With the goal of eradicating violence in all of its forms and dimensions in the communities we serve, CHI focuses on specific types of violence for purposes of education and awareness throughout the year. An ongoing focus and commitment for CHI is human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that involves the illegal exchange of people for purposes of exploitation or commercial profit. Traffickers use force, fraud or coercion against their victims to entrap them into situations of labor or sexual exploitation. While other forms of trafficking exist, labor and sex trafficking are the most prevalent, generating billions of dollars per year in profit for traffickers.
WHERE does human trafficking occur? Human trafficking occurs world-wide, including in the United States…and likely in your own community. States with major highway systems tend to have more reported cases, but no state is immune. In fact, calls to the national reporting hotline (National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Polaris’ BeFree texting hotline) increased by 26% in year 2014.
WHO are the victims? Anyone can be a victim, but traffickers prey on vulnerable people. This includes people with psychological, emotional, economic or social vulnerabilities, as well as those who are victims of natural disasters and political unrest. Victims can be lured with promises of employment, education, stability, or even with the deceptive promise of a loving relationship. Traffickers may also forgo luring in favor of kidnapping or force.
WHO are the perpetrators? Perpetrators include a wide variety of people. Traffickers can be gangs or pimps, but they can also be family members. Employers (e.g., factory owners, farm labor contractors, etc.) as well as those employing domestic servants, can also be traffickers. Unfortunately, the profitability of this crime invites a willingness to exploit others.
WHEN does human trafficking occur? It occurs anytime and all the time. Because victims are threatened, beaten and brutalized, they are often too afraid, intimidated and confused to seek help. This makes the trafficker’s job all the easier as transactions can occur almost anywhere and at almost any time. Major sporting events and conferences present a prime opportunity for traffickers and prevalence of the crime increases during such occasions.
Health care providers are in a unique position to identify victims and to help them with care and services. Here are some resources:
First passed in 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was reauthorized as part of the Violence Against Women Act in March of 2013 in the 113th Congress. The legislation addresses the issue of human trafficking through the “three P’s” – the internationally recognized framework to combat human trafficking:
In 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the addition of a fourth P – Partnerships, which is now recognized as a fundamental piece of the overall paradigm
In September 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order to strengthen protections against trafficking in persons involved in federal contracting. Subsequently, Congress passed the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013.
The 114th Congress has become increasingly involved in the issue of human trafficking legislation, with the House passing an unprecedented 12 bills at the end of January, 2015. In February, 2016, President Obama signed International Megan’s Law (H.R. 515), expanding protections for victims of child sex tourism. Annually, President Obama declares January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
To see a complete history of current laws related to human trafficking, visit Polaris’ Current Federal Laws webpage.
Government Resources and Campaigns:
Additional organizations helping to stop human trafficking