Human trafficking is a public health issue that impacts individuals, families, and communities. Traffickers disproportionately target at-risk populations including individuals who have experienced or been exposed to other forms of violence (child abuse and maltreatment, interpersonal violence and sexual assault, community and gang violence) and individuals disconnected from stable support networks (runaway and homeless youth, unaccompanied minors, persons displaced during natural disasters).

HOW ARE VICTIMS TRAFFICKED?

Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to subject victims to engage in commercial sex or forced labor. Anyone can be a victim of trafficking anywhere, including in the United States.

ACTION MEANS PURPOSE
Recruiting includes proactive targeting of vulnerability and grooming behaviors Force includes physical restraint, physical harm, sexual assault, and beatings. Monitoring and confinement is often used to control victims, especially during early stages of victimization to break down the victim’s resistance. Commercial Sex Act is any sex act on account of anything of value given to or received by any person.
Harboring includes isolation, confinement, monitoring Fraud includes false promises regarding employment, wages, working conditions, love, marriage, or better life. Over time, there may be unexpected changes in work conditions, compensation or debt agreements, or nature of relationship. Involuntary Servitude is any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
Transporting includes movement and arranging travel Coercion includes threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person, psychological manipulation, document confiscation, and shame and fear-inducing threats to share information or pictures with others or report to authorities. Debt Bondage includes a pledge of services by the debtor or someone under debtor’s control to pay down known or unknown charges (e.g. fees for transportation, boarding, food, and other incidentals; interest, fines for missing quotas, and charges for “bad behavior). The length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined, where an individual is trapped in a cycle of debt that he or she can never pay down.
Providing includes giving to another individual Peonage is a status or condition of involuntary servitude based on real or alleged indebtedness
Obtaining includes forcibly taking, exchanging something for ability to control Slavery is the state of being under the ownership or control of someone where a person is forced to work for another.

HOW DO I IDENTIFY HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Human trafficking is often “hidden in plain sight.” There are a number of red flags, or indicators, which can help alert you to human trafficking. Recognizing the signs is the first step in identifying victims.                         

Some Indicators Concerning a Potential Victim Include:

Behavior or Physical State:

  • Does the victim act fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid?
  • Does the victim defer to another person to speak for him or her?
  • Does the victim show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture?
  • Has the victim been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities?
  • Does the victim have few or no personal possessions?

Social Behavior:

  • Can the victim freely contact friends or family?
  • Is the victim allowed to socialize or attend religious services?
  • Does the victim have freedom of movement?
  • Has the victim or family been threatened with harm if the victim
    attempts to escape?

Work Conditions and Immigration Status:

  • Does the victim work excessively long and/or unusual hours?
  • Is the victim a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?  Was the victim recruited for one purpose and forced to engage
    in some other job?
  • Is the victim’s salary being garnished to pay off a smuggling fee?
    (Paying off a smuggling fee alone is not considered trafficking.)
  • Has the victim been forced to perform sexual acts?
  • Has the victim been threatened with deportation or law
    enforcement action? Is the victim in possession of identification and travel documents; if not, who has control of the documents?

Minor Victims:

  • Is the victim a juvenile engaged in commercial sex?

WHAT ARE AT LEAST FOUR HUMAN RIGHTS THAT ARE VIOLATED WHEN A PERSON IS TRAFFICKED?

  1. No torture- Nobody has any right to mistreat us or to torture us
  2. No slavery- Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.
  3. The right to life- We all have the right to life, where we live in freedom and safety.
  4. The right to education- Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about our country and its history.

WHAT EFFECT DOES HUMAN TRAFFICKING HAVE ON THE VICTIMS?

Human trafficking impacts children’s physical and emotional development. Children experience long punishing hours with heavy lifting, inhumane treatment, physical and sexual abuse, and are exposed to harmful chemicals. When a person is being trafficked, they may be involved in abuse, confiscation of travel documents, no time off, isolation from the community and all family and friends, threats of harm, and deported as an undocumented immigrant.

DOES IT OCCUR IN THE UNITED STATES?

Yes, it occurs in the United States, mainly in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Domestic workers are also found here in San Jose, in the Silicon Valley. 41% of the workers in private households suffered violations of the minimum-wage law. 66.3% of child workers undergo the highest rate of their rights violated. 29.5% of the maids & housekeepers aren’t being paid minimum wage. 17.5% of home health care workers encounter minimum wage violations.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUMAN TRAFFICKING VERSUS HUMAN SMUGGLING?

Trafficking vs. Smuggling
Human trafficking and human smuggling are two separate crimes under federal law. There are several important differences between them.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING HUMAN SMUGGLING
Victims are forced, defrauded, or coerced into trafficking. Even if victims initially offer consent, that consent is rendered meaningless by the actions of the traffickers to exploit them for labor, services, or commercial sex. Individuals consent to being smuggled. The transaction is mutual and ends upon arrival at desired destination.
Human trafficking is a crime committed against an individual. Smuggling is a crime committed against a country.
Trafficking does not need to involve the physical movement of a person. Trafficking victimization can be transnational or domestic. Smuggling involves the illegal transport of an individual across a national border. Smuggling is always transnational.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Definition of Trafficking in Persons

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), as amended (22 U.S.C. § 7102), defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as:

  • Sex trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the 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; (and)
  • Labor trafficking: 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.

WHAT LAWS DOES THE U.S. HAVE IN PLACE FOR THIS FORM OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

The Government of State has aggressively strengthened its policies regarding domestic workers, and any report of abuse is managed by a U.S. government employee. United States has a law called The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) . TVPA enhances pre-existing criminal penalties, and affords new protection services to trafficking victims. In addition, they promote a policy of the “3 Ps”.

  1. Prosecution:
  • Passing the appropriate laws that criminalize trafficking
  • Jailing the abusers
  1. Protection:
  • Identifying the victims
  • Providing victims with medical care & shelter
  • Repatriating, sending them back to their country, them if it’s necessary
  1. Prevention:
  • Raising awareness of the inhumane practices involved in the trafficking trade

WHERE CAN SOMEONE GOT FOR HELP?

Help for Victims of Trafficking

Prior to the enactment of the TVPA in 2000, no comprehensive Federal law existed to protect victims of trafficking or to prosecute their traffickers. The TVPA and its subsequent reauthorizations have worked to prevent human trafficking both in the United States and abroad, to increase prosecution of human traffickers, and to protect victims by providing benefits and services that will help them rebuild their lives in the United States.

Information about services for trafficking victims is available in the Victim Assistance fact sheet, the Certification for Adult Victims of Trafficking fact sheet, and the Child Victims of Human Trafficking fact sheet.

If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.3737.888.

The NHTRC can help you identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve trafficking victims.

For more information on human trafficking visit: www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking.

Help for Victims of Trafficking
Get help, report a tip, find services, and learn more about your options. The National Human Trafficking Hotline provides assistance to victims in crisis through safety planning, emotional support, and connections to local resources.

CONFIDENTIAL | TOLL-FREE | 24/7
CALL 1-888-373-7888
TEXT HELP to BEFREE (233733)
EMAIL help@humantraffickinghotline.org
VISIT www.humantraffickinghotline.org
Learn more at www.acf.hhs.gov/otip.