Technically, they are true: Anyone can be trafficked, in any community, just as anyone can be the victim of any kind of crime. They are more likely to face legal restrictions on work and travel related to their visas. not in control of their personal identification (passport, driver’s license, ID). By using this website, you agree not to sell or make a profit in any way from any information or forms that you obtained through this website. Initially, trafficking of women and girls for forced sex work and, to a lesser extent, domestic servitude, were the sole focus of advocacy and assistance. This may include … They begin to believe that their bodies are all their worth. Human trafficking occurs all around the world, and in each and every one of the 50 United States. It feeds on the world’s most vulnerable women and children and is driven by the demand in affluent countries. Sexploitation: Human Trafficking. not in control of their money or bank account. Hearing their voices explain what they suffered through gives context to what this crime can be. Prior misunderstandings of the situations human trafficking victims experience has necessitated a movement to create a more victim-centered approach. TRUTH: As outlined in our previous blog post defining human trafficking, the legal definition of human trafficking states: “by means of the threat or use of force, fraud, or coercion.” This means that a person could feel unable to leave a situation because of fraud, coercion, or manipulation, as well as physical restraint. Some myths about human trafficking victims and their truths: MYTH: Human trafficking applies mostly to prostitution or sexual exploitation. “Although human trafficking affects every demographic, a common factor across all forms of modern slavery is the victims’ vulnerability to exploitation. The journey of a human trafficking victim doesn’t begin the moment he or she is rescued. © 2001–2021. (, under 18 years old and performing commercial sex acts, unpaid or paid very little for employment, in large debt to employer and is unable to pay it off. There are several reasons why people are targeted for human trafficking. Truth: Human trafficking knows no geographical bounds. This includes immigrants smuggled into the U.S., or currently residing in the U.S., who are vulnerable to exploitation due to their undocumented status. Traffickers exploit vulnerabilities that many people already face by using stories of a better life – whether that means a feeling of belonging, a better income, or a chance for new opportunities. Seasonal work in the hospitality industry may also be at risk for exploitation. MYTH: There must be evidence of physical restraint in all human trafficking situations. “These victims often face threats workers with arrest and deportation, even workers who have the legal right to work in the United States. Human trafficking isn’t limited … Other times, family members may not have the financial resources to provide ongoing care to their loved ones with disabilities. People escaping from war and persecution are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking. Often, individuals are not able or not yet willing to seek treatment for their previous abuse. According to the hotline, about 80% of trafficking cases nationally involve sex trafficking, and 90% of the victims are female. Human Trafficking, also known as Modern Day Slavery, is quite simply the exploitation of vulnerability. This is why training for these individuals is so important. Familiarizing yourself with human trafficking traits and commonalities is important in helping the general public know what to look for. Additionally, individuals who are hard of hearing or sight are often targeted by traffickers because of their diminished ability to report their situation to police or someone who may be able to help them. People you know might be vulnerable to trafficking if they: Has an unstable living situation Has a history of domestic violence Has a caregiver or family member who has a substance abuse issue Learn the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis >>. Combatting human trafficking requires a sustained commitment to investigating and prosecuting these crimes and to protecting the most vulnerable citizens and residents from human traffickers. Human smuggling, although not the same as human trafficking, often preys upon vulnerable people who then arrive on the European continent poor, and often in debt. There are many reasons why someone who is being trafficked might not be able to leave. While there isn’t one face of a human trafficking victim, certain populations are more vulnerable, including runaway and homeless youth, children and youth in foster care, individuals fleeing violence or natural disasters, individuals with a disability, and those who have suffered other types of abuse or exploitation in their lifetimes. FREE, Not for Sale:  The information and forms available on this website are free. They are not for sale. Billings notes that less than one percent of human trafficking cases are abductions. We are working through our Human Trafficking 101 blog series, and this is part three. Another common method of keeping a trafficking victim from leaving is debt bondage – this is when a trafficker claims a debt owed for shelter, food, or protection and inflates it to a point that it is insurmountable to the victim. Victims of labor trafficking have been found among U.S. migrant and seasonal farmworkers, restaurant workers, and as domestic servants. Foreign nationals are at an increased risk for human trafficking for many reasons. The most targeted populations for trafficking are homeless and runaway youths. Child sex trafficking is a cycle of abuse. Here in Barbados, our Embassy actively engages with the government to combat human trafficking. “Victims in these establishments are primarily controlled through debt, blackmail, and intense psychological manipulation. MYTH: Recruiting human trafficking victims happens quickly – like strangers trying to lure children away. Some survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. may be eligible for a type of humanitarian relief called a “T visa” if they meet certain requirements. The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was born out of a renewed commitment by world leaders in the battle against human trafficking to end this crime, one of the most egregious violations of human rights in the world today. Vulnerable to Human Trafficking. TRUTH: Human trafficking appears in many forms. Always report it, when you see something suspicious to the local authorities in addition to calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline – 1.888.373.7888. While there isn’t one face of a human trafficking victim, certain populations are more vulnerable, including runaway and homeless youth, children and youth in foster care, individuals fleeing violence or natural disasters, individuals with a disability, and those who have suffered other types of abuse or exploitation in their lifetimes. Most victims of human trafficking will not self-identify as such because they’re unaware of what it means. Las Vegas: Homeless youth most vulnerable to sex trafficking. Intimate partner violence, domestic violence, incest, psychological or emotional abuse and neglect, and other forms of trauma and violence can make a person more vulnerable to human trafficking. Often, we have a very specific image of a person who’s been trafficked in our minds because of a documentary, film, or news story we’ve seen. It is estimated that there are over 40 million global victims and hundreds of thousands in the United States.. Formally launched in March 2007 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime The realities of the exploitation suffered and the complications around each situation are often misunderstood. or avoiding all eye contact. Runaway and homeless youth are vulnerable to trafficking. What Makes People Vulnerable to Becoming Trafficked? “The traffickers look for those who are most vulnerable, including the homeless and runaways,” she said. The Texas Bar Foundation provided funding for website design. The Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) was launched at the University of Baltimore School of Law in August 2015. It happens all over the world, including the United States. MYTH: Those who are trafficked in the U.S. are not American citizens. Human trafficking occurs all over the world, not just in specific regions based on socioeconomic development. Young children don’t know what they don’t know. For a broader knowledge of where human trafficking happens, read It Happens Everywhere. Farmworkers holding H-2A temporary work visas are prohibited from working for an employer other than the one who requested their visa, leaving the worker vulnerable to abuse by an employer, crew leader, or recruitment agency.” (Human Trafficking Resource Center). According to the United Nations, over 130 countries are origin, transit or destination countries for human trafficking. It can drive people to … O rgan trafficking, a lucrative global illicit trade, is often a lesser discussed form of human trafficking among anti-human trafficking stakeholders due to its intricate and often stealth nature. The Polaris Project has a detailed list with further explanations. Minors in the child welfare system are significantly more likely to be trafficked than their peers who have had no contact with the child welfare system. This image is usually one of several varieties: a poor, shoeless person sitting in the dirt in a rural village; a teenage girl with chains around her hands and feet; or maybe even images we’ve seen in history books about the Transatlantic slave trade. Human trafficking has become sensationalized in many films and TV shows, and can show American anxieties that are based in historical narratives. “In all forms of human trafficking, there are likely elements of grooming a victim prior to the individual becoming a victim and brainwashing and coercion to keep them from leaving. Traffickers lure victims in a variety of ways. Outside the influence of a trafficker’s threats and lies, there’s also a lack of awareness of what human trafficking is. Who is vulnerable to human trafficking? Outside of the actual act of forcing someone to stay in such situations, these factors greatly affect a person’s propensity to report a crime or try to leave.”  TIP Report, 2016. These families fall target to traffickers who promise families that they will provide work or education to their loved ones with a disability. TRUTH: Human trafficking victims are found across all age, gender, and racial demographics. Education is a central piece to the identification of victims and in turn the ability of law enforcement to be able to rescue them. In almost every case, there’s far more to the story than meets the eye. Human trafficking Human trafficking has received increasing global attention over the past decade. This is one reason why it is so important to be educated on the issue and share what you’ve learned with others. Severe retaliation or attacks on their families hold many in fear of disobeying their traffickers. While anyone can be a victim, we know that kids who are homeless or … The most obvious is youth. Recognizing the warning signs a patient is a victim of trafficking is crucial in the ED and other healthcare settings. The most vulnerable children The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is another term for what we often call child sex trafficking. These populations include men, women, families, or children as young as five years old who harvest crops and raise animals in fields or work in packing plants, nurseries, orchards, and kitchens. They are also more likely to have a language barrier, and they’re more likely to be unfamiliar with the area where they live including the geographic layout, resources available, and legal protections regarding labor. Irregular migrants are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. There are many examples in articles and books that you will find as you continue researching and learning about this topic. While not inclusive of all vulnerabilities, the following highlights a few risk factors for victims of human trafficking. No community, whether affluent or impoverished, isn’t immune to the crime of human trafficking (as discussed more thoroughly in our previous post: It Happens Everywhere). In the vicious human trafficking world, especially in commercial sex trafficking, the younger the victim, the more they earn for their trafficker. Victims are very rarely left alone and are threatened with violence. People, especially children, and youth are less resilient after experiencing trauma and more likely to be persuaded or tricked by others who would take advantage of emotional instability, low self-esteem, physical injury, a missing support system, and an intensified need to be accepted by peers or stand-ins for family members. They are always individually based and don’t seem to suggest that trafficking is a system that relies on power structures of gender, race, and class. Trafficking sex and/or labor are the more commonly thought of forms of human trafficking among public policy leaders and general awareness campaigns. Who is Most Vulnerable? These traffickers play the role of a boyfriend or a significant other, using feigned affection and manipulation to elicit commercial sex or services from the victim. Also, in the United States, the TVPA has special protections for minors. TRUTH: Human trafficking victims in the U.S. are foreign as well as domestic. In some cultures, disabilities are seen as shameful and burdensome to families. For a deep dive on this topic, take a look at Uncovering Myths & Intricacies. The most vulnerable children. WHO and PAHO have developed a series of information sheets on violence against women that summarizes what is known about the prevalence, patterns, consequences, risk factors and strategies to address the different forms of VAW. TRUTH: Human trafficking victims are found in affluent cities as well as small towns. How do traffickers lure their victims? If you missed the first two posts in this series, make sure to go back and read part one, Uncovering Myths and Intricacies and part two, Human Trafficking Happens Everywhere. While these claims may appear to be legitimate at first, unfortunately for many men, women, and children, they’re targeted as easy prey for exploitation. Individuals with a history of trauma or abuse are less resilient and more susceptible to human trafficking. A form of modern-day slavery, human trafficking is defined by the U.S. Department of State as "the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion." “It can happen to anyone,” and “it’s happening in your backyard,” are common in the anti-human trafficking field. Massage parlors, strip clubs, nail salons, and other businesses may pose as legitimate businesses, but actually, be run by human traffickers. ” TIP Report, 2016. Additionally, victims often have psychological trauma from their abuse, which can often cause them to bond to their abuser in irrational ways. This is an effort by law enforcement to minimize re-traumatization as they move through the criminal justice system. This includes immigrants smuggled into the U.S., or currently residing in the U.S., who are vulnerable to exploitation due to their undocumented status. When victims’ bodies are regularly used as objects, their self-worth is shattered. Red flags to look for when trying to determine if the suspicious activity you have noticed is a case of human trafficking, specifically regarding an individual include someone who is: Other indicators include appearing fearful, anxious, submissive, tense, paranoid, etc. The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is another term for what we often call child sex trafficking. Some of us already have shit going on in our lives that might put us at risk of being targeted. Activism. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Domestic Violence, COVID-19 & Human Trafficking, 5 Ways Guidance Counselors Are Uniquely Positioned, Why You Are Uniquely Positioned To Help End Human Trafficking, Your Response This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, In 2013, 60 percent of children rescued in a nationwide raid led by the FBI in more than 70 cities were from foster care or group homes (, At least one in three homeless youth engage in “, Fifty-six percent of women in prostitution were once runaway youth. Many people often wonder why someone caught in these horrible conditions doesn’t do something to escape or report their abuse. Additionally, their trafficker likely has justified their actions in a number of ways to convince a victim that their experience is normal and not a crime. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! “It also brings the underside of the criminal world, and that is those that are using a game, an entertaining event, to increase their sales of our most vulnerable," Moody said of human trafficking. MYTH: Most human trafficking involves females under the age of 18. For more useful information go to TexasCourtHelp, a website of the Texas Office of Court Administration's website. Traffickers target the most vulnerable because traffickers use their insecurities to control them. TRUTH: Recruitment is a process that usually takes place over a long period of time and in a much less obvious manner. Funding: This website is supported by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Homeless and runaway youth are another common target for traffickers. There are many more reasons why someone might not be able to break the invisible chains holding them in their current state. Foreign Nationals are at an increased risk because of the legal and travel restrictions they face. A study in Chicago found that 56 percent of prostituted women were initially runaway youth and similar numbers have been identified for male populations. Human trafficking is the end result of years – sometimes generations – of vulnerabilities that have been unaddressed, under-resourced, or unnoticed. It doesn’t begin the moment the victim was first exploited. Poverty is one of the largest contributors to human trafficking. While unpacking these myths completely is difficult to do concisely, we’ll walk through them to help you gain an understanding of the truth sometimes captured within these myths. Vulnerability. How to fight human trafficking. The urgency of their situation might lead them to make dangerous migration decisions. TRUTH: It can happen anywhere, any time of day or night. It’s important that you’re educated on what to look for so that you can speak up and be a voice for victims of this crime who often can’t speak up for themselves. However, victims are forced into organized begging rings because it is thought that they gain more sympathy (and therefore profit) by the traffickers. Some survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. may be eligible for a type of humanitarian relief called a “T visa” if they meet certain requirements. Almost every aspect of their life is controlled — where they live, what they eat, where they go, what they look like, and who they are allowed to talk to.”. The journey a victim takes after the point of rescue is incredibly important to their future health and well-being. At the same time, be vigilant and take note of all suspicious activity around you, and always report this to your local law enforcement. Human trafficking affects everyone – women, men, children, youth, those foreign to a nation and a country’s own citizens. Reasons People Become Vulnerable to Trafficking. TexasLawHelp.org All Rights Reserved. Runaway or homeless youth may be compelled to exchange sex for basic survival necessities, such as food, shelter, or protection. MYTH: Victims of human trafficking are only found in large urban areas that are hot spots of crime or foreign villages in developing countries. The most targeted populations for trafficking are homeless and runaway youths. The Human Trafficking Prevention Project. Victims are often taught to distrust others – particularly law enforcement, this is especially true if they are in a country illegally and could be deported if discovered. Who is most vulnerable to human trafficking? A person who’s been trafficked likely lived a life with compounding vulnerabilities like: trauma, abuse, neglect, disability, violence, family breakdown, homelessness, poverty, or a combination of many factors. There are a number of factors which make people vulnerable to abuses of all kinds, particularly human trafficking. David Brown, a TIP Hero from 2008, talks about the refugee highway. Undocumented workers are especially vulnerable because they are less likely to report being the victim of a crime. Generally, when inequality exists and where certain people lack access to social protection and justice, human traffickers are able to thrive. If you suspect a trafficking situation call the National Human Trafficking Hotline now: 1-888-373-7888, Faces of Human Trafficking Discussion Guide. Foreign nationals may also be victims of sex trafficking. Let us know in the comments what questions you have about human trafficking. MYTH: All trafficked people are in other countries – mostly in Asia and Africa. To fight against the insidious scourge of human trafficking takes compassion for the most vulnerable in our community. Although in the U.S. human trafficking is outlawed under The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 75% to 80% of trafficking victims in America are involved in the sex trade. Though cultural norms and values differ worldwide, the need to be loved and the desire to provide for one’s family are common to us all. For more detailed descriptions of these warning signs and more take a look at the full list from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as well as these other resources: US Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet, US Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign. MYTH: Human trafficking frequently happens in broad daylight in places like a park or the grocery store. This helps dispel common myths mentioned previously and leads to increased identification of human trafficking situations. Survivors of the illegal sex trade say the city’s culture and high rates of homelessness give traffickers the advantage. It often includes subtle brainwashing and grooming tactics. A great way to gain an understanding of what human trafficking really looks like and to overturn its common myths and misunderstandings is to read personal stories and testimonies of victim’s experiences. Human trafficking is a global issue, but certain countries are worse. Victims are often in plain view and go unidentified because they don’t match the stereotypical image the media portrays and the public consumes. Runaway youth are often approached by traffickers at transportation hubs, shelters or other public spaces. Poverty. Here are a few: Survivor Perspectives on the Role of Health and Human Service Systems, Joining forces to fight human trafficking. It certainly isn’t easy, especially because no two situations are going to look exactly alike. Media will often show a stereotyped trafficked innocent woman who is in need of rescue by a man. Understand that exploitation and abuse occur in lots of situations in addition to crimes of human trafficking. © 2020 Engage Together® All rights reserved. Human trafficking takes place in every country, from the richest to the poorest. Be aware that not all circumstances that first appear to be human trafficking necessarily are. But these images don’t provide a clear understanding of who is actually falling prey to human traffickers. What we know about trafficking survivors is that, in most cases, they have struggled with issues such as poverty, low self-esteem, and homelessness at some point in their life. Social workers who provide services to these victims indicate that feelings of isolation and abandonment are often reported but that the lack of a support network increases the vulnerability to trafficking. Specific risk factors for people with physical or cognitive disabilities include social marginalization, difficulty with communication, and diminished ability to protect oneself due to lack of instruction or resources. Predators are insidiously capable of identifying the most vulnerable youth, those who lack self-esteem, self-confidence or are marginalized in some way. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Oftentimes a human trafficking case will be noticed by someone who is most likely to come in contact with a victim – a police officer, medical professional, parent, teacher, employees at a hair or nail salon, etc. Physical and social factors make individuals with disabilities more vulnerable to human trafficking. 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