The Child Connection In Human Trafficking: Coerced And Compelled

As recently highlighted in our previous article below, the global number of prosecutions for human traffickers is alarmingly low.

Human Trafficking – The Child Connection

According to the 2017 US State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report[1] there were only 14,894 prosecutions and 9,071 convictions in 2016 globally. Of these prosecuted cases, only 2% dealt directly with child human trafficking cases. There are three elements of human trafficking under the Palermo Protocols[2] upon which the majority of world laws are based: the Act, the Means, and the Purpose.

The Act is the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring, and receipt of persons.

The Means is the threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, giving payments or benefits.

The Purpose is exploitation, including prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices, removal of organs, and other types of exploitation.

Child Trafficking Prosecution

For adults, you must prove a combination of all three elements to have a successful prosecution and conviction of the human trafficking criminals. For children, however, you need only prove TWO of those elements: THE ACT and THE PURPOSE. Therefore, all that has to be (technically) proven with children is movement and exploitation. Move a child from A to B with intent to exploit or where they are exploited and it is a crime. A child’s testimony is not needed.

In theory, Child Trafficking should be easier to prove and convict against.

The Palermo Protocol Expansion

An important part of the protection and elements of prosecution was adjusted and passed by The European Parliament Directive 36/2011 (Passed on 5th April 2011).[3] Paragraph 11 outlines begging and criminal activities, such as stealing, as forms of exploitation. This expands on the Palermo Protocol. Paragraph 14 outlines the “non-criminalization” of victims, in that a victim of trafficking may have been compelled to commit a crime. This states that persons should not face prosecution if they have committed a crime under the direction of a trafficker or as a form of exploitation.

Many prosecutors and judges continue to use the word forced when talking about exploitation. Many people talk about victims being forced into prostitution or other forms of exploitation. This is incorrect terminology. It is important that the word used is compelled and not forced.

“Force” is the most extreme word from the Means element of the Palermo definition and suggests there must be threats of violence or exertion of power. However, force is only one element of coercion. In most circumstances people are tricked, deceived, lied to, made false promises, etc., that leads them into trafficking. Force, fear, and threats are usually control mechanisms once a person is already trapped.

We should be using the terms compelled and coerced as the main elements, not force.

This is why it is important to create a global standard of education and certification so that all who are involved in the fight against child trafficking are aware of the best practices in protection, prevention, and persecution. Otherwise, opportunities for successful prosecution may be missed.

It will take the collaboration of global businesses and agencies together to promote one global standard that will create a better world for the children that live in it.

Through, Jax Harrison and Bernie Gravett are working to create collaboration of business and agencies using technology, education, and certification to create one global standard for the prevention and prosecution of child trafficking. Harrison is also the CEO of JaxHarrisonNetwork, a Global Ambassador for Inspiring Rarebirds, and a board member of the Justice Project of Kansas City, a human rights initiative advocating for and supporting system-challenged women in need. Bernie Gravett, Director of Specialist Policing Consultancy, is an expert in countering organized crime at an international level, training governments and organizations around the world in anti-human trafficking.





Jax Harrison, with Bernie Gravett
Jax Harrison, with Bernie Gravett
Jax Harrison is the founder of the Jax Harrison Network, an independent Consulting Agency. Working to develop PR strategy and communications, she understands how the evolving worlds of technology and social networks intersect with traditional marketing and public relations. Jax develops strategic alliances and utilizes her network to create opportunity. Clients have included the Kauffman Foundation - FastTrac, a program that assists entrepreneurs in starting and building businesses across the United States. Jax is also an advocate for the empowerment of women. She is a Global Ambassador for Inspiring RareBirds, working to develop the next generation of women in leadership. She is a Board Member with the Justice Project of Kansas City and previously worked with the Canadian Women’s Embassy Charity Group in Peru, raising funds and reporting on women and children - focused development projects. While living in Peru Jax helped to found Father Joe’s Orphanage, a non-profit that rescued children from war-torn terrorist areas. Born in New Zealand, Jax has lived all over the world and has extensive experience in the entertainment industry, specializing in television, film, and photography. She co-founded Biscuit 8, a venture that represented photographers and directors; producing television, films and commercial photography. Jax currently resides in Northern California’s Bay Area, is a dedicated humanitarian, and works to benefit humankind in her downtime, specifically anti-human trafficking, and is a founder of Jax believes that the practice of Kindness, specifically mindful kindness, makes a difference in all areas of life.

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  1. This is an area that should be on concern and interest to everyone because it’s happening worldwide and systems should not be using word choices as a reason not to convict. They’re all bad situations that rob victims of every vestige of dignity. However, it pains my heart especially when innocent children are involved.

    • Hi Yvonne,
      Thank you so much for reading the article – I agree it should be of concern to everyone because it is happening worldwide and right here at home. The word choices are a point on the reason to have global standards and education – people do not always know the options to help get convictions. It is a terrible thing that 10 million children today around the world are currently trafficked in the worst possible way. We can and must do better. Please share and head over to the website to sign up for updates. Thank you.

      Best Jax

  2. This is such an important educational information the whole world should read. Human trafficking, especial child trafficking, is much larger than we realize. Yes, there are large organizations involved, but often the problem begins in the homes. Thank you for this article.

    • Hi Kathleen – thank you – yes you are right – as data is so new we dont even know the whole scope of the issue. And education and awareness will hopefully prevent and protect children from being trafficked. Thanks for reading it and commenting! Please share and head over to our website to sign up for emails.