Human Trafficking

Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern day slavery.

Don Brewster said it best; human trafficking simply put is the exploitation of vulnerability. As the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, generating over $32 billion per year, human trafficking affects every nation across the globe. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.

Clues to Identify a Trafficked Victim

Special thanks to the A21 Campaign
  • Evidence of being controlled: the person is accompanied by a controlling person, and do not speak on their own behalf. The person is transported to or from work or the person lives and works at the same place and is rarely allowed in public.
  • Lack of control over personal schedule. The person is not able to move freely or leave a job. For example a women who works extremely long hours, sees an important number of clients, and has no time for herself.
  • Lack of control over money. The person is not able to keep the money earned. It is “withheld for safe-keeping.” Most of the time the person owes debt to the employer.
  • Fear, depression, and overly submissive behavior. The person is frightened to talk to outsiders and authorities as a result of threats.
  • Poor health. Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, pelvic pain and traumas, urinary difficulties, pregnancy resulting from rape and prostitution, infertility from chronic untreated STDs and unsafe abortions. Malnutrition and serious dental problems.
  • Bruises, scars and other signs of physical abuse and torture. Sex trafficked victims are often beaten in areas that will not damage their appearance, like their lower back.
  • Substance abuse problems or addictions. The person is often coerced into drug use by their traffickers or turn to substance abuse to help cope with their dreadful situation.

Force – Fraud – Coercion

Force: Beating and slapping. Beating with objects (bat, tools, chains, belts, hangers, canes, cords). Burning. Sexual assault. Rape and gang rape. Confinement and physical restraint

Fraud: False promises. Deceitful enticing and affectionate behavior. Lying about working conditions. Lying about the promise of a better life, “selling a dream”

Coercion: Threats of serious harm or restraint. Intimidation and humiliation. Creating a climate of fear. Enforcement of trivial demands. Occasional Indulgences. Intense manipulation. Emotional abuse. Isolation. Creating dependency and fear of independence

Ask The Right Questions

  • What type of work do you do?
  • Are you getting paid to do your job? Do you receive payment or is your money being held for you? Can you come and go as you please? Are you supervised when you are in public places?
  • How do you feel about the police?
  • Have you been threatened if you have tried to leave? Have you or your family been threatened?
  • Have you been physically harmed in anyway?
  • Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom?
  • Are there any locks on your doors and windows so you cannot get out?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
  • Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do?

    Contributing Factors

While anyone can become a victim of trafficking, certain populations are especially vulnerable.  These may include: undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless youth; and oppressed, marginalized, and/or impoverished groups and individuals.  Traffickers specifically target individuals in these populations because they are vulnerable to recruitment tactics and methods of control.

  • Aging out of the Foster Care System
  • Vulnerability
  • Addiction
  • Under the power of a pimp or madame
  • Exposed to pornography and ‘drafted’ by parental figures
  • Victims of rape or incest

    Who is at risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking?

    Human trafficking victims can come from a range of backgrounds and some may come from middle and upper class families. Poverty is one of many factors that make individuals vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.Since human trafficking victims can be men or women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, trafficking is a crime that cuts across race, nationality, gender, age, and socio-economic background. However, human traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way.

    Be Aware

    Many victims have a strong sense of distrust. Before questioning a person who may be a victim of sex trafficking, try to separate the person from the individual accompanying her/ him. This individual could be the trafficker, acting as a spouse or any other family member. Evidences of possible “Stockholm” syndrome where kidnapped victims, over time, become sympathetic to their captors.


National Human Trafficking Resource Centre (NHTRC) Toll free Hotline: 1-888-3737-888

Text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733)

Local police: 911

Local FBI: Find your city by visiting this website:

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