Who is vulnerable?
Human trafficking can happen to anyone but some people are more vulnerable than others. Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth. Often, traffickers identify and leverage their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency.
Who are the traffickers?
Perpetrators of human trafficking span all racial, ethnic, and gender demographics and are as diverse as survivors. Some use their privilege, wealth, and power as a means of control while others experience the same socio-economic oppression as their victims. They include individuals, business owners, members of a gang or network, parents or family members of victims, intimate partners, owners of farms or restaurants, and powerful corporate executives and government representatives.
How do traffickers control victims?
Traffickers employ a variety of control tactics, the most common include physical and emotional abuse and threats, isolation from friends and family, and economic abuse. They make promises aimed at addressing the needs of their target in order to impose control. As a result, victims become trapped and fear leaving for myriad reasons, including psychological trauma, shame, emotional attachment, or physical threats to themselves or their family.
Who are the survivors?
Victims and survivors of human trafficking represent every race and ethnicity but some forms of trafficking are more likely to affect specific ethnic groups.
What is Sex Trafficking?
Human Trafficking Myths
I’s always or usually a violent crime.
The most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it always, or often, involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most traffickers use psychological means such as, tricking,
All human trafficking involves sex.
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex. Worldwide, experts believe there are more situations of labor trafficking than of sex trafficking, but there is much wider awareness of sex trafficking in the U.S. than of labor trafficking.
Traffickers target victims they don’t know.
Many survivors have been trafficked by romantic partners, including spouses, and by family members, including parents.
5 FACTS ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES
1. It doesn’t just happen somewhere else.
Cases of human trafficking in the United States have been reported in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and all United States territories.
2. It’s more than just young women are victims of sex trafficking.
Victims of human trafficking can be children or adults, male or female, come from all backgrounds, and economic levels. Children as young as 9 can be targeted for exploitation.
3. It’s about power and control.
When it comes to children getting pulled into trafficking, perpetrators are looking for vulnerable children that they can easily control and manipulate. Lonely kids who don’t have a good relationship with friends or family are prime targets.
4. Americans are the largest producers of pornography in the world.
We’re also the biggest consumers. Both the production and consumption of pornography can feed into the demand for sex trafficking in the United States.
5. It isn’t just male strangers who are perpetrators.
Women, boyfriends, and family members can all lead a child into sex trafficking. Sexual abusers sometimes coerce the children they abuse into sex trafficking as well.Children can be made more or less vulnerable by the adults in their lives. If a child is loved, cared for, and taken care of, they are much less likely to get lured into sex trafficking. Educate yourself on the risks of sex trafficking in your area and do your part to protect the children you love from becoming a statistic.
5 ways that each of us can bring an end to child sex trafficking.
The more knowledge one has about what child sex trafficking is, the better prepared and equipped one is to stop it. Educate yourself about child sex trafficking. Read books and articles, watch videos, listen to experts.
2. RecognizeThe Signs
Whether it is at an airport, a bus station, near a hotel, a nail salon, at a large sporting event, you might pass by a victim of child sex trafficking and not realize it. When you are able to recognize what a victim looks like, you can better help them.
3. Report Any Suspicions
Uber driver Keith Avila called police after he became suspicious that one of the passengers in his car was a victim of child sex trafficking. His alertness and his phone call rescued a 16 year old girl from sex trafficking. When you see any suspicious activity you believe may be related to child sex trafficking, make that phone call to 911, or call the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center line at 1-888-373-7888.
4. Raise Awareness
Raise awareness with those you know, whether it is within your circle of friends and family, local churches and faith based groups, your work environment, and even with your local politicians and legislators. Ensure that schools in your area are also aware of child sex trafficking, and how children within their own schools may be potential victims.
5. Take Action
Become an advocate about child sex trafficking. Speak out about the issue to others within the circles you are associated with. Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, and to politicians. Encourage your state legislatures to continue to address this issue. Become involved in anti-trafficking efforts where you live, and in your own city and community.
Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. Here are just a few ideas to consider.
- Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for individuals, businesses, first responders, law enforcement, educators, and federal employees, among others.
- If you are in the United States and believe someone may be a victim of human trafficking, report your suspicions to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline line at 1-888-373-7888.
Trafficking victims, including undocumented individuals, are eligible for services and immigration assistance.
- Be a conscientious and informed consumer. Discover your slavery footprint, ask who picked your tomatoes or made your clothes, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. Encourage companies to take steps to investigate and prevent human trafficking in their supply chains and publish the information, including supplier or factory lists, for consumer awareness.
- Volunteer and support anti-trafficking efforts in your community.
- Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking, and ask what they are doing to address it.
- Host an awareness-raising event to watch and discuss films about human trafficking. For example, learn how modern slavery exists today; watch an investigative documentary about sex trafficking; or discover how human trafficking can affect global food supply chains. Also, check out CNN’s Freedom Project for more stories on the different forms of human trafficking around the world.
- Organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization.
- Encourage your local schools to partner with students and include modern slavery in their curricula. As a parent, educator, or school administrator, be aware of how traffickers target school-aged children.
- Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Become familiar with public awareness materials available from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Homeland Security.
- Work with a local religious community or congregation to help stop trafficking by supporting a victim service provider or spreading awareness of human trafficking.
- Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors.
- Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking. Request that human trafficking be included in university curricula.
- Health Care Providers: Learn how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and assist victims. With assistance from anti-trafficking organizations, extend low-cost or free services to human trafficking victims.
- Journalists: The media plays an enormous role in shaping perceptions and guiding the public conversation about human trafficking. Here are some media best practices on how to effectively and responsibly report stories on human trafficking.
- Attorneys: Offer human trafficking victims legal services, including support for those seeking benefits or special immigration status. Resources are available for attorneys representing victims of human trafficking.
Here are 7 facts about human trafficking you may not know, plus 3 ways you can help.
- The real definition of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud or coercion. It’s important to note, though, that human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement. You can be a victim of human trafficking in your hometown. At the heart of human trafficking is the traffickers’ goal of exploitation and enslavement.
- Types of human trafficking.
Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the most commonly identified forms of human trafficking. More than half of the victims are female. Many other forms of exploitation are often thought to be under-reported. These include domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade and warfare.
- Causes of human trafficking: It’s complicated.
The causes of human trafficking are complex and interlinked, and include economic, social and political factors. Poverty alone does not necessarily create vulnerability to trafficking, but when combined with other factors, these can lead to a higher risk for being trafficked. Some of those other factors include: corruption, civil unrest, a weak government, lack of access to education or jobs, family disruption or dysfunction, lack of human rights, or economic disruptions.
- It’s a lucrative industry.
Along with illegal arms and drug trafficking, human trafficking is one of the largest international crime industries in the world. A report from the International Labor Organization (ILO) says forced labor generates $150 billion in illegal profits per year. Two-thirds of that money came from commercial sexual exploitation, while the rest is from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture, child labor and related activities.
- Believe it. Human trafficking is everywhere.
Every continent in the world has been involved in human trafficking. In the United States, it is most prevalent in Texas, Florida, New York and California. Human trafficking is both a domestic and global crime, with victims trafficked within their own country, to neighboring countries and between continents. Victims of trafficking can be of any age and any gender. Women and children are often used for sexual exploitation, while men are more likely to be used for forced labor. Globally, about one in five victims of human trafficking are children. Children are also exploited for the purposes of forced begging, child pornography or child labor. Their smaller hands may also be used in tasks like sewing or untangling fishing wire.
- We need to do more for migrants.
All over the world, people are on the move. Many have been forced to become migrants because of conflict, a changing climate and economic instability. Some of these migrants are vulnerable to human trafficking. A United Nations rights expert is warning a new approach is needed. “Trafficking in people in conflict situations is not a mere possibility but something that happens on a regular basis,” said Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human trafficking, in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly. “This means anti-trafficking measures must be integrated into all humanitarian action and all policies regarding people fleeing conflict.”
- How to stop human trafficking: The three P’s, plus a little more
The U.S. government is at the forefront of efforts to address human trafficking. Its policy surrounds the three P’s: prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers. The number of convictions for human trafficking is increasing, but unfortunately not proportionately to the growing awareness and extent of the problem. There are several reasons for that. There is an absence of anti-trafficking legislation in some countries. Sometimes the legislation exists, but law enforcement officials and prosecutors may not know how to use it. In some instances, victims may not cooperate with the criminal justice system because they have been threatened by a trafficker.