Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Millions of men, women, and children are trafficked into forced labor situations and into the sex trade worldwide. Many of these victims are lured from their homes with false promises of well-paying jobs; instead, they are forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or other types of forced labor. Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agricultural fields, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service.
Who are the Victims? Who is at Risk?
Trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Trafficking victims can be men or women, young or old, American or from abroad, with or without legal status. Traffickers prey on victims with little or no social safety net. They look for victims who are vulnerable because of their illegal immigration status, limited English proficiency, and those who may be in vulnerable situations due to economic hardship, political instability, natural disasters, or other causes.
Unfortunately human trafficking is at an all-time high and is the fastest growing crime committed globally. There are approximately 25 million slaves in the world today, and the number increases by the minute. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. That’s 45 men, women and children per day in the U.S. alone.
Sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking that uses force, fraud or coercion to obtain commercial sex from individuals. While many people believe sex trafficking only happens overseas or in low socioeconomic areas, it is happening throughout the nation – in urban, rural and suburban areas. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sex trafficking is the most prevalent of the three forms of human trafficking (forced labor and domestic servitude are the others).
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Labor traffickers – including recruiters, contractors, employers, and others – use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, or other forms of coercion to force people to work against their will in many different industries. Labor traffickers often make false promises of a high-paying job or exciting education or travel opportunities to lure people into horrendous working conditions. Victims employers exert such physical or psychological control – including physical abuse, debt bondage, confiscation of passports or money – they believe they have no other choice but to continue working for that employer.
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Domestic workers perform work within their employers’ households, and provide services such as cooking, cleaning, child-care, elder care, gardening and other household work. Domestic workers may or may not live in their employer’s homes. Victims of domestic servitude commonly work 10 to 16 hours a day for little to no pay. Domestic workers may be U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants, or foreign nationals with specific visas types. Victims of domestic servitude in the U.S. are most often foreign national women with or without documentation living in the home of their employer.
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