Human Trafficking: An Issue of Human and National Security

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University of Miami National Security and Armed Conflict Law Review


here can be little doubt that trafficking in human beings, this billions-of dollars illicit industry, is a horrendous by-product of global poverty and the unchecked greed. As this avalanche of people enslavement rolls down into our communities, it is adversely impacting the individual, the nation-state and humankind. It is as much endangering the security of the individual human being as it is interfering with the security of the nation. Hence, in this day and age of technology and globalization, the concept of national security, should, in accordance with our values, include human security, as the only way to effectively counter global threats and to achieve a public order of human dignity Back in 1945, Edward Stettinius Jr., U.S. Secretary of State, reporting on the San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations, noted, with remarkable foresight: “The battle of peace has to be fought on two fronts. The first is the security front where victory spells freedom from fear. The second is the economic and social front where victory means freedom from want. Only victory on both fronts can assure the world of an enduring peace.” Today, almost 70 years later, we are still struggling to be free from fear, free from want, and free to live a life of dignity in our communities. In the context of human trafficking, interference with these freedoms is both its cause and its consequence. This paper will first focus on defining the notions of national security and human security, then describe the scope and magnitude of human trafficking globally, in our Western hemisphere, as well as in our own Sunshine State, analyze the connection of human trafficking to national security, and conclude with a brief appraisal and recommendation.

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