Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Dark Side Of Globalisation

There is no doubt that globalization marks the improvement of civilization, bridging gaps and increasing collaborative efforts between nations. As defined by webster, globalization is the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets that transcend nation-state boundaries. It has certainly brought many benefits to the world in the form of synergy and efficiency. Take education for example, with the introduction of the internet, knowledge between institutions can be shared across continents, providing individuals on opposite sides of the globe access to the same pieces of information, in turn allowing them to collaborate and assimilate ideas in order to formulate a solution that would not have arise without the emergence of globalisation.

Unfortunately, there are two sides to every coin.

One of the major determinants in globalisation is the increased transfer of people, both voluntary and coerced, giving the impression of a shrinking world. What this “shrinked world” leads to is easier access to human resources and cheap labour, which in turn opens up opportunities for crimes such as human trafficking, the dark side of globalisation.

Disparities of Developed and Developing Countries

Of the many benefits of globalisation, widespread education and easier access to people are two major phenomena. However, education may require significantly more time to advance and reach out to the entire population in a country as compared to its workforce accessibility which can improve drastically with the introduction of the internet and cheaper transportation.

Also, with the phenomena of outsourcing, low skilled jobs are given to developing countries whereas higher skilled jobs remain in the developed countries. This causes a widening of the wealth gap due to the fact that low skill workers acquire lower income increments whereas higher skilled workers are given faster pay rises. The richest 10% of households in the world have as much yearly income as the bottom 90% whereas poverty is widespread across the developing countries according to the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Human traffickers take advantage of these facts, knowing that their victims are financially vulnerable and have less knowledge of their individual rights and entitlements. With this in mind, they exploit the local population for selfish gains by providing cheap labour to more developed countries.

Increased Competition

Furthermore, globalisation leads to more competition between international companies. Companies are increasingly focused on reducing costs in order to gain a competitive advantage, disregarding social responsibilities and ethics in the process. Hence, there are increased demands for cheap labour, which induces an increased amount of human trafficking to fill this niche.

Technology Advancement

Social media or the internet improves information accessibility which facilitates the trafficking of individuals. Traffickers can easily post job advertisements in foreign countries to lure victims as compared to pre-Internet eras where they will be required to traverse across borders in order to “capture” their victims. Similarly, companies are able to perform online searches for cheap goods or labour from other parts of the world. New technologies also enable criminals to generate fake documents in order to successfully traffic individuals into the respective destination countries.

Improved International Mobility

Improved international mobility due to cheap transport and communication also contributes to the rise in human trafficking. Upon abduction of the victims, traffickers can transport the individuals from one spot to the point of delivery within a short period through previously established international networks. Technology enables traffickers to communicate with their counterparts in order to arrange transportation to ensure the swift transfer of forced labour from one part of the world to another.

We have seen how globalisation opens up opportunities for human traffickers to exploit people for profit, this causes countless adverse effects to the victims of trafficking. In the next post, we will examine how trafficking not only destroys individual lives but also influences society and nations as a whole.


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