As defined by the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking involves the usage of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Human trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to over 24.9 million people around the world.
In 2019, the United Nations released a report stating that human trafficking is at a 13-year high.
To gain a better perspective of the true scope of the problem, you need to understand not only what it is, but also where it is happening. The more you know, the more you can educate your friends, family, and community.
It is also important to understand the common misconceptions about where and how human trafficking occurs in order to dismiss false information.
Any community or region, whether affluent or impoverished, is not immune to human trafficking.
And not all human trafficking situations require victims to be physically held captive.
As a matter of fact, the majority of the victims in the United States are trafficked from their own homes.
The different forms of
They look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
The 3 most common types of human trafficking are sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage. According to the U.S. Department of State, forced labor, also known as involuntary servitude, is the biggest sector of trafficking in the world.
It can be difficult to tell if a child is being groomed – the signs aren't always obvious and may be hidden.
However, some of the signs you see in a victim may include, but are not limited to…
Being very secretive about how they're spending their time, especially online
Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
Obtaining money or new things like clothes and mobile devices that they can't or won't explain
Underage drinking or drug taking
Spending more or less time online or on their devices
Although these are some of the common signs, chances are, we cannot identify victims out of a crowd of strangers.
However, by educating ourselves and paying attention to the people in our lives, we can better identify, prevent, and help those we love from falling victim to human trafficking.