• Case Study

Students will read chapter 6 of the Edward Alden text, The Closing of the American Border .


Upon completion of the weekly Alden chapter reading assignment, students will then submit a one-page summation, outlining the chapter.  The summations should concentrate on the political, cultural, ethnic and religious implications of this effort.  The summation should also cover the student’s personal observations of successes and/or failures of America’s efforts to secure its border pre & post 9/11.


The weekly summation will not require formatting or references, but points will be taken off for lack of content, grammatical errors and/or for a late submission.  The weekly chapter summation will be worth 25 points each week, for a total of 175 points (the final chapter of the Alden book will be included in the final exam). Note that on week 8 of the course, students will use information from their submissions from The Closing of the American Border case studies as building points for their final exam.













  • Chapter Six

For the purpose of this chapter, students need to understand the following definitions:

Contraband is all commerce that is carried on contrary to the laws of the state.  If the country you live in has a manufacturing base then protecting those industries by limiting competition becomes important from both economic and political perspectives. Competing products or lower quality products produced at a lower price will undercut the foundation of the economic base as people will naturally tend to buy the less expensive item.  This will reduce the demand for your existing production and subsequently reduce manufacturing output.

Smuggling is the criminal offense of bringing into, or removing from, a country those items that are prohibited or upon which customs or excise duties have not been paid. When a person, intentionally or unintentionally has in their possession goods the state has determined to be prohibited they can be convicted of smuggling.  Any person who is guilty of knowingly smuggling any goods that are prohibited by law can be charged with smuggling and be assessed civil penalties. Not only can the government seize the merchandise, any vessel or vehicle used to transport the contraband can also be taken under forfeiture proceedings.  To circumvent the prohibitions against importing contraband into a country the smuggler has traditionally used two methods. One is to simply avoid entering a country at a regular border crossing.  The other is to conceal the contraband in a conveyance and hope it remains undetected when passing through a regulated port of entry.

Antidumping (AD) and Counterfailing (CVD)   duties are additional duties that may be assessed on imported goods intended for sale in the United States at abnormally low prices. These low prices are the result of unfair foreign trade practices that give some imports an unearned advantage over competing U.S. goods.

Those who willfully worked to circumvent the high duties and taxes levied on imports and exports reap not only high profits, but also the respect and admiration of their fellow smugglers and the communities that benefited from the trade.  During the pre-drug smuggling and human trafficking days the purpose of smuggling was to circumvent the established trade policies of governments. Smuggling is simply an illegal form of the import/export business. Smuggling is not a Western phenomenon, but has a truly global flavor.

In the west, the islands of Great Britain saw much smuggling to and from mainland Europe between 1300 CE and the twentieth century.  The 18th century saw a remarkable increase in the amount of smuggling across England’s coasts, growing into a sizable industry that siphoned money abroad and channeled huge volumes of contraband into southern England.  The increase in smuggling activities in Great Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries was the direct result of punitive taxation implemented to pay for a series of costly wars on the Continent and in the Americas.

In North America there was also an ongoing smuggling venture.  The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 supposedly settled the boundaries of France and Great Britain.  Unfortunately, the Treaty failed to address several issues of boundaries with Spain.  The result was while, by treaty, the British were allowed to supply Spain’s American empire with slaves and one annual shipload of goods, the British South Seas Company shamefully abused the privilege by constantly restocking its vessel with fresh goods and sending it back to Spain’s new world possessions (Encyclopedia Britannic, 2016).

After American independence in 1783, smuggling developed at the edges of the United States at places like Passamaquoddy Bay, St. Mary’s in Georgia, Lake Champlain, and Louisiana.  During Thomas Jefferson’s embargo of 1807–1809, these same places became the primary locations where goods were smuggled out of the nation in defiance of the law.  The Prohibition Era saw a revival in smuggling and following the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution by the Twenty-first Amendment, smugglers turned to drug smuggling, which developed into a major issue for the U.S. by 1970.  Anytime a restriction is placed on import or export of goods to or from a certain country, smugglers will take advantage of the situation.

Similarly, as sanctions were placed on Iran in an attempt to drive the country into a situation where it would give up a perceived quest for nuclear weapons, a massive trucking industry rose in Iraq, shipping oil and gasoline into Iran.

In modern times, as many first-world countries have struggled to contain a rising influx of immigrants, the smuggling of people across national borders has become a lucrative extra-legal activity. The dark side, human-trafficking, has become concerning for the world community, especially the trafficking of women who may be enslaved, typically as prostitutes.

Countries have established a large number of regulatory agencies to address virtually every type of commodity.  The same system is instituted for exported items.  In order to import into the United States a Guide for Commercial Importers provides a reference of materials and conventions that importers have to comply with should they desire to bring items to the U.S.  When consulting this list it becomes obvious why some people simply choose not to go through the paperwork necessary to legally import their products. For many manufacturers it would be less costly to lose a load of product (while trying to smuggle it in) than to comply with the legal requirements for importation (CBP, 2006).

The Guide also provides a list and contact information of thirty-seven federal agencies and sub-agencies with regulatory or criminal jurisdiction over the various imports that are restricted or prohibited. If the product being imported comes from a country that is part of an international trade organization, convention, or free trade agreement, then each of the various regulations and statutes associated with the product being imported must also comply with the mandates of those agreements and treaties.  A short list of free trade agreements are listed in the 2006 CBP publication Importing to the United States: A Guide for Commercial Importers (CBP, 2006).

While the laws on importation and exportation may be exacting, once an importer or exporter establishes a system to comply with the various regulations, the system does tend to function in a relatively smooth manner.  The primary concern of customs inspectors then becomes the issue of contraband items (narcotics, insects and other biological threats to agriculture, weapons of mass destruction, trafficked humans, and the dumping of regulated merchandise) being secreted within an otherwise legal shipment.

Dumping and Anti-Dumpingdumping is the practice of selling products in the United States at lower prices than those same products would bring in the producer’s home market or at a price lower than it cost to manufacture that item.  “Subsidizing” is the practice by some governments of providing financial assistance to reduce manufacturers’ costs in producing particular commodities.

Countervailing duties (duty meaning an additional tax on certain items) may be assessed to “level the playing field” between domestic and subsidized imported goods.  However, to meet the criteria for assessing antidumping or countervailing duties, the imported merchandise must, in addition to being subsidized or sold at less than fair value, also injure a U.S. industry.

The Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission (ITC), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection each have a role in administering and enforcing antidumping and countervailing duty laws.  The Commerce Department is responsible for the general administration of these laws. Commerce determines whether the merchandise is being sold at less than fair value, whether it has been subsidized, and what percentage rate of duty will be assessed. The ITC determines whether the product poses an injury to a particular U.S. industry.  The CBP assesses the actual duties—the amount—based upon the rate set by the Commerce Department once the ITC has determined the import injures a particular industry.

In general, the following processes must be completed before antidumping or countervailing duties are established:

  • Antidumping and countervailing duty investigations are initiated by the Commerce Department.  A domestic industry petitions the department, although occasionally the Commerce Department may also initiate an investigation. If the party seeking the investigation also wants the ITC to test for injury, that party must simultaneously file the petition with both the Commerce Department and with the ITC.
  • If the petition contains the necessary elements, the Commerce Department and the ITC will initiate separate investigations that yield preliminary and final determinations.  If appropriate, the Department of Commerce issues either an antidumping or countervailing duty order and assesses whatever antidumping or countervailing duties the investigation determines are appropriate.
  • If a test is required for injury to a domestic industry, the ITC makes the determination concerning the likelihood of injury.  If that determination is negative, there will be no further action by the ITC.  If it is affirmative, the Commerce Department issues its preliminary determination regarding sales (antidumping) or subsidy (countervailing duties) issues.
  • After additional review by the Commerce Department issues its final duty determinations.  If either determination (antidumping or countervailing duties) is affirmative, Commerce directs CBP to suspend liquidation of entries for the merchandise subject to the investigation and to require cash deposits or bonds equal to the amount of the estimated dumping margin (the differential between the fair market value and the U.S. price) or the net subsidy.
  • The ITC follows with its final injury determination.  If this determination is also affirmative, Commerce issues an antidumping or countervailing duty order.  At that time, Commerce directs CBP to collect cash deposits of estimated duties.
  • A negative final determination either by Commerce or the ITC would terminate the investigations and that termination would remain final for this particular inquiry.  Both agencies announce their determinations, including orders and the results of the administration reviews in the Federal Register.

Throughout history one problem with measuring smuggling has been the only accurate numbers governments have to work with are the people who are caught.  Smuggling is big business and the profits are considerable.  There is one major change being experienced in the smuggling of contraband that has become problematic in the U.S. Illegal migrants are now being coerced by the Mexican drug cartels into being “drug mules” (humans carrying drugs across the border) in partial payment for being allowed to cross certain areas of Mexico, or for coyotes (human smugglers that cross migrants over the U.S. border) to guide them across remote areas of the Southwest.  This creates a situation where the illegal migrant is now no longer considered a person returnable to their country of origin, but drug traffickers subject to long prison sentences if caught. As always, smugglers will shift their efforts from one location to another based on the interdiction efforts of the violated country.

The products CBP officers work to prevent from entering the United States are those that would injure community health, public safety, American workers, children, or domestic plant and animal life, or those that would defeat national interests.  Sometimes the products that cause injury may seem fairly innocent. But, as is identified in the descriptive information on the CBP website, appearances can be deceiving.

On an international scale there are other major smuggling concerns. The trafficking of endangered species is of particular importance, particularly elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.  Traditional Chinese medicine touts rhinoceros horn as a cure for fevers and seizures.  This has created a situation where poachers kill rhinos for their horns.  Another animal nearly driven to extinction is the African Elephant.  Elephant tusks are ivory and are highly prized as decorative pieces.  The primary demand is in China, where artisans create some of the most beautiful carved works.  The demand for these carved works has resulted in an increase of elephant poaching, which has decimated many of the herds throughout Africa.

Smuggling is also a major concern for the countries of the European Union.  In the economic downturn from 2008 to 2012 there was a significant increase in the smuggling of cigarettes and other tobacco products into the EU.   In Slovakia the police discovered a 2,300-foot long underground tunnel under the border with neighboring Ukraine.  The tunnel had its own rail system and was quite sophisticated in construction. The tunnel contributed to the loss of upwards of 50 million euros ($60 million) in tobacco taxes.

High taxation is the fundamental issue driving smuggling into the European Union.  Member countries are required to tax certain products at rates so high that purchasing the same product in a non-member country offers not only a cost savings to the purchaser, but the opportunity to sell that product in the EU country for a considerable profit as part of the underground economy or “black market.”  A clear example is the issue of gasoline smuggling in the EU countries of Latvia and Estonia, which border Russia.  Around 12 million liters of cheap Russian gasoline is smuggled into Estonia every year, resulting in a loss of 5.8 million euros in tax revenue annually (Newsdesk, 2012).

Another modern smuggling issue is the one of guns into Mexico.  The Mexican government requested United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) traces on 99,691 firearms between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2011.  Of those that could be traced, about 68% originate in the U.S. Interestingly, between January 2007 and December 2011, only 27,825 (27.9%) of the requested traces could be traced to private sales in the U.S (Winter, 2012).  The rest came from unknown sources or other countries.  The majority of the firearms they acquire are “diverted” from official shipments to the Mexican government by corrupt officials and cartel members (UNODC, 2010).  It was these earlier tracing efforts that led to the Fast and Furious program by the BATFE to allow the sale of firearms to persons prohibited from owning firearms in an attempt to trace the guns to the cartel leadership.  Not only was Fast and Furious a failure, not a single cartel leader has ever been tied to one of the sold firearms, but several of the firearms have shown up on crime scenes where U.S. federal law enforcement agents were killed.  Part of the fallout over Fast and Furious was the U.S. House of Representatives holding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, for his failure to turn over documents requested by a Congressional committee.  This was the first ever move by Congress against a sitting Cabinet official.

Narcotics smuggling is another highly profitable enterprise.  Drug smuggling has an impact on every country involved, from point of origin to the end consumer.  The UNODC reported in 2008 the worldwide consumption of heroin reached 340 tons (UNODC, 2008).  Another major issue associated with smuggling is the trafficking of humans.  Worldwide humans are trafficked for labor, as forced brides, and for sex.  The traffickers do not discriminate by age, gender, or race and virtually every country has some form of modern slavery.

Smuggling has been occurring since humans established import and export restrictions or taxed goods sold in any city or state.  Smugglers take advantage of the profit potential that results when countries try to restrict the free exchange of commodities based on market values.  Laws and other regulations are instituted to protect domestic manufacturing interests, safety of the population, and for reasons of political policy to help or hinder economics in other countries.  Much of the worldwide smuggling effort is tied to attempts to circumvent high taxes on certain commodities or to supply a demand for illicit products, such as narcotics.  Anything of value can be declared contraband by a country for any number of reasons.  We really do not know the extent of smuggling of any given product anywhere in the world.  It is only possible to estimate the quantities of smuggled goods and persons based on what is actually seized in transit and the corresponding changes in price for the goods that do get through the gauntlet of agencies working to prevent smuggling.

Chapter Seven

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000) defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion; or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or,
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. A victim need not be physically transported from one location to another in order for the crime to fall within these definitions (106th Congress, 2000).

The root causes of human trafficking include poverty, lack of employment, and an inefficient system of labor migration.  The United Nations report on trafficking in persons (2006) notes most trafficking cases follow a similar pattern: people are abducted or recruited in their home country of origin and then transferred either voluntarily or involuntarily through various intermediate countries to the destination country.  At the global level, human trafficking for sexual exploitation is reported more frequently than trafficking for forced labor.  The primary discussion around human trafficking has concerned itself with the issue of trafficking for sexual exploitation.  In most cases, the issue of trafficking for labor has simply not been viewed as a significant issue in many countries (UNODC, 2006).

The full extent of the global trafficking problems is complex and difficult to describe.  The 2012 U.S. State Department Report, Trafficking in Persons, reveals over 120 of the world’s countries have embarked to legislate human rights issues to control trafficking.  To this point the efforts to control it have been relatively ineffective and inefficient (US Department of State, 2012).

Laws-there are several types of legislation that specifically refer to human trafficking.  These include:

  • the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2013 (U.S. law),
  • the Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) of 2008 (U.S. law),
  • and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (also referred to as the Trafficking Protocol, the Palermo Protocol, or the UN TIP Protocol, adopted by the United Nations in Palermo, Italy, in 2000).
  • the Palermo protocols are protocols that were adopted by the U.N. to supplement the 2000 Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  The protocols include:
  • the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; and
  • the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
  • the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition

The 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report notes globalization has impacted not only economics transnationally, but also human trafficking.  The end of the Cold War resulted in a rise in the number of refugees, including many who became victims of trafficking.  An umbrella term, trafficking in persons implies activities involved when one person obtains or holds another person in compelled service.  The “compelled service” can be defined in several ways, including involuntary servitude, slavery, debt bondage and forced labor.

Forced Labor-also known as involuntary servitude, results when unscrupulous employers exploit workers made more vulnerable by high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, or cultural acceptance of the practice.  Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals also may be forced into labor in their own countries.  Female victims of forced labor, especially women and girls in domestic servitude, are often sexually exploited as well.

Sex Trafficking-when an adult is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution that person is a victim of trafficking.  All of those involved in recruiting, transporting, harboring, receiving or obtaining the person for that purpose are committing a trafficking crime.  This includes those who purchase the “services” of the victim.  Sex trafficking can occur within debt bondage, as females are forced to continue in prostitution through the use of unlawful “debt” purportedly incurred through their transportation, recruitment, or even their crude “sale” which exploiters insist they must pay off before they can be free.  It is critical to understand a person’s initial consent to participate in prostitution is not legally determinative.  If thereafter they are held in service through psychological manipulation or physical force, they are trafficking victims and should receive benefits outlined in the Palermo Protocol and applicable domestic laws.

Debt Bondage-often referred to as “bonded labor” or “debt bondage,” the practice has long been prohibited under United States law by the term peonage and the Palermo Protocol requires its criminalization as a form of trafficking in persons.

Debt Bondage Among Migrant Laborers-abuses of contracts and hazardous conditions of employment for migrant laborers do not necessarily constitute human trafficking.  However, the imposition of illegal costs and debts on these laborers in the source country can contribute to a situation of debt bondage.

Domestic Servitude-a unique form of forced labor is the involuntary servitude of domestic workers, whose workplaces are informal, connected to their off-duty living quarters and not often shared with other workers.  The problem of forced domestic servitude, a form of modern slavery, is an issue even within the United States.

Forced Child Labor-a child can be a victim of human trafficking regardless of the location of that nonconsensual exploitation.  Indicators of possible forced labor of a child include situations in which the child appears to be in the custody of a non-family member who has the child perform work that financially benefits someone outside the child’s family and does not offer the child the option of leaving.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets a minimum age of 14 for most employment in non-hazardous, non-agricultural industries, but it limits the times of day and the number of hours 14 and 15-year-olds may work and the tasks they may perform.  The FLSA establishes an 18-year minimum age for non-agricultural occupations the Secretary of Labor declares to be particularly hazardous or detrimental to children’s health or well-being.  The Bureau of Labor, Wage and Health Division (WHD), carries out investigations of the FLSA’s child labor provisions. Complaints from the public about child labor are given the highest priority within the agency (U.S. Department of Labor, 2014).

Child Soldiers-child soldiering is a manifestation of human trafficking when it involves the forced and unlawful recruitment or use of children as combatants or for labor or sexual exploitation by armed forces.  Perpetrators may be government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. Many children are forcibly abducted to be used as combatants.  Others are unlawfully made to work as porters, cooks, guards, servants, messengers, or spies.  Young girls can be forced to marry or have sex with male combatants.

Child Sex Trafficking-UNICEF reports as many as two million children each year are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, 2006).  Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and death.  Experts, prosecutors and academics all say the same thing: that the crime is difficult to detect, and even more difficult to measure accurately.  Kevin Bales, author of the book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, says there are important things that distinguish it from a traditional means of slavery: there is no paperwork to prove ownership of the slave; there is a low cost of acquisitions relative to a high rate of returns; and a constant turnover of victims (Beall, 2015).

Human Trafficking Tier Placement-in the TIP Report, the Department of State places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking“ found in Section 108 of the TVPA (United States Department of State, 2012).

Tier 1-Tier 1 countries are those whose governments fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.  A country with a Tier 1 ranking acknowledges a human trafficking problem exists within its borders, and is currently working toward improving the problem. The United States is a country with a Tier 1 ranking.

Tier 2-Tier 2 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. Tier 2 includes a watch list and includes countries whose governments who do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards and:

  • The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing;
  • There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year, including increased investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking crimes, increased assistance to victims, and decreasing evidence of complicity in severe forms of trafficking by government officials, or
  • The determination a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional steps over the next year.

Tier 3-Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.  For Tier 3 countries there are penalties.  Pursuant to the TVPA, Tier 3 countries may be subject to certain sanctions, whereby the United States government may withhold or withdraw non-humanitarian, non-trade-related foreign assistance.  In addition, Tier 3 countries may not receive funding for government employees’ participation in educational and cultural exchange programs.  Consistent with the TVPA, governments subject to sanctions would also face U.S. opposition to assistance from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Trafficking in Europe-European countries are examples of places that have many more jobs than workers, while the economies of other countries cannot function without slave labor.  Unique social and political as well as economic systems in Europe actually contribute to the trafficking and migration problem.  Human trafficking proliferated in the final years of the Soviet period.  At first, trafficking victims were primarily women, but after the dissolution of the USSR, diverse forms of trafficking developed, facilitated by the rise of organized crime, the decline of borders, high levels of corruption and the incapacity of the transitional states to protect their citizens.

Trafficking in Asia-as of 2005 there were 12.3 million victims of forced labor and of those 9.5 million were in the region of Asia (ILO, 2005).  Both large and small Asian crime organizations specialize in human trafficking, as opposed to their counterparts in other regions of the world, which profit more significantly from drug trafficking.  It is difficult, if not completely impossible, for human trafficking to thrive in a region without either the covert or overt support of local officials.  All types of human trafficking exist in Asia.  Sexual and labor trafficking predominate, and debt bondage is pervasive, as well.  Not all the children are used for sex; some are trafficked to other areas of Asia as child soldiers.

Trafficking in the United States– the United States is a major source country for sex trafficking victims.  In addition, many other forms of trafficking occur among the massive illegal migrant population.  Despite the absence of widespread corruption and close links between traffickers and state officials, patterns of American trafficking more closely resemble those of a developing than a developed country.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and a crime against humanity.  Whether voluntarily or involuntarily, people are being taken advantage of, in heinous ways.  The pain and suffering enacted on these people is simply incalculable and takes place within the boundaries of every nation on earth.  Only the amount of suffering of each victim differs and the rationalizations for the abuse on the part of those taking advantage of the ones being trafficked.


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