This article was published August 7, 2021 and provided by: https://florinroebig.com/what-is-human-trafficking/
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a phenomenon that has been around for decades but that has recently taken the news and society in general by storm. As more and more people become aware of this terrible crime, it’s important to understand and be aware of the dangers and implications that come with this exploitation. It’s also important to know how to protect yourself as well as recognize human trafficking when possible.
Human trafficking is when a person or group of people coerce, deceive, and exploit another person for personal or financial reasons. In most cases, victims of human trafficking are manipulated into participating in sex trafficking by making false promises so that the leader or group of trafficking ring can make a profit.
Many human trafficking groups are part of a billion-dollar industry that includes international organizations who work together to capture, groom, manipulate, and threaten victims into involuntary servitude. Commercial sex acts, labor trafficking, and sexual exploitation are often major components of human trafficking, and the sex industry is often where this terrible crime is seen.
The crime of human trafficking is taken very seriously in the United States, and there are multiple human trafficking task forces and groups that constantly work to uncover human trafficking cases both in the United States and internationally.
Types Of Human Trafficking
There are two primary types of human trafficking: labor trafficking and sex trafficking. In both cases, victims are exploited through threats, coercion, manipulation, physical and emotional abuse, and drug addiction to participate in these types of trafficking. Many victims feel that they don’t have a choice and fear going to law enforcement due to the threats and manipulation involved.
The following is a description of both major types of human trafficking:
Labor trafficking is a type of domestic servitude or modern-day slavery that involves victims participating in forced labor as a result of manipulation or force. Many trafficking groups use tactics such as debt bondage, threats against the victim’s family members, violence, and other forms of control to force individuals to work for free against their will in various industries.
Examples of labor trafficking include forcing people to work in factories, in homes, and on farms in inhumane conditions and without proper or any compensation.
A large number of trafficking victims are responsible for the food products and consumer goods that many of us rely on in everyday life. This is due to the fact that labor trafficking is much more cost efficient and faster to produce goods as opposed to hiring and paying employees. Unfortunately, the higher the demand, the encouragement human traffickers have to continue the enslavement of innocent victims.
Sex trafficking, another primary type of human trafficking, is when victims are manipulated and forced to perform commercial sex acts that bring in profit for the traffickers. Sex trafficking victims include both adults and minors. As with labor trafficking, sex trafficking often involves threats, force, control, debt bondage, and other forms of manipulation to keep victims participating in trafficking and to prevent them from seeking help.
Examples of places where sex trafficking may be present include brothels, fraudulent massage parlors, strip clubs, escort services, truck stops, and motels. In most cases, victims are not compensated for sex acts and the profits are given and kept by the trafficking leaders.
Human Trafficking Statistics
Human trafficking is much more prevalent than many people realize. In fact, an estimated 24.9 million people are victims of trafficking, and that number continues to grow every day. The following are statistics on human trafficking that may give you a better understanding of just how common this terrible crime is:
43% of human trafficking victims are found, captured, and enslaved within domestic borders
72% of all human trafficking victims are women
28% of all human trafficking victims are children under the age of 18
21% of identified human trafficking victims are men
8,248 human trafficking cases were reported in 2019 alone
7.5 million human trafficking victims are forced to work in the mining, hospitality, construction, and manufacturing industries
Human trafficking victims spend an average of 20 months in forced labor or sex trafficking
The highest number of victims are found in the Asia-pacific region, following by Africa, Europe, Central Asia, and the United States
Human trafficking brings in an estimated $150 billion a year in profits for traffickers
Only 439 human traffickers were convicted in 2016
These alarming statistics are only a small piece of the larger picture of human trafficking. While anti-trafficking groups and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Justice are working hard to combat human trafficking, the prevalence of this vicious crime is still on the rise and a major part of the workforce and sex industry in the United States and around the world.
Who Is Most Susceptible To Human Trafficking?
There is not a specific type of person who is targeted for human trafficking. Every sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, gender, and education level can be targeted for this crime. However, there are certain types of individuals that human traffickers specifically prey on.
These individuals are usually of low economic status, vulnerable to manipulation, living in unstable or unsafe environments, or who cannot provide for their family. People who participate in recruiting individuals to traffic go to great lengths to coerce these individuals into thinking that working for them will solve all of their problems. For example, a human trafficker may make a false promise that if the person works for them, the trafficker will provide for the person’s family or give them money to send back to their family if they live in a different country.
Trafficking victims can be both United States citizens and migrants from other countries. Additionally, many traffickers prey on illegal immigrants and use this information as blackmail to keep the person working for them.
A few of the most susceptible populations of human trafficking include:
Those who are questioning or struggling with their sexual identity, such as gay individuals, lesbians, and transgenders
Those with disabilities
Homeless people, especially homeless youth
Those who have experienced previous forms of sexual or physical violence
Individuals with low self-esteem who are easily persuaded
Those with substance abuse issues
Those with mental health issues
All of these people are more vulnerable to trafficking due to their life circumstances. Traffickers can identify these vulnerabilities and use them as a way to encourage the victims to form a dependency on the traffickers for their livelihoods. The longer a person is involved in human trafficking, the more difficult it can be to get out of it.
Who Is Responsible For Human Trafficking?
Just as with victims, human traffickers do not have a specific demographic or profile. These individuals can be of any race, gender, ethnicity, sex, and socio-economic status. Some perpetrators may use trafficking to support their power and wealth in the community by creating a constant stream of significant income, while others are from low socio-economic statuses similar to those of many trafficking victims.
Examples of individuals who may participate in this inhumane and often organized crime include:
Restaurant or farm owners
Leaders of transnational and national human trafficking rings
Previous victims of human trafficking
As you can see, the types of people who participate in human trafficking and the use of force to coerce individuals to take part in trafficking run the gamut. It can be difficult to discern whether a person is taking part in the perpetuation forced labor or sex trafficking.
How Can Your Recognize Human Trafficking
There are a few key signs that can be an indication that human trafficking may be present. Being aware of these signs just might help you save a life.
Signs of human trafficking include:
A person is not being paid what they were promised or are working for little or no compensation
A person does not have control over their identifying documents such as their passport
Regular threats are being made against a person by a boss or other superior
A person appears to be regularly monitored by another individual when the person is speaking with others
An individual is living in an inhumane or impoverished condition that has been provided by a boss or employer
The individual wants to stop participating in sex or labor trafficking but feels afraid or stuck in the situation
A person is regularly transported by a guard or chaperone from place to place
A person regularly feels pressure to perform sex acts and does receive compensation for these acts
An individual is involved with a controlling person such as an intimate partner or parent
If you believe you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking, it’s important to alert the authorities as soon as possible. You can alert the National Human Trafficking Hotline by calling 1 (888) 373-7888 or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733. The hotline employees speak more than 200 languages and are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. If you believe someone is in imminent danger, call 911.
What Is The AMP Model?
The AMP, or Act, Means, and Purpose, model is a model that was created to better explain the core elements of trafficking as defined by the federal government. One component from each element must be present to determine that the situation is potentially human trafficking. The following is a breakdown of each component of this model:
The act refers to how a trafficker comes into contact and obtains a human trafficking victim for the purpose of exploitation. Actions that count as an element of this component include:
It’s important to note that if a minor is induced into child commercial sex acts, it is considered child sex trafficking regardless of whether any of the above elements were used.
Means refers to the way in which perpetrators keep human trafficking victims working for them and silent about their situations. There are several different means a trafficker can use, and they will likely cater these means to the specific individual and what may motivate or manipulate them most effectively.
Examples of means in which a human trafficker may keep a person in the cycle of human trafficking include:
Use of force
Promising to give out benefits or payments
Human traffickers will typically use any means necessary and available to attract and keep victims in the cycle of forced labor.
An excellent resource about how the sex trafficking perpetrators are using the trucking industry to exploit their victims is:
The purpose refers to the ultimate goal of human traffickers and perpetrators. There is typically only one component to the element: the exploitation of other human beings.
Human Trafficking Regulations And Laws
There are a number of human trafficking laws and regulations that the Department of Homeland Security has put in place in attempt to decrease the prominence of this crime. These laws include:
The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act: The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, or the TVPA, is an act that works to regularly update and create sustainable human trafficking prevention, provide protection programs for survivors of human trafficking, and prosecuting traffickers.
The Customs and Facilitations and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2009: This act was put in place as an amendment to the original Tariff Act of 1930 and include updates that prohibit the import of goods to the United States that were manufactured through forced labor or human trafficking.
PROTECT Act of 2003: The PROTECT Act, or the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act, was designed to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse commonly seen in human trafficking.
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004: This Act includes Section 7202 which created the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center as a way to enforce more effective integration of the enforcement human trafficking laws and response efforts.
Effects Of Human Trafficking
Victims of human trafficking are susceptible to a number of significant and life-long effects. One of these effects is severe mental trauma. Human trafficking victims are placed in inhumane conditions in which the traffickers dehumanize victims in attempt to gain power and control over the victims. The psychological effects can be severe and range from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to depression, anxiety, and shame.
Another common and unfortunate effect that human trafficking can have on individuals is physical trauma. Some perpetrators use physical force and violence to exploit their victims, and abuse is a regular component of trafficking. Physical abuse, rape, and beatings are more common than we think, and victims are left with permanent physical trauma.
Additionally, those who are being trafficked can quickly begin to withdraw from family and friends in attempt to hide their situation. This ostracism can lead to guilt, shame, depression, and isolation, and further prevent the victim from speaking up. Individuals who have survived and escaped human trafficking may also feel ostracized from their friends, family, and community. Human trafficking is a terrifying and unique experience and survivors may feel as if no one understands their situation or as if others are judging them for their experience.
In short, human trafficking has consequences and implications that span far beyond the act of trafficking. Victims are left with life-long trauma and are less likely to use healthy coping skills to recover.
Resources To Turn To If You Or A Loved One Is Being Human Trafficked
If you or a loved one is involved in human trafficking, alerting the authorities or another person who can help can feel scary and even life threatening. However, there are people who can help and ensure your safety and freedom.
One way to seek help is to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888 or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733. The hotline employees speak more than 200 languages and are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. If you believe someone is in imminent danger, call 911.
Shared hope International http://www.sharedhope.org/learn/faqs/
Sex trafficking is when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion. A commercial sex act means any item of value is traded for any sexual service (prostitution, pornography, or sexual performance). Domestic minor sex trafficking is the commercial sexual exploitation of children, under 18 years old, within U.S. borders for monetary or other compensation (shelter, food, drugs, etc.). This is synonymous with child sex slavery, sex slavery, child sex trafficking, prostitution of children, and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
At least 100,000 American children are being exploited through pornography or prostitution every year. The average age a child is first exploited through prostitution is 13 years old, though children as young as infants have been identified in pornography.
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) sex trafficking
requires force, fraud or coercion UNLESS the victim is a minor. Any
minor used in a commercial sex act (the exchange of any item of
value for a sex act) IS a victim of trafficking, regardless of their
willingness or desire to engage in the sex act.
Traffickers and pimps use physical, emotional, and psychological
abuse to coerce young women and girls into a life of sex trafficking.
Traffickers are master manipulators and employ tactics to create a
trauma bond between the victim and trafficker. Traffickers often use
the threat of violence against victim or a victim’s loved one to secure
Many pimps often use a “lover-boy” technique to recruit girls from
middle and high schools. A lover-boy will present himself as a
boyfriend and woo the girl with gifts, promises of fulfilled dreams,
protection, adventure – whatever she perceives she is lacking. After
securing her love and loyalty, he will force her into prostitution.
Age is the primary factor of vulnerability. Pre-teen or adolescent
girls are more susceptible to the calculated advances, deception,
and manipulation tactics used by traffickers/pimps – no youth is
exempt from falling prey to these tactics. Traffickers target locations
youth frequent such as schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters
and group homes. Runaway, homeless or previously sexual abused
youth also may have an increased risk of becoming vulnerable to
A pimp is another name for a sex trafficker. Pimps or traffickers are
those who profit by receiving cash or other benefits in exchange for
the sexual use of a minor by another person. The buyers of sex from
juveniles can be anyone – professionals, students, tourists, military
personnel, a family member. Because buyers often pay in cash and
may interact with a victim for as little as five minutes, buyers are
increasingly difficult to identify.
In 2012, the (UNODC) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
reports the percentage of child victims had risen in a 3 year span
from 20% to 27%. Of every three child victims, two are girls and one
is a boy. Gender and age profile of victims globally:
10% were boys
600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited
for forced labor or commercial sex (U.S. Government).
When international trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the ranges of 2 to 4 million.
50% of those victims are estimated to be children.
It is estimated that 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the Internet.
2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade (UNICEF).
There are 20.9 million victims of Trafficking World wide as of 2012.
1.5 million victims in the United States.
Human Trafficking has surpassed the illegal sale of arms.
Trafficking will surpass the illegal sale of drugs in the next few years.
Drugs are used once and they are gone, but victims of child trafficking can be used and abused over and over.
A $32 billion-a-year industry, human trafficking is on the rise and is in all 50 states (U.S. Government).
4.5 million of trafficked persons are sexually exploited.
Up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year.
14,500 to 17,500 of those victims are trafficked into the United States each year.
ACCORDING TO NON-GOVERNMENTAL U.S. SOURCES
The average victim’s age is 11 to 14.
Approx 80% are women and children bought, sold and imprisoned in the underground sex service industry.
Average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years (found dead from attack, abuse, HIV and other STD's, malnutrition, overdose or suicide).
The largest group of at-risk children are runaway, thrown away, or homeless American children who use survival sex to acquire food, shelter, clothing, and other things needed to survive on America's streets. According to the National Runaway Switchboard 1.3 million runaway and homeless youth live on America's streets every day. [5,000 die each year] It would not be surprising to learn that the number of children trafficked in the United States is actually much higher than 300,000.
Children are often targeted by traffickers as they are deemed easier to manipulate than adults. More money can be earned by younger girls and boys exploited in sexual exploitation, especially virgins. Pre-pubescent girls are reported to be injected with hormones to bring on puberty. Younger girls are expected to have a greater earning potential, and as such are in greater demand.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF TRAFFICKING FOR VICTIMS
Child victims of human trafficking face significant problems. Often physically and sexually abused, they have distinctive medical and psychological needs that must be addressed before advancing in the formative years of adulthood.
Child victims of exploitation can face a number of long-term health problems:
Sleeping and eating disorders
Sexually transmitted diseases
HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain, rectal trauma and urinary difficulties from working in the sex industry
Chronic back, hearing, cardiovascular or respiratory problems from endless days toiling in dangerous agriculture, sweatshop or construction conditions
Fear and anxiety
Depression, mood changes
Guilt and shame
Cultural shock from finding themselves in a strange country
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Traumatic bonding with the trafficker (Stockholm Syndrome)
Demand for cheap labor and for prostituted women, girls, and boys is the primary "pull" factor. Common push and pull factors exploited by traffickers include:
Unemployment and perceived job opportunities overseas (into the U.S.)
Unhappy home situation: The victim may be in an abusive situation, their family may be in debt, or there may be an addict in the family
Relatives and friends live in the destination country
Returning migrants, legal and illegal, say they have made a better living for themselves
Sex buyers are far more complicit in the victimization of sex trafficking victims. Sex tourism and child pornography have become worldwide industries, facilitated by technologies such as the Internet, which vastly expand the choices available to pedophiles and permit instant and nearly undetectable transactions.
Child trafficking victims, like other child victims, come from many backgrounds and include both boys and girls across a wide range of ages
Children are trafficked to the U.S. from all regions of the world and represent a variety of different races, ethnic groups and religions
They may be brought to the U.S. legally or smuggled in
Internationally trafficked children, especially adolescents, may be lured overseas to the U.S. through the promise of work or school and the opportunity to send money back to their families
Children are also vulnerable to kidnappers, pimps, and professional brokers
Some children are sold to traffickers by their families, who may or may not have an understanding of what will happen to the child
U.S. citizen children may also be trafficked within the U.S., and come from multiple racial groups and socio-economic backgrounds
Needs of Rescued Trafficking Victims:
Many youth, especially U.S. citizen children trafficked within the U.S., runaway from problems at home and may be exploited as a result of emotional vulnerability, homelessness and the need to survive. Youth who run away from home and engage in "survival sex" often find themselves vulnerable to pimps and traffickers involved in prostitution networks. Approximately 55% of street girls, and a good percentage of boys, engage in formal prostitution and some think it is much higher than that. This means that a child client who has been homeless or living on the street for any amount of time has a great likelihood of having been sexually exploited or trafficked.
The sexual exploitation of children is not limited to particular racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups, although children from poor families appear to be at somewhat higher risk of commercial sexual exploitation. In fact, most of the street children encountered in the study were Caucasian youths who had run away from middle-class families. One clear theme is the proportionate number of street youth who have histories or recurrent physical or sexual abuse at home and took to the streets in a desperate effort to bring their abuse to an end.
According to these researchers, child exploitation in the United States affects as many boys as girls, but boys are less well-served by social service and law enforcement systems because of the widespread belief that boys are better able than girls to fend for themselves. Without intervention, research has shown many boys shift from being victims of sexual abuse to victimizing other boys and girls as pimps and traffickers.
People are recruited in several different ways such as through fake employment agencies, acquaintances, newspaper ads, front businesses, word of mouth or abduction. Traffickers may be neighbors, friends, returnees, agricultural operators, owners of small businesses, diplomats and even families. Increasingly, however, the traffickers are organized crime syndicates, often in collaboration with corrupt law enforcement entities, government officials or employers, who may use several intermediaries from the first point of contact to the final destination of the victim. It the victim is transported, they use both legal and illegal means of transport and various techniques to keep their victim enslaved.
They may keep them under lock and key or in isolation from the public and from their family members or support networks, confiscate their passports or identification documents, use the threat of violence against the enslaved person or their families, threaten them with shame, fear of imprisonment or deportation, and control their money.
The psychological effects of torture are helplessness, shame and humiliation, shock, denial and disbelief, disorientation and confusion, and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks and depression. Victims may experience Traumatic Bonding (Stockholm Syndrome) - a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills in the victim fear as well as gratitude for being allowed to live or for any other perceived favors, however small.
Reasons It’s Necessary to Join the Fight Against Human Trafficking
1. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS THE THIRD LARGEST INTERNATIONAL CRIME INDUSTRY
(BEHIND ILLEGAL DRUGS AND ARMS TRAFFICKING)
According to U.S. Federal Law, sex trafficking is defined as a trafficking situation where 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.
2. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A $32 BILLION A YEAR INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE
To put that into perspective, Justin Bieber is worth $200 million (according to Wikipedia.) That is the net worth from his career not
per year. Human trafficking is a $32 BILLION A YEAR industry.
3. SOME GIRLS (OR BOYS) ARE SOLD BY THEIR PIMPS UP TO 20 TIMES A NIGHT.
This causes serious damage and deterioration to the human body and can have a lasting traumatic impact on the victim who may
require severe medical attention and even reproductive surgery after being rescued.
4. HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS PRESENT IN ALL 50 STATES.
Even though the Polaris Project names California, Texas, Florida and New York as the four biggest human trafficking states in
America, it happens in EVERY SINGLE STATE.
5. LEGISLATION FOR THE ISSUE IS LACKING. SOME VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ARE CONSIDERED
“PROSTITUTES” AND ARE THEREFORE CHARGED AS SUCH WITH CURRENT LAW.
This can cause fear and be used as a tactic by pimps to keep their victims from seeking help from law enforcement to get out.
6. 8 DAYS, A FULL LENGTH FEATURE FILM, GIVES A REALISTIC LOOK INTO THE MODERN WORLD OF
HUMAN TRAFFICKING. THE VICTIM AND TRAFFICKER ARE ALWAYS CHANGING.
Now that you know the crime exists, it’s time to do something. Raising awareness is only the beginning. The demand for children
for sex must stop, buyers must be prosecuted for their crimes and victims must be set free.
7. 8 DAYS FILM WAS CREATED AS A TOOL TO RAISE AWARENESS. SEX TRAFFICKING HAPPENS EVERY
DAY, ALL AROUND US.
Proceeds from sales and merchandise go to organizations that support victims and fight this crime.
What is PORNOGRAHY?
Porn is any material that is designed to stimulate
erotic feelings in a person.
20% of pornographic images are of children; 55% of child pornography
comes from the U.S. The sale of child pornography in the U.S. has
become more than a $3 billion annual industry. In a study of 932 sex
addicts, 90% of the men, and 77% of the women indicated that looking
at pornography “played a significant role in their addiction.” Viewing
pornography essentially rewires the brain & drastically influences how
dopamine & other chemicals are received & used in the brain.
(“Wired For Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain”)