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What is Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery.  

 

Victims of human trafficking are not permitted to leave upon arrival at their destination. They are held against their will through acts of coercion and forced to work or provide services to the trafficker or others. The work or services may include anything from bonded or forced labor to commercialized sexual exploitation. The arrangement may be structured as a work contract, but with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative. Sometimes the arrangement is structured as debt bondage, with the victim not being permitted or able to pay off the debt.  

 

Bonded labor, or debt bondage, is probably the least known form of labor trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. Victims become bonded laborers when their labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan or service in which its terms and conditions have not been defined or in which the value of the victims’ services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt. The value of their work is greater than the original sum of money "borrowed."  

 

Forced labor is a situation in which victims are forced to work against their own will, under the threat of violence or some other form of punishment, their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted.

Forms of forced labor can include:

-domestic servitude 

-agricultural labor 

-sweatshop factory labor 

-janitorial or food service

-other service industry labor 

-begging   

 

Sex trafficking victims are generally found in dire circumstances and easily targeted by traffickers.

Individuals, circumstances, and situations vulnerable to traffickers include:

-homeless individuals 

-runaway teens 

-displaced homemakers 

-refugees 

-drug addicts 

 

While it may seem like trafficked people are the most vulnerable and powerless minorities in a region, victims are consistently exploited from any ethnic and social background.  

 

Sex traffickers, also known as pimps or madams, exploit vulnerabilities and lack of opportunities, while offering promises of marriage, employment, education, and/or an overall better life. However, in the end, traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry.

Various work in the sex industry includes:

-prostitution 

-dancing in strip clubs 

-performing in pornographic films and pornography 

-other forms of involuntary servitude   

 

Human trafficking does not require travel or transport from one location to another, but one form of sex trafficking involves international agents and brokers who arrange travel and job placements for women from one country. Women are lured to accompany traffickers based on promises of lucrative opportunities unachievable in their native country. However, once they reach their destination, the women discover that they have been deceived and learn the true nature of the work that they will be expected to do. Most have been told lies regarding the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment and find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous.