What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the act of “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt” of a person through the means of threat, fraud, deception, abduction, coercion, “or abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person” (Eurpool, 2005, p. 10), for the purpose of exploitation (UN, 2000).
Human trafficking is a global, criminal activity. It has been referred to as “modern slavery” by the President (Obama, 2012) and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) (Ki-moon, 2012). Globally, children and women are trafficked within their passport countries as well as transported across country borders and bought, sold, and resold for the purpose of exploitation, both labor and sexual. No region of the world is exempt from trafficking, including the United States (Europol, 2005).
In the United States, federal law defines several forms of severe trafficking, including sex trafficking .U.S. federal law defines severe trafficking 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 act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) 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. [U.S.C. §7102(8)]
Did you know?
- Social science estimates that as many as 27 million men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide at any given time (United States Department of Defense, 2013).
- Every 120 seconds a child is sold into slavery. That is, 30 per hour , 720 a day, 1.2 million a year.
- Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing lucrative, criminal businesses across the globe (Hill & Carey, 2010), generating an estimated 32 billion United States dollars annually (International Labour Organization [ILO], 2009).
- Sex trafficking has been identified as one of the most profitable businesses in the world (Kara, 2010) and the third most profitable criminal enterprise (Kalergis, 2009; Walker-Rodriguiz & Hill, 2011). It is predicted to surpass the two leading criminal activities of drug and weapon trafficking within the near future (Holman, 2008; Hyland, 2001).
- Women and girls constitute approximately 98% of the individuals trafficked for sex, with approximately 25% accounting for individuals below age 18 (ILO, 2012).
- The average age of entry into the sex trafficking industry is between 12 and 14 years old, although there have been cases of children as young as 9 years old (U.S. DOE, 2013).
How do you learn more?
If you’re interested in learning more about human trafficking and sex trafficking, I encourage you to check out the resources I’ve listed below.
Resources for Human Service Workers working with Trafficking Victims
How do you get involved?
You can also get involved and combat sex-trafficking through partnering, prevention, protection, and prosecution.
Partner with organizations such as Freedom 4/24 by running a Run 4 Their Lives race or by donating to support organizations that prevent sex-trafficking through awareness and education, protect women and children by rescuing them and then providing safe environments and aftercare needed for restoration, and do work and help prosecute traffickers. See more at: http://www.freedom424.org/
Prevent sex-trafficking by providing education to your kids and young people you know in schools, orphanages, group homes, and universities. Help children and adolescents become equipped with information and strategies to avoid becoming victims.
- Discuss trafficking ( Use informational videos at youthspark.org or on YouTube by searching “YouthSpark, Inc”)
- Increase awareness of targeting and recruitment techniques (e.g. Chosen Film Series by Shared Hope International)
- Build self-esteem through self-esteem building activities
Protect by learning how to identify signs of sexual exploitation and reporting suspected cases: 1-888-373-7888, National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
Get involved in prosecution, via lobbying and signing petitions for more comprehensive laws to be passed in your state or country to ensure traffickers are held accountable for their crimes and survivors are protected and given services needed once rescued.