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Human Trafficking

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Helping People Experiencing A Modern-Day Form of Slavery 

Human Trafficking is considered a modern-day form of slavery. 

There are two types of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. In both types, traffickers use tactics of force, fraud or coercion to control victims.  Some of the tactics traffickers use include violence, sexual violence, threats, blackmail, false promises, deception, manipulation, debt bondage, and more to keep vulnerable individuals in horrendous situations. Recognizing trafficking victims can be hard because it’s not always how it’s depicted in the movies. Many victims are hidden in plain sight. They are still living in their own home, attending school, and/or participating in activities in their community.  Victims aren’t usually tied up physically, but often held hostage psychologically.  

Sex Trafficking 

Sex Trafficking occurs when a person (trafficker) forces another person (victim) into commercial sex for financial gain. 

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In the United States, minors under 18 years of age are considered to be a victim of sex trafficking regardless of the use of force, fraud or coercion.  Traffickers target victims, often building trust, before using violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry. Sometimes traffickers are parents, guardians, friends, romantic partners, or other close personal contacts. With sex trafficking, it’s not uncommon for a person to be groomed into it. Grooming is a process that traffickers use to gain trust with their victim. They convince their victim that it’s normal and necessary to sell sex for money. They also mask the abuse by calling it love. They make their victims feel safe and loved at times, while convincing them to participate in sex trafficking. 

Labor Trafficking 

Labor trafficking occurs when a trafficker forces a victim to perform labor or services using force, fraud or coercion. 

This includes situations of debt bondage, forced labor and involuntary child labor.  When we say debt bondage, that means the trafficker is saying the person must provide the free labor to repay some debt or obligation they claim the victim owes. Labor trafficking exists in many industries, including agriculture, hospitality, construction, domestic work in homes, and others. Workers can be subjected to terrible conditions with little or no benefits.  Labor traffickers commonly make false promises, such as high pay, education opportunities, great benefits and more to lure victims into jobs.  Using physical and psychological abuse, employers make victims believe the only choice is to continue working for that employer.  

How to Know if You Need Help 

It’s not always easy to recognize when you’re in a human trafficking situation. Below are just some of the things that could indicate you need help and should call us. If you’re unsure and just want to talk through your situation, it’s free and confidential to talk to us.  

Labor Trafficking 

  • You’re being forced to work without pay 
  • Your boss/employer threatens you with deportation or other harm so that you continue working for low or no wages 
  • Your boss/employer makes you work in dangerous situations without proper safety gear, training, breaks, or other precautions 
  • Your boss/employer provides your housing but its dangerous, overcrowded, or lacks suitable living conditions 
  • Your boss/employer controls your passport or other identity documents 
  • Your boss/employer controls who you see and talk to 
  • Your boss/employer forces you to continue at the job even though you want to leave 
  • Your boss/employer or a recruiter claims you owe them, so you have to work off your “debt”

Sex Trafficking 

  • Someone (parent, guardian, romantic partner, “sponsor”) pressures you into having sex for money 
  • Someone won’t allow you to see or speak with anyone alone 
  • Someone monitors what you do, where you go, and who you talk to 
  • Someone controls your access to money and your spending 
  • You want to stop but you feel scared or unable to leave 
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How to Get Involved in the Fight Against Human Trafficking 

If you want to help in the fight against human trafficking, the best way is to get involved with your local program. At Family Crisis Centers, our mission is to end violence and our programs are designed to help people recover from crimes like human trafficking. There are a few ways you can help us as we work to end violence:  

It’s also important to stay educated about human trafficking. Visit our Resources section to find helpful articles to increase your awareness and share that information with others.