January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

  • January 26, 2022
  • OCVA
Labor - Sex Trafficking

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking occurs when a person recruits, harbors, transports, provides or obtains another person knowing that force, fraud or coercion will be used to exploit the person for labor, any form of work or commercial sex OR causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act. Travel is not always involved.

Foreign nationals, immigrants and special visa workers are labor trafficked and exploited. They tend to be more vulnerable due to their immigration status, language barriers, remote locations and isolation from trusted family or friends.

Victims in the U.S. are entitled to protection and assistance regardless of their immigration status.

Labor Trafficking in Washington?

Labor trafficking is occurring in our state. It intersects with domestic and sexual violence, and it affects individuals, families and communities. Compared to sex trafficking there are limited resources and supports for individuals who have experienced labor trafficking.  OCVA encourages community members and service providers to learn about labor trafficking so that we can ensure all individuals have access to support and assistance.

Framework – tools to combat labor trafficking is an excellent web resource you can use to learn about the labor trafficking of youth and adults, outreach, policy and more.

Industries and Types

Labor Trafficking

  • Domestic Servitude – housekeeping, nanny
  • Agriculture
  • Landscaping
  • Food & Hospitality

Sex Trafficking

  • Trafficker controlled: online, street based, circuit
  • “Boyfriend”
  • Family-based

Control & Manipulation: Basic Needs

 Traffickers may deprive youth, adults and the elderly of the following basic needs as a way to control and manipulate them:
  • Food, water, shelter and sleep
  • Emotional, physical and financial support through isolation, humiliation and other means in order to create dependency
Traffickers also use force, fraud and/or coercion to control.


  • Physical Assault
  • Sexual abuse / assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • Physical confinement
  • Isolation


  • False offer of employment
  • False offer of a “better life”
  • Taking identification
  • Lying about living situation offered or provided


  • Threats to life, family members
  • Threats of deportation
  • Debt bondage
  • Withholding of identification and other legal documents
  • Psychological abuse


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