What human trafficking is…and isn’t?
Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world.
Globally, there are two general categories of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to perform commercial sex. Common types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage businesses, brothels, outdoor solicitation. Labor trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to work or provide service. Common types include agriculture, domestic work, restaurants, cleaning services, and carnivals.
Polaris project it is an American nonprofit organization that stands on global fight to eradicate modern slavery, focused mainly on US cases.
Some statistics from Polaris:
Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need. Find below potential red flags to look for:
Common Work and Living Conditions: The individual(s) in question
Is not free to leave or come and go at will
Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
Is living and working on site
Experiences verbal or physical abuse by their supervisor
Is not given proper safety equipment
Is not paid directly
Is forced to meet daily quotas
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement or immigration officials
Shows signs of substance use or addiction
Poor Physical Health
Shows signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment, and/or fatigue
Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
Lack of Control
Has few or no personal possessions
Is frequently monitored
Is not in control of their own money, financial records, or bank account
Is not in control of their own identification documents (ID or passport)
Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)
Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where they are staying/address
Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
Appear to have lost sense of time
Shares scripted, confusing, or inconsistent stories
Protects the person who may be hurting them or minimizes abuse
Interview with Sara Crowe and David Medina on Polaris and Eradicating Human Slavery with details on labor trafficking in agriculture in USA.