazakhstan reframes the flow of people according to an American-led narrative. Since the State Department classifies Kazakhstan as a Tier Three country (Snajdr, 2013), migration was first handled as a trafficking issue inside a more extensive effort concentrating on domestic abuse. This re-definition is in line with a growing body of international discourse that views some types of migration, especially those involving exploitation and coercion, as criminal acts. The workshop participants’ inability to separate trafficking from broader post-socialist changes and economic difficulties demonstrates the additional risk of oversimplifying local viewpoints and challenges.

In addition to already vulnerable people, the stigmatizing connotations of the word “human trafficking” can further exacerbate the problem. Accounts from both Bosnia and Kazakhstan focus on marginalized people, usually women, who fall victim to exploitation. However, by criminalizing the movement, there is a risk of victim-blaming and oversimplification. Workshop attendees in Kazakhstan displayed some cruel ethnovictimology, laying blame on lone “adventurers” rather than addressing the economic desperation and ethnic factors that contribute to susceptibility. The criticism of foreign NGOs in Kazakhstan provided by Snajdr (2013) demonstrates how the criminalization of mobility may obscure the intricacies of local circumstances. The phrase “human trafficking” might cause people to concentrate solely on legal frameworks and law enforcement, rather than on the broader social and economic solutions that are sometimes necessary to combat the problem. Based on the workshop’s revelations, criminalization alone may not address the core reasons for vulnerability.

However, the phrase “human trafficking” is also crucial in setting up safeguards. It makes it possible to recognize instances of exploitation and take appropriate measures against those responsible. As efforts to resolve the problem increased, the story in Bosnia moved from Tier Three to Tier One. The protective component of the word is not limited to punitive measures, as evidenced by the workshop in Kazakhstan that resulted in the creation of preventative measures and legal initiatives. The term’s protective effects are also visible in spreading information and formulating regulations (Snajdr, 2013). Participants at a workshop in Kazakhstan decided to make a brochure warning high school students about the perils of human trafficking as a form of protection and prevention. The establishment of legislative mechanisms and international collaboration in response to the worldwide discourse on human trafficking has laid the groundwork for tackling exploitation.

In conclusion, the term “human trafficking” reframes and criminalizes the movement of individuals while also revealing their vulnerabilities. There are benefits and drawbacks to using this phrase. It can reduce nuanced regional settings to generalizations, increasing the risk of victim blame and ineffective responses. Nonetheless, it offers a vital structure for determining the scope of exploitation, educating the public, and legislating preventative actions. Finding the right mix of criminal punishment and all-encompassing, situationally appropriate solutions to safeguard vulnerable groups is complicated.


Snajdr, E. (2013). Beneath the master narrative: human trafficking, myths of sexual slavery and ethnographic realities. Dialectical Anthropology37(2), 229–256.


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