What Is Human Trafficking?

Definition of Human Trafficking 

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation.

Types of Human Trafficking 

  • Forced labor or involuntary servitude is a severe form of labor exploitation in which employers exploit workers through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
  • Bonded labor or debt bondage is a form of coercion in which an employer uses a bond or debt to keep a person in a labor situation.
  • Involuntary domestic servitude is a form of forced labor that takes place in an informal workplace such as the employer’s home.
  • Forced child labor is any type of forced labor involving a child, including involuntary servitude or debt bondage.
  • Sex trafficking occurs when an adult is forced, deceived, or coerced into participating in commercial sexual acts, or forced into prostitution.
  • Child sex trafficking occurs when a child is forced, deceived, or coerced into participating in commercial sexual acts, or forced into prostitution. Under California law, any person under the age of 18 that participates in commercial sexual acts or prostitution is considered a victim of human trafficking, whether or not force, fraud, or coercion can be determined.

Indicators of a Potential Trafficking 

  • Evidence of being controlled or the inability to move or leave a job: locks and buzzers inside or outside, barbed wire or fences, opaque or barred windows, signs of people living onsite
  • Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
  • Fear, depression, appearance of being tired or overworked
  • Not speaking on own behalf and/or non-English speaking
  • No passport or other forms of identification or documentation

Statistics *(Cited from http://www.polarisproject.org)

  • Some estimates put the number of people living in slavery worldwide at 27 million, although the actual number is difficult to estimate due to under-reporting, and the hidden nature of trafficking.
  • *In 2012, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) received 20,652 calls, more than any previous year, for an average of 10 potential human trafficking cases every day in 2012.
  • *California was the top state in calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in 2011.
  • *The National Human Trafficking Resource Center reported in 2011 that 67% of cases identified through their hotline were sex trafficking and almost 23% were labor trafficking. Another 30% were identified as a form of labor exploitation, with the possible vulnerability of being labor trafficking.
  • *In 2012, the top reported types of trafficking from NHTRC calls were pimp controlled trafficking, commercial front brothel, escort/delivery service, domestic work, sales crews, and agriculture/farming.

Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, 2003, and 2005 prosecutes traffickers, protects victims, and prevents trafficking. The Act makes trafficking a federal crime, and victims eligible for federally-funded benefits. The 2008 TVPRA provides assistance for child victims and enhances the ability to criminally punish traffickers.  

If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-3737-888