Scholarship of Discovery; Scholarship of Community Application
This paper is based on the experience of living in Washington D.C., interning in the Senate, and participating in the American Studies Program for a semester in order to comprehensively research immigration reform with a focus on human trafficking laws and border security. Human trafficking violates human rights by forcing or coercing men, women, and children for sexual or labor exploitation. Globally, 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked and 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year. This paper exposes the issue of human trafficking, reports research, and answers questions about how human trafficking affects its victims, how the United States is involved in helping and hurting the victims, what actions would reduce human trafficking, how border control contributes to the solution or to the problem, and what comprises a good solution for border control and other immigration policies. After extensive research, policy recommendations that will combat human trafficking most effectively include: expanding the fence along the US-Mexico border, mandating and funding training of border security agents, creating a collaborative database, making the aiding of law enforcement a non-mandatory aspect of acquiring a T-Visa, increasing penalties for traffickers and consumers of the trafficking industry, and fully implementing the Trafficking and Victims Protection Act. This multi-faceted policy recommendation focuses on balancing the provision of security to the United States in conjunction with reconciling the needs of humanitarianism by providing services and opportunities for trafficked victims with the ultimate goal of striving for proximate justice.