The main difference between exploitation and abuse is that exploitation is treating someone unfairly in order to get benefits for yourself, whereas abuse is treating someone with cruelty or violence, often regularly or repeatedly.
Exploitation and abuse are a violation of human rights. Exploitation is a form of abuse. Moreover, it always involves one person or a group of people reaping benefits at the expense of others. For example, abusing someone refers to the physical or emotional mistreatment of that person, whereas exploitation refers to using someone to reap benefits.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Exploitation
– Definition, Characteristics, Forms
2. What is Abuse
– Definition, Characteristics, Forms
3. What is the Difference Between Exploitation and Abuse
– Comparison of Key Differences
Abuse, Exploitation, Criminal Exploitation, Labour Exploitation, Sexual Exploitation, Human Rights
What is Exploitation?
Exploitation means treating someone badly in order to get some benefit for yourself. In other words, it is a form of abuse where someone is manipulated or forced to doing something that benefits some others. Exploitation can take many forms, occur in various situations and involve different groups of people.
It is a situation where people are coerced to work for no or little compensation. For example, workers may be pressured into continuing work using various means such as the use of violence or intimidation, threatening with accumulated debt, and retention of identity documents. Labour exploitation happens in many fields, including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and factory work.
It is an occasion where a person is forced or manipulated to take part in sexual activities. Moreover, prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, internet chat rooms, massage spa, etc. are some places where sexual exploitation can take.
Criminal exploitation happens when a person is made to take part in criminal activities through deception, coercion or force. Furthermore, it can take many forms such as pickpocketing, drug distribution, bag snatching, etc.
In addition to the above, there are many other forms of exploitation, such as domestic servitude, forced marriages, organ harvesting, child soldiers, and debt bondage.
What is Abuse?
Abusing someone means treating someone with cruelty or violence, often regularly or repeatedly. Abusing involves someone purposefully harming another. It is actually an attempt to control the behaviour of another person. When we hear the word abuse, we usually think of physical abuse, which involves harming someone physically (ex: hitting, punching, etc.), but abuse can take many forms such as emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.
Physical Abuse – including hitting, punching, pulling hair, burning, shaking, strangling, throwing things, using a weapon or threatening to use one, etc.
Sexual Abuse – includes sexual assault, marital rape, inappropriate touching, etc.
Verbal Abuse – includes constant belittling, taunting, humiliation, etc.
In addition to the above abuses, there are other forms of abuse, such as financial abuse, psychological abuse, elder abuse, child abuse, domestic abuse.
Difference Between Exploitation and Abuse
Exploitation is treating someone unfairly in order to get benefits for yourself, whereas abuse is treating someone with cruelty or violence, often regularly or repeatedly.
Exploitation is a form of abuse, but not all forms of abuse can be explained as exploitations.
Child abuse refers to physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect, whereas child exploitation refers to using children in work or other activities for the benefit of others.
Exploitation takes many forms such as labour exploitation, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, etc. whereas abuse takes many forms such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, etc.
Some examples of exploitation include prostitution, child soldiers, organ harvesting, and drug trafficking, whereas rape, humiliation, hitting, belittling, shaking and strangling are some examples of different forms of abuse.
In brief, exploitation and abuse are a violation of human rights. Exploitation is basically a form of abuse. The main difference between exploitation and abuse is that exploitation is treating someone unfairly in order to get benefits for yourself, whereas abuse is treating someone with cruelty or violence, often regularly or repeatedly.
1. “Types of Exploitation, Human Trafficking & Slavery.” Stop the Traffik, Available here.
2. “Exploitation.” Preventing Exploitation Toolkit, Available here.
3. “What Is Abuse?” Edmonton Police Service, Available here.
1. “Human Trafficking” By Ben Taylor (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Cycle of Abuse” By Avanduyn -(Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
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