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Not for Sale

A Look at Human Trafficking

By P.E. KylePublished 5 years ago 5 min read
To break the chains of modern day slavery, awareness is the best weapon we have. 

What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is the illegal recruitment, transportation, or receipt of persons for the use of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Victims of human trafficking are often threatened, coerced, abused, abducted, or deceived by someone with a position of power in order to keep them powerless and at bay. With nearly six thousand reported cases of human trafficking in the year 2015 and about 25 thousand cases reported since 2007, it is safe to say that human trafficking is a growing problem poisoning today’s society.

Human trafficking is often split into two main categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

Sex trafficking is the transportation, recruitment, or harboring of a person by force or coercion for the purpose of commercial sexual acts. Sex traffickers target victims and then use violence, threats, false promises, and other cruel forms of control to use victims for their own greedy benefit and profit. The demographic and details of sex trafficking varies from case to case. While 61.2% of cases involve an adult victim, a staggering 36.7% of sex trafficking cases reference a victim under the age of 18 years. Out of these statistics, all derived from the NHTRC, or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 90% are female victims and only 4.8% of victims are men. Women and young girls alike are all too often becoming victims of forced sexual labor. While men and transgender persons can experience the trauma of sex trafficking, the victims reported are predominantly female. Out of 2,492 sex trafficking cases involving pimp-controlled prostitution, over 40% of these cases referenced victims under the age of 18 and a sweeping 88.72% of those cases involved female victims. Furthermore, out of 902 commercial front-brothel, or establishments concealed as legitimate businesses to hide commercial sexual activity, cases 44.56% of victims were adults and a low 8.87% of reported victims were minors under the age of 18. In those cases, according to the NHTRC, 72.28% were female victims and 2.00% of victims were men. Sex trafficking is becoming a real problem in the United States. While it is true that many cases of human trafficking involve trafficked persons of foreign nations or victims who have immigrated, legally or otherwise, it is also true that the federal definition of human trafficking includes both victims who are foreign persons, persons who are immigrants, and those which are citizens of the United States of America. In fact, 36.6% of potential victims are citizens of the United States. No one state is safe from this danger. California, Texas, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Virginia, are the top six states, respectively, for human trafficking in the U.S. Even our very own Arizona has had 388 reported cases in the year 2015. This year alone there have been 116 cases reported already. Out of these reports, 82.76% are sex trafficking cases and 4.31% are sex and labor trafficking cases. This is just sex trafficking alone. Labor trafficking is a whole other story.

Labor trafficking, all though just as awful, is slightly different than sex trafficking. Labor trafficking is the receipt, harboring, or transportation of persons against their will to perform acts of labor. Just as sex traffickers use lies and coercion to lure victims into their trap, labor traffickers use violence, threats, and lies to keep victims cornered. Types of labor trafficking often include, but are not limited to, debt bondage, forced labor, and involuntary child labor. While it is popular to think that labor trafficking is restricted to dark, dangerous factory settings, it is true that labor trafficking has a diverse set of venues. In fact, only 0.2% of the reported labor trafficking cases reside in a factory or manufacturing setting. Many of the cases involve farming settings, traveling sales crews, peddling rings, bars and clubs, construction, landscaping services, restaurant and food services, beauty and health services, and many other diverse settings. All of these branches of forced labor and labor trafficking affect a variety of people. In the year 2015 alone, a total of 721 cases of labor trafficking were reported in the U.S. Out of these 721 cases, 333 of the victims were male and 411 of the victims were female. Regarding age, 581 of these reported victims were adults above the age of 18, while the other 114 victims were minors falling below the age of 18. Although these numbers may seem high, it is fortunate that the number of cases reported since 2013 has significantly lowered. Previously, there were 871 cases of labor trafficking reported in the year 2013 and 818 cases reported in the following year. Fortunately, a decrease in the number of cases could mean that the practice of labor trafficking is dying off. However, don’t be fooled by this fortunate outcome. Trafficking is still a major problem in the United States and has yet to be faced with a formidable solution.

Human trafficking is a poison polluting the waters of today’s society. Still, we can prevent human trafficking. As a community, Lake Havasu City can become aware. Our citizens can look out for one another. Warning signs for human trafficking include, but are not limited to, common work and living conditions, poor mental health or abnormal behavior, poor physical health, and lack of control. More often than not, a victim of trafficking is not free to leave or come to their home as he or she pleases, is unpaid or paid very little, works strange or unusual hours, must comply with strange restrictions at work, has a pimp or manager, was recruited to work through false covenants, or lives or works under high security. More red flags would be displayed in someone who is fearful, anxious, submissive or tense, displays unusual behavior after bringing up law enforcement, avoids contact with the eyes, lacks simple medical services, appears malnourished, has few personal possessions, is not in control of his or her own finances or official documents such as their ID or passport, or is not allowed to speak for themselves. While these warning signs can indicate a victim of human trafficking, it is best to not jump to conclusions without being absolutely sure.

Human trafficking is a problem. However, trafficking can become a thing of the past with the help and support of a community. If you’d like to learn more about human trafficking visit or call 1-888-373-7888 for more information. All of the statistics and information regarding human trafficking were derived from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.


About the Creator

P.E. Kyle

A single written word can tell a thousand stories. Buckle up friends; because I know a lot of words.

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