FAQs

What is Human Trafficking?

The California Legislature defined human trafficking as “all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage.” As codified in the California Penal Code, anyone who “deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent . . . to obtain forced labor or services” is guilty of human trafficking. Depriving or violating a person’s liberty includes “substantial and sustained restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.” Forced labor or services include “labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.” The U.S. Government defines human trafficking as: * Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age. * The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Where in the world does human trafficking happen?

Human trafficking happens everywhere including the U.S.

Who are the victims and who are perpetrators of human trafficking?

It’s important to know that anyone can become a victim of human trafficking. We’re all vulnerable to being forced, coerced or tricked into doing something against our will. The largest number of victims, however, are exploited because they find themselves in desperate situations caused by economic stress, political upheaval or abusive relationships. Victims can also come from very stable conditions. Perpetrators often begin as victims. Their damaged sense of self can sometimes motivate them to exploit other people. This is the vicious cycle of human trafficking. For other perpetrators, exploiting humans is simply motivated by financial gain.

What types of industries are involved with human trafficking?

Human trafficking is generally divided into two categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Adults, children and any gender or age can be exploited commercially for sex, labor pornography, exotic dancing, massage parlors, etc. Labor trafficking typically involves: manufacturing, agriculture, housekeeping, panhandling and even magazine crews. People can also be trapped into working for someone else due to long-term debt, child soldiering and child brides.

What are the major challenges faced in the battle against human trafficking?

The biggest challenge is the clandestine nature of the crime and the stigma tied to being exploited. Perpetrators are secretive in order to protect their business interests. Victims are forced to remain silent and, even when freed, often choose to remain silent about their exploitation. Other challenges include legislative issues: laws still catching up to the crime and a lack of knowledge: the public remains relatively ignorant about the reality of modern slavery.

What can I do to help fight human trafficking?

Educating yourself about human trafficking is the important first step. Next, find out how to avoid contributing to the demand for products produced by forced labor or for people forced into sex trafficking. Finally, become an advocate to end human trafficking.

What should I do if I suspect human trafficking?

The easiest thing to do is to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-3737-888, email: nhtrc@polarisproject.org or text BEFREE (233733)

What is the scope of human trafficking?

Human trafficking is very difficult to quantify. It is an underground crime and traffickers go to great lengths to keep their victims isolated so that the crime is not discovered. It’s safe to say there are millions of victims worldwide. Most estimates say there are more than 20 million victims worldwide. In the U.S., there at least tens of thousands of victims. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that more than 100,000 children are exploited in the commercial sex industry each year.

What happens to the trafficker when a victim is rescued?

It depends. The trafficker can be prosecuted under federal or state anti-human trafficking statute, both of which treat human trafficking as a felony. Sometimes they are prosecuted under other related charges in addition to or instead of human trafficking. In some cases, the trafficker cannot be identified or located even though the victims are identified and provided services.

What happens to the Buyers?

The buyers/users/perpetrators of exploitation are sometimes arrested on charges of procuring, soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or related charges if they are buying sex. National research demonstrates that individuals accused of providing commercial sexual activity are arrested at disproportionately higher rates than buyers. Promoting exploitation of a minor is a Class C felony. Buying sex with a minor is a Class F felony. If the act of prostitution involves adults, the buyer, and any third-party (e.g. a “pimp” or “madam”) are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This charge usually results in a fine and/or unsupervised probation. If the subject spends any time in jail prior to the court date, they’re usually sentenced to time served. The human trafficking charge, however, makes it much more serious for the exploiter (e.g. a “pimp” or “madam”) as they would now be charged with the felony of human trafficking. There is not currently a felony charge for the buyers who engage in prostitution with a trafficked victim, unless that victim is a minor. Sex trafficking a person, regardless of whether the victim is a minor or an adult, is a felony.

If a minor agrees to engage in commercial sexual activity, why is it crime and why is s/he considered a victim?

The human trafficking statutes state that anyone under the age of 18 is legally a victim of sex trafficking. The law concludes that a minor is not capable of consenting to commercial sexual activity, so a minor engaged in commercial sexual activity is a victim of sex trafficking. Thus, the terms “child prostitute” or “juvenile prostitution” are inaccurate and should instead be replaced with “Commercial Sexually Exploited Child (CSEC)”

Is paying someone to help you cross a border human trafficking?

That is called, human smuggling. Someone voluntarily pays to be smuggled and, ostensibly, the person is free to go after the service is rendered. People that are smuggled across borders, however, are more vulnerable to being trafficked.

 

Not finding what you want? Reach out directly through our Contact Us page.