Human trafficking is a type of slavery that involves the transport or trade of people for the purpose of work. According to the U.N., about 2.5 million people around the world are ensnared in the web of human trafficking at any given time. Human trafficking impacts people of all backgrounds, and people are trafficked for a variety of purposes. Men are often trafficked into hard labor jobs, while children are trafficked into labor positions in textile, agriculture and fishing industries. Women and girls are typically trafficked into the commerical sex industry, i.e. prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation. Not all slaves are trafficked, but all trafficking victims are victims of slavery. Human trafficking is a particularly cruel type of slavery because it removes the victim from all that is familiar to her, rendering her completely isolated and alone, often unable to speak the language of her captors or fellow victims.
Child trafficking victims, whether for labor, sex or organ trafficking, come from all backgrounds, include both boys and girls. They span a wide age range from 1 to 18 years old. Sex trafficking victims up to roughly 25 years old most often started as young as 14. Children are trafficked out of, or into the united states from all regions of the world and represent a variety of different races, ethnic groups and religions. They many be brought to the U.S legally or smuggled in . Trafficked children can be lured to the united states through the promise of school or work and promised the opportunity to send money back to their families. Children are also vulnerable to kidnappers, pimps, and professional brokers. Some children are even sold to traffickers by their families, who may or may not have an understanding of what will happen to the child. U.S. born children are also trafficked within the U.S., coming from any racial group, socio-economic background, and come from or trafficked within both city and rural areas.
This measure increases the current criminal penalties for human trafficking under state law. For example, the measure increases the prison sentence for labor trafficking crimes to a maximum of 12 years per offense, and for sex trafficking of adults to up to 20 years per offense. Sex trafficking of minors that involved force or fraud would be punishable by up to a life term in prison. Figure 1 lists each of the measure’s increases in the maximum prison sentences, sentence enhancements, and criminal fines.