Human Trafficking is buzz word. It's something we hear on the news, in movies, and from celebrities. But what is it, really? If we are going to say we are against something, it's important to know what it is.
WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking. As the world's fastest growing criminal industry, it affects every nation across the globe. Every 30 seconds, someone become a victim of modern-day slavery.
There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.
IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND EXPLOITATION THE SAME THING?
Actually, no. Exploitation is to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Human trafficking is any commercial sex act or labor induced by force, fraud or coercion. One of those 3 elements must be present for it to be considered a crime of human trafficking. So let's define those...
FORCE: physical constraint, beatings, rape, confinement
FRAUD: false promises, posing as a false agency or job opportunity, lying about working conditions or wage
COERCION: threats or blackmail, confiscation of documents or passports, making person afraid of seeking help
According to US Law, if any person under the age of 18 is used for commercial sex, they are a victim of human trafficking. Force, fraud or coercion, while often present, does not need to be shown.
HOW IS SOMEONE TRAFFICKED?
Most often, an individual is trafficked through vulnerabilities. Traffickers will look for vulnerabilities to exploit.
Some vulnerabilities could be:
- "It's awful to see my family so poor. I wish I could help, but there aren't any jobs."
- "There was an earthquake. I can't find my family!"
- "I've been through five foster homes in three years."
- "I lost my virginity...no one will marry me." [common among Muslim people groups]
- "My dad is addicted to drugs, we're out of money."
- "My uncle's been touching me since I was 5. He said it's no big deal."
- "My mom got a new boyfriend. He kicked me out."
Traffickers are calculated individuals, looking to exploit weaknesses for the bottom line. Traffickers don't fit a stereotype, and can be any age, race or gender. Common personality traits among traffickers include likable, persuasive, convincing, and charming.