Human Trafficking:A Crime against human rights Understanding the growing issue and stopping present and future traffickers.


Servitude: To be a slave or completely subject to someone of more power. In this case, servitude is referring to the victims being force or coerced into human trafficking.

Exploitation: To treat someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work. In this case, exploitation is referring to benefiting off of the work that the victims do or money (like in forced prostitution) that the victims make.

Debt Bondage: When people give themselves or is forced into slavery as a way to pay back a debt owed. Debt bondage is one of the few categories associated with human trafficking. This can also be tied in with forced labor.

Trafficking: Dealing or trading something illegally. In this case, trafficking is referring to trading and selling off humans for work and prostitution purposes.

Coerce: To persuade an unwilling person to do something by using force or by threats. In this case, coercing involves forcing or persuading an unwilling victim into trafficking.

Syndicates: A group or organization combined to promote some kind of common interest. In this case, syndicates refers to the traffickers that are involved with human trafficking.

Forced Criminality: When victims of trafficking are forced to commit crimes by their traffickers and can be severely punished/beaten if they do not comply. This refers to the fact that victims, especially seen throughout other countries, are forced to perform crimes for their traffickers.

Smuggling: To move something/someone illegally into or out of a country. This refers to a subject that is often mixed up with trafficking. As smuggling is the illegal transport of something or someone, trafficking is the illegal exploitation of something of something or someone.

What are the different categories of human trafficking?

The Blue Campaign, a unified voice of the United States Department of Homeland Security that makes efforts to protect the basic rights of freedom, defines human trafficking as “The modern day slavery. It is the exploitation of a person through force, fraud, or coercion.” Many often mix up human smuggling and human trafficking or categorize them as the same, but actually, human smuggling is the illegal transport of someone across a border while human trafficking is the illegal exploitation of a person. The FBI, or Federal Bureau of Investigations, explains, “Human trafficking, believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, is a form of human slavery which must be addressed at the interagency level. Human trafficking includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking.” Forced labor is when a victim is coerced, forced, or deceived into into working for little to no pay and many everyday products are made by victims. A majority of victims are found in factories, farms, construction sites, and many similar places. Sex trafficking, otherwise known as forced or underage prostitution, is defined as the illegal exploitation of one’s body in which a victim is threatened, beat, manipulated, or promised love in exchange of performing in prostitution, and anyone who is under the age of 18 is automatically categorized as a victim of sex trafficking. Lastly, domestic servitude, in which victims are forced to work in homes as domestic help, nannies, or maids, are commonly seen as the most difficult victims to spot because they are hidden in plain sight. Many of the traffickers take the victim’s passport and identification paper in order to limit their freedom and ability to travel away. Victims of domestic servitude are commonly seen as the most difficult victims to spot because they are hidden in plain sight.

How are the victims treated and what is the effect on them?

Trafficking is not a short-term affliction. It affects the victim's, family’s, and community’s entire lives. Traffickers can even use their victims for forced criminality. For example, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin explains in their article, “International Efforts By Police Leadership To Combat Human Trafficking”, that, “Criminal groups in Mexico coerced children and migrants to work as assassins and to produce, transport, and sell drugs; adult Romanians were accused of forcing children to commit burglaries, and the victims reportedly were beaten for failing to deliver the daily quota of stolen goods; and in Africa, trafficked children have been forced to become soldiers.” Also, the FBI stated that, “Here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.” When placed back into society, victims often feel out of place and unable to cope with their trauma. Margeaux Gray, a former victim of human trafficking explains that, “Trafficking is not a short-term affliction—it affects a survivor's whole life, families and even entire communities. That failure has negatively affected my life (and the lives of countless others) time and again, while I was repeatedly trafficked as a young child, and in the years since becoming physically free from trauma.” Not getting the psychological help that victims need can affect how they perceive the world and the people around them and also how they deal with their trauma and later difficult situations that they are put through. Health services that are provided to the victims can help them understand and recognize how to respond to all trauma and deal with their psychological and emotional issues.

What category of people are victims of human trafficking?

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin explains in their article, “International Efforts By Police Leadership To Combat Human Trafficking”, that, “Human trafficking serves as an opportunistic crime targeting all types of people, with no age, gender, culture, or socioeconomic group immune. One of the most common assumptions about trafficking victims is that they are vulnerable because they come from poor, isolated communities. Many do; victims from a variety of backgrounds reported that their predicaments began with aspirations for a better life and a lack of options to fulfill them.” As there is no discrimination as to whom a victim is, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin also states that, “Children are the most vulnerable demographic group, particularly within disadvantaged countries plagued with poverty, political instability, interpersonal violence, and widespread corruption.” Another study shown in the article, “Study: Texas has about 313K human trafficking victims”, by ABC News reported that, “Among the findings are that children and young adults who are homeless or in the foster care system have the highest risk of becoming involved in sex trafficking.” As traffickers might not pay attention as much to race, gender, or socioeconomics they do look at vulnerability, meaning children and younger adults who are less fortunate than others are more prone to becoming a victim to human trafficking. There are also a variety of ways that people fall victim to human trafficking. Amy Klobuchar wrote in her article, “Human trafficking is the third-biggest criminal enterprise in the world”, that, “Desperate people might go into debt to smugglers who place them in jobs. Their only option is to work off that debt on terms dictated by their employer. They might be sold by their parents and have no money to get back home. Or they might be tricked into prostitution and find themselves living in the shadows of an illicit enterprise.” The victims are vulnerable, money wise and community wise, and traffickers use that to their benefit to make the victims think that the traffickers will help with their problems.

How big is the human trafficking issue?

Human trafficking is both argued to be the 3rd biggest enterprise system in the world. Academic professionals even perceive human trafficking as one of the fastest growing global crimes of the 21st century. Human trafficking is highly profitable to those in charge of the trafficking. It is also a major violation of human rights and it happens all over the world. It is not specific to only one region. Jon Greenberg in the article, “YES, HUMAN TRAFFICKING RANKS NO. 3 IN WORLD CRIME,” stated that,“The International Labor Organization, an arm of the United Nations, estimated the profits associated with human trafficking reached about $150 billion in 2012. Of that, about $100 billion was tied to sexual exploitation.” Also, Traffickers exploit more than 2 million children annually for sex trafficking. Greenberg also states in the article that, Human trafficking falls ⅓ behind drug trafficking, which in estimate is biggest crime as of right now, making human trafficking all the much bigger seeing as it is 3rd behind drug trafficking. There are also statewide statistics. In the article,“Study: Texas has about 313K human trafficking victims”, by ABC News, it is explained that, “About 313,000 people in Texas have been forced into prostitution or labor. About 234,000 of them work in involuntary servitude or debt bondage and about 79,000 are children or younger adult who are forced or coerced into prostitution.” The Texas authorities recognize that being one of the larges states, human trafficking and trafficking in general is very common throughout the state.Throughout different states, human trafficking statistics vary due to resources, access to getting victims, and different borders in each state.

How can victims be helped/found?

According to the Blue Campaign, every year, many cases of human trafficking are reported, but many go unnoticed, mostly because human trafficking is a hidden crime. Many victims are too afraid to step forward any many people don’t know the signs of a victim. More investigations and victim programs are some ways that victims are being found. The FBI stated in their article, “Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude," that. “Over the past decade, the FBI’s human trafficking investigations have been responsible for the arrest of more than 2,000 traffickers and the recovery of numerous victims.” Also, they explained that, “FBI human trafficking investigations are conducted by agents within the human trafficking program and members of our federal human trafficking task forces, and every one of our 56 field offices has worked investigations pertaining to human trafficking. Often, investigations involving human trafficking come to the attention of field offices and task forces through citizen complaints; the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline; a referral from a law enforcement agency; a referral from non-government organizations (NGOs); Proactive victim recovery operations; and Outreach to state government and community entities.” Lastly, the FBI states that, “The TVPA, passed to create the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking, provided a three-pronged approach to addressing trafficking. In addition to the protections offered through immigration relief for foreign national victims of human trafficking, it also focuses on prevention through public awareness programs, both domestically and abroad, and prosecution through new federal criminal statutes.” As for actual victims, some believe that the public services should be responsible for helping victims. Margeaux Gray, who was a former victim of human trafficking, argues that, “Most other trafficking survivors do not receive even a fraction of the critical support and care I've received, but looking at trafficking through a public health lens could change that.” She also explains that, “Looking at trafficking through a public health lens could also help health practitioners and policy makers recognize the critical need to invest in long-term, trauma-informed care for survivors.”

In the video, the horrors of human trafficking, more specifically sex trafficking, is shown through the stories of victims and police who are finding victims.

Gray, Margeaux. "Human trafficking is a public health problem'" CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Greenberg, Jon. "YES, HUMAN TRAFFICKING RANKS NO. 3 IN WORLD CRIME."Tampa Bay Times, Jul 26 2016, ProQuest Newsstand. 28 January, 2017.

“Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude." FBI. FBI, 03 May 2016. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

"International Efforts By Police Leadership To Combat Human Trafficking." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (2016): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

"Study: Texas has about 313K Human Trafficking Victims." ABC News. ABC News Network, 25 Jan. 2017. Web. 26 Jan. 2017.

"Tools That Teach: What is Human Trafficking?" Blue Campaign; Homeland Security. Web. 30 January, 2017.


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