Every state exerts its power and authority over a particular territory that is limited by borders. Nations draw significant attention to overseeing their borders, and appropriate agencies are responsible for controlling this issue. In the United States, the Customs Service and the Department of Defense make sure that unauthorized people or objects neither enter nor leave the country. However, human trafficking and narcoterrorism are essential and widespread problems, which denotes that specific interventions, including the use of technology and intelligence services, are needed to address the issues in border security.
Introducing the Problem
Human trafficking is a severe problem that adversely affects people from different world countries. Bayer (2020) defines the term as “a form of modern-day slavery involving the illegal transport of individuals by force or deception for the purposes of labor, sexual exploitation, or activities in which others benefit financially” (p. 2). Avdan and Omelicheva (2021) add that there are four types of the problem, and they include forced recruitment, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, and slavery. There is no doubt that this phenomenon negatively influences all the involved individuals.
Narcoterrorism is another problem that often occurs because of insufficient border control. According to Burton (2019), this term combines narcotics and terrorism concerns and implies that organized crime groups engage in producing, distributing, and selling illegal drugs throughout various territories. Thus, narcoterrorism thrives when there is poor border control because criminals obtain an opportunity to cross the border illegally and move illicit substances without any supervision and control.
Problem Scope and Reasons
Human trafficking and narcoterrorism are global problems, but developing countries are their typical sources. In particular, individuals from Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia usually become victims of human trafficking (Bayer, 2020). Simultaneously, Colombia and Afghanistan are the most significant production places, and substances are distributed across the globe from these countries (Burton, 2019). As a rule, people and drugs from these locations enter the United States, which results in fundamental problems for the nation.
However, one cannot state that developing nations are only responsible for the existence of these problems in the US. Felbab-Brown (2022) stipulates that Chinese actors and markets are a source of drugs for Mexican criminal groups. When these substances reach this North American country, local criminals often cross the US border illegally to deliver drugs to the American market. This process can be a part of a large-scale China-US opposition, but this phenomenon is beyond the scope of the given paper. It is only reasonable to add that the problems of human trafficking and drugs are significant in the United States.
One should state that many additional processes and phenomena are responsible for the spread of human trafficking and narcoterrorism within the US. According to Avdan and Omelicheva (2021), “groups with wide alliance networks and territorial control are more likely to commit human trafficking” (p. 1576). This statement denotes that criminals rely on developed systems that help them engage in this illegal activity. Such people often have many resources and possibilities to violate the law. Simultaneously, other researchers stipulate that terrorist groups can have some ties to local political, social, and economic actors (Omelicheva & Markowitz, 2021). One can explain that there some people within the United States are interested in the problem because the latter can lead to their personal benefits. However, all these aspects exist because criminals have an opportunity to cross borders illegally, which requires intervention.
Even though there is no doubt that the phenomena under analysis are significant, it is still reasonable to analyze them from a Christian worldview. It is mentioned in the Bible that captives should be provided with freedom (English Standard Version Bible, 2001, Isaiah 61:1). That is why human trafficking is wrongdoing that goes against biblical principles. The Holy Scripture presents an equally negative attitude toward drugs. For example, drunkenness is considered a significant fault that can prevent people from inheriting the kingdom of God (English Standard Version Bible, 2001, Galatians 5:21). That is why every person who either consumes or distributes drugs commits essential wrongdoing. That is why it is necessary to consider what actions the US has already taken to address the problems.
The American government understands that human trafficking and narcoterrorism are essential problems. That is why appropriate legislative actions have been taken to address the situation. For example, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, and this act declared human trafficking a federal crime (Bayer, 2020). Appropriate federal agencies were also established to enforce the law, find criminals, and free victims. In 2019, the Fight Illicit Networks and Detect Trafficking Act also appeared to make the Government Accountability Office combat drug and sex trafficking (Bayer, 2020). Thus, one can state that the US adjusts its legislation to address topical problems and mitigate their negative impact.
The use of armed forces is another way how the US tries to protect its citizens from the dangers under analysis. The most evident examples refer to the fact that the American armed forces were tasked with combatting narcotics traffickers in Colombia and Afghanistan (Burton, 2019). This step was an effort to solve the problem in its incipience because it was decided to make it challenging for criminal groups to produce drugs.
Simultaneously, the United States relies on its soft power to solve the problem. This statement refers to the fact that the state allocates various non-governmental organizations and US Agency for International Development offices in different world countries. In Colombia, these institutions promoted food security and alternative livelihood programs to reduce locals’ cocaine dependency (Burton, 2019). Various humanitarian missions are sent to other parts of the world to reduce the number of emigrants who can further become victims of human trafficking. Since the problems still exist, one can state that these steps are insufficient. That is why it is reasonable to analyze how it is possible to improve border security to make it more challenging for criminals to move people and drugs across borders.
It is reasonable to consider what specific actions the United States can make to improve the current state of affairs. Firstly, Bayer (2020) stipulates that it is necessary to increase national defense spending. Since the measures taken are not sufficient, it is necessary to introduce improvements that require additional resources. That is why the US government should allocate more funds to have an opportunity to improve border security. One should admit that any positive changes are possible if appropriate organizations have sufficient resources to implement changes and lead to positive outcomes. Even though this economic burden can be significant for the US government, preventing the problem might be more cost-effective than responding to its outcomes. Thus, it is necessary to have sufficient monetary resources at hand prior to introducing the interventions that will be discussed below.
Secondly, it is reasonable to utilize a systematic approach to solving the issue. This statement denotes that more money should be spent on research and development projects (Akkerman, 2018). Appropriate studies, surveys, and various experiments should take place to determine the most effective interventions that can improve border control and mitigate the effect of human trafficking and narcoterrorism on the United States. Simultaneously, it seems reasonable to invest more monetary resources into the military and security industries (Akkerman, 2018). When practical interventions are identified, the US will need to have facilities to bring the required changes into life. For example, if a specific project identifies that a particular technological solution can significantly improve a situation, the nation should be sure that it will have all the needed capacities to manufacture and introduce this technology. The first two steps reveal what preliminary processes are required to bring positive changes.
Thirdly, numerous technological solutions can significantly improve border security. As a rule, people illegally cross borders at night because darkness can hide their actions. That is why it is rational to equip borders with infrared cameras and sound sensors (Sudir & Manoj, 2022). These tools can significantly improve the efficacy of the border officers because the latter will obtain a better opportunity to detect criminals. The suggested approach implies that this technology deprives smugglers of their advantage caused by hours of darkness. Furthermore, another suitable response is to attach an electric current to the fence on the border (Sudir & Manoj, 2022). In this case, criminals cannot easily overcome this obstacle and commit their offenses. These suggestions are considered effective because they ensure that officers in charge will have an opportunity to control and oversee the border better. In other words, these technological solutions will increase the productivity of officers in charge because the same number of individuals can effectively oversee a larger perimeter.
Fourthly, various researchers advocate for the more active use of technology to increase border control. Koslowski and Schulzke (2018) highlight the potential benefits that drones can bring. The researchers state that these aerial tools are highly valuable because they travel along borders to detect unauthorized movement (Koslowski & Schulzke, 2018). However, this technology also faces some criticism because of possible privacy issues. Some experts indicate that drones infringe on people’s privacy, which might make the use of these tools unethical. However, Koslowski and Schulzke (2018) explain that privacy issues are irrelevant because drones can help save migrants’ lives when they try to cross the border through deserts or the sea. That is why it is necessary to have the required number of these aerial devices and train drone operators. In this case, it will be possible to increase border security and contribute to more evident advantages that refer to saving people’s lives.
Finally, even though technological solutions can result in essential advantages, it is impossible to state that they alone are sufficient to address the problem. A combination of various interventions is needed to increase border protection. On the one hand, facilitated technology is needed, and it is essential to rely on various radars, sensors, and cameras (Government Accountability Office [GAO], 2018). As has been mentioned above, these tools can significantly increase officers’ productivity. On the other hand, borders should be adequately equipped to make their illegal crossing challenging. This statement refers to the fact that specific fencing, road, and lighting systems are needed to ensure that it is difficult for criminals to cross borders secretly (Government Accountability Office [GAO], 2018). One can suggest that such a comprehensive approach can result in positive outcomes because technology, the physical environment, and officers’ performance contribute to one another, which often leads to increased border security and control.
The paper has determined that human trafficking and narcoterrorism are significant issues in the United States. Many factors contribute to the problem, and insufficient border security is essential because it implies that people and drugs illegally cross the national border. The American government currently takes certain measures to control the situation, but these steps are insufficient. That is why the paper has analyzed the existing literature and offered specific recommendations on how to improve this state of affairs. In the beginning, it is necessary to increase spending on defense and research and development projects. Thus, the analysis of expert opinions has demonstrated that technological interventions should be actively used to make border control more effective. Infrared cameras, sound sensors, radars, and drones are practical solutions that can improve border officers’ performance and productivity. Simultaneously, the physical environment should be adequately changed to make it challenging for criminals to move people and objects across borders.
Akkerman, M. (2018). Militarization of European border security. In N. Karampekios et al. (Eds.), The emergence of EU defense research policy (pp. 337-355). Springer.
Avdan, N., & Omelicheva, M. (2021). Human trafficking-terrorism nexus: When violent non-state actors engage in the modern-day slavery. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 65(9), 1576-1606.
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Burton, L. (2019). The convergence of the war on terror and the war on drugs: A counter-narcoterrorism approach as a policy response (Publication No. 1088420502) [Senior Thesis, Claremont McKenna College]. Web.
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). ESV Online. Web.
Felbab-Brown, V. (2022). The China connection in Mexico’s illegal economies. Brookings. Web.
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Omelicheva, M. Y., & Markowitz, L. P. (2021). Rethinking intersections of crime and terrorism: Insights from political economies of violence. International Studies Review, 23(4), 1541-1565. Web.
Sudir, P., & Manoj, R. (2022). Intelligent border security trespasser detection using IoT and embedded systems. International Journal of Research Publication and Reviews, 3(7), 3201-3203.