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Human Trafficking

Definition: Human trafficking is the practice of exploiting adults and children for use as commodities, or objects, in conditions of sexual and labor servitude.

Also known as “modern slavery,” human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings through recruitment or abduction by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of forced labor, debt bondage or sexual exploitation.

Description

Human trafficking victims are often forced, through sexual, physical and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions.

Tactics used by recruiters, traffickers and their associates are often the same tactics used by batterers and can mirror dynamics of domestic violence.

Traffickers use a variety of coercive methods to control their victims including:

  • Luring their victims with false promises of economic opportunity
  • Withholding identification, work authorization, or travel documents
  • Demanding repayment for a real or alleged debt
  • Using or threatening to use violence
  • Monitoring and surveillance activities
  • Paying very little or not paying at all for work

Trafficked victims may:

  • Be forced to live in subpar conditions (living in the same place as they work; living in a space that does not have heat, running water, or electricity; living with many people sharing the same, small space)
  • Not be allowed to talk to anyone alone or without supervision
  • Be coached on how to respond to inquiries from others including police and other authority figures

Regardless of immigration status, all people that work in the United States have the right to:

  • Be paid at least a minimum wage
  • A safe and healthy workplace
  • Not be held in a job against their will
  • Keep their passport and other identification documents in their possession
  • Report abuse without retaliation
  • Leave an abusive employment situation
  • Get help from unions, immigrant and labor rights groups, and other organizations


Statistics and Facts

National Human Trafficking Statistics

  • It is estimated that 20.9 million people are trafficked worldwide. (ILO, 2012)
    • 11.4 million of the people who are trafficked worldwide identify as women and girls. (ILO, 2012)
    • 9.5 million of the people who are trafficked worldwide identify as men and boys. (ILO, 2012)
  • Almost 19 million victims of human trafficking are exploited by private individuals or businesses. (ILO, 2012)
  • Over 2 million victims of human trafficking are exploited by the state or rebel groups (an organized group that is resistant to a constituted government.) (ILO, 2012)
    • Of those exploited by individuals or enterprises, 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation. (ILO, 2012)

Labor Trafficking Statistics

  • Forced labor in the private economy generates an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits per year. (ILO, 2012)
    • Domestic work, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing are among the sectors most  impacted by trafficking (ILO, 2012)
    • Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labor. (ILO, 2012)

Ileana Taylor, an Anti-trafficking Advocate

Our Anti-Trafficking Program gives survivors the chance to speak to a compassionate, expert case manager like Ileana Taylor who links human trafficking survivors to vital resources they need to find hope and safety.
Read Ileana's story →

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210 survivors of human trafficking were helped by our Anti-Trafficking Program in 2016.