Human trafficking is modern day slavery and is currently the second-highest grossing crime around the world. It exists in a variety of industries, including but not limited to escort services, illicit massage parlors, domestic work, residential brothels, outdoor solicitation, hotels and hospitality, construction, restaurants, traveling sales crews, strip clubs, agriculture, cleaning services, and carnivals.
Human trafficking is defined as the exploitation of human beings through force, fraud, or coercion with the purposes of forced labor or commercial sex in order to make a profit. A minor under the age of 18 engaged in commercial sex regardless of force, fraud, coercion is considered a victim of sex trafficking.
Sex Trafficking – Commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person performing sex acts is under the age of 18. Examples include exploitation through commercial sex, including prostitution, pornography, and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value, such as money, drugs, shelter, food, or clothes, etc.
Labor Trafficking – Using force, fraud, or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, obtain, or employ a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Examples include situations of forced labor, domestic servitude, involuntary child labor, etc.
There are a variety of indicators that might suggest someone is a victim of human trafficking:
- Overall abuse: forced to work against their will, lacks identification papers, claims to be just visiting and can’t clarify where they are staying, numerous inconsistencies in their story, lack of knowledge of whereabouts, has few personal possessions, doesn’t speak for themselves, is not in control of their money, owes a large debt, forced to work due to threats to their family
- Physical indicators: lacks health care, appears malnourished, shows signs of physical/sexual abuse, physical restraint, torture
- Emotional indicators: fearful, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous/paranoid, avoids eye contact, scared of law enforcement
- Questions to ask:
- Is someone forcing you to do work or engage in sexual activity against your will?
- Are you being paid?
- Can you leave your job if you want to?
- Where do you eat, sleep?
- Does someone control where you go and who you can talk to?
All victim services are free and confidential.