Human Trafficking 101
“Human Trafficking 101” is our introduction to Human Trafficking. This section will answer your basic questions like “What exactly is Human Trafficking?”, “Does it happen in my community?”, and “Who is affected by this crime?” Explore the links to find answers to your questions and learn more about the reality of Human Trafficking.
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Does it Happen in NC?
So often when talking to people about Human Trafficking, we hear things like “
Put links to stories that happened in NC. (You can get links from NCCAHT newsletters.)
PROTECT Act 2003 (US) (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today)
Mann Act of 1910 (US) (criminalized transportation of minors)
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has provided the following information on identifying victims of Human Trafficking:
Everyone can play a role in identifying victims of human trafficking. Health care and social service providers; law enforcement officials; and ethnic, community, and faith-based organizations may encounter victims through their work. An informed community member could also be a victim’s link to freedom. It is important to be vigilant and to “look beneath the surface” in situations that don’t seem quite right. One chance encounter could be a victim’s best hope for rescue.
General Clues to Help Identify Victims of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking may occur in the following situations:
- Prostitution and escort services;
- Pornography, stripping, or exotic dancing;
- Massage parlors;
- Sexual services publicized on the Internet or in newspapers;
- Agricultural or ranch work;
- Factory work or sweatshops;
- Businesses like hotels, nail salons or home-cleaning services;
- Domestic labor (cleaning, childcare, eldercare, etc. within a home);
- Restaurants, bars, or cantinas; or
- Begging, street peddling, or door-to-door sales.
Victims of human trafficking may exhibit any of the following:
- Evidence of being controlled either physically or psychologically;
- Inability to leave home or place of work;
- Inability to speak for oneself or share one’s own information;
- Information is provided by someone accompanying the individual;
- Loss of control of one’s own identification documents (ID or passport);
- Have few or no personal possessions;
- Owe a large debt that the individual is unable to pay off; or
- Loss of sense of time or space, not knowing where they are or what city or state they are in.
Psychological and Behavioral Clues
Being able to recognize the psychological and emotional consequences of human trafficking can also be helpful in identifying victims. Victims often:
- Develop general feelings of helplessness, shame, guilt, self-blame, and humiliation;
- Suffer from shock and denial, or display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression;
- Suffer from sleep or eating disorders;
- Become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol as a way to cope with or “escape” their situation, or as a method of control used by their traffickers;
- Become emotionally numb, detached, and disassociated from the physical and psychological trauma and display “flat affect”; or
- Experience “trauma bonding” with the trafficker, positively identifying with the trafficker and believing that, despite repeated abuse, the trafficker is a loving boyfriend, spouse, or parent.
Physical Effects of Human Trafficking
While not all victims of trafficking have physical indicators that aid identification, many victims suffer serious health issues, some of which may include the following:
- Signs of physical abuse, such as bruises, broken bones, burns, and scarring;
- Chronic back, visual, or hearing problems from work in agriculture, construction, or manufacturing;
- Skin or respiratory problems caused by exposure to agricultural or other chemicals;
- Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and hepatitis, which are spread in overcrowded, unsanitary environments with limited ventilation;
- Untreated chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease; or
- Reproductive health problems, including sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, pelvic pain and injuries from sexual assault, or forced abortions.
If you think you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1.888.373.7888. The NHTRC can help you identify and coordinate with local organizations that protect and serve trafficking victims.
You can learn more and download the PDF HERE.
The Medical Provider’s Guide to Identifying Victims HERE.
Human Trafficking Facts
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has provided the following information on what Human Trafficking is:
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. They are young children, teenagers, men and women. Trafficking in persons occurs throughout the world, including in the United States.
Many victims of human trafficking are forced to work in prostitution or the sex entertainment industry, but trafficking also occurs in forms of labor exploitation in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Victims of labor trafficking who have been identified in the United States include domestic servants, restaurant staff, hotel employees, factory workers and agricultural laborers.
Traffickers use various techniques to control their victims and keep them enslaved. Some traffickers hold their victims under lock and key. However, the more frequent practice is to use less obvious techniques including:
- Debt bondage – enormous financial obligations or undefined/increasing debt
- Isolation from the public – limiting contact with outsiders and making sure that any contact is monitored or superficial in nature
- Isolation from family members and members of their ethnic and religious community
- Confiscation of passports, visas and/or identification documents
- Use or threat of violence toward victims and/or family members
- The threat of shaming victims by exposing circumstances to family
- Telling victims they will be imprisoned or deported for immigration violations if they contact authorities
- Control of the victims’ money – e.g., holding their money for “safe-keeping”
You can read more HERE
You can download the Human Trafficking Fact Sheet as a PDF HERE