Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Traffickers target people who are vulnerable in some way, promising them a better life, but then forcing them to live and work in unfair, inhumane or abusive conditions. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion in order to recruit, trap and exploit their victims for financial gain.
Traffickers find their victims in all strata of society and in all corners of the world. Trafficked persons are not necessarily from other countries; some victims of trafficking are U.S. citizens. Some victims of trafficking are smuggled across borders illegally, while other victims travel legally, only to find they have been deceived about their destination, a job opportunity, or other circumstances.
Upon arrival at their destination, victims are often told that they are in deep financial debt to their traffickers. This deception is a tactic used by traffickers to keep victims in their oppressive situations.
Despite how they come to the United States and what they may be forced to do, trafficked persons are victims, not criminals. Victims of trafficking deserve all the same dignity, fairness, compassion, and respect for their human rights that every person deserves.
What trafficked persons are forced to do:
- Forced labor
- Domestic work
- Restaurant work
- Factory work
- Agricultural work
- Garment making
- Servile marriage
- Forced prostitution
- Criminal activities
- Evidence of being controlled
- Inability to move or leave job
- Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
- Fear or depression
- Lack of freedom to speak on behalf of self
- Passport or other identification being held by employer
- People locked inside a residence or workplace
- Threats to employee or employee’s family
- A “debt” owed by employee to employer
- Employees in business 24 hours a day