What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking occurs when a person uses violence, deception, or threats of force to coerce another person to provide labor or commercial sex, and to prevent that person from leaving the situation. Human trafficking also occurs when a person recruits, harbors, transports, provides or obtains another person knowing that force, fraud or coercion will be used to exploit the other person for labor or commercial sex. Trafficking is ongoing exploitation. Travel is not always involved. Victims in the U.S. are entitled to protection and assistance, regardless of their immigration status.

What is labor trafficking?

Labor trafficking is using force, fraud or coercion to recruit, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain a person for labor or services in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act is under the age of 18.

Signs of human trafficking

Human trafficking occurs in many industries: agriculture, construction, domestic service (housekeeper, nanny), restaurants, salons, prostitution, massage parlors and various other businesses.

Means of control used by traffickers

Force: Physical assault (beating, burning, slapping, hitting, assault with object or weapon, etc.), physical confinement and isolation, rape and other forms of sexual violence and/or domestic violence.

Fraud: False or deceptive offers of employment, marriage, or a better life, lying about work conditions, false promises, withholding wages.

Coercion: Threats to life, safety, family members, or other loved ones. Threats to have a victim or a victim’s family member arrested or deported.

Debt bondage: Use of manipulation of debt to create never-ending debt. Withholding legal documents such as identification.

Psychological abuse.

Signs of Human Trafficking

Abusive employment situation

One person controlling another or a group (speaking for them; escorting them to/from work)

Employer in control of employee’s identification/immigration documents

People locked inside a residence or workplace

Someone unable to leave a particular job (forced to work there)

Threats to employee or employee’s family by employer

“Debt” owed by employees to employer

Employee living in employer-owned or controlled residence

Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking

Individual has no power in making their own decisions, limited or no independence

Individual’s access to friends, family, public is limited or cut off

Victim may appear to be very fearful

Victim may seek services or be referred to services for seemingly unrelated issue. Events, details, symptoms and information don’t connect or seem to be disguising other issues or concerns

Individual working very long hours for little or no pay