What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. A $32 billion annual industry, modern day 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 commercial 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. Human trafficking is a hidden crime, as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
Trafficking victims are often recruited by an acquaintance, and sometimes by a close friend or family member. Traffickers may come from the same poor social and economic background as their victims, or appear to be successful business people able to offer their victims better opportunities. Traffickers try to appear trustworthy. They may be school friends or relatives. Sometimes even parents are involved in trafficking their children (Familia Trafficking).