Human Trafficking Defined
The United States Federal law defines human trafficking as the recruiting, harboring, transporting, provisioning or obtaining of persons, by means of force, fraud or coercion, for purposes of labor or services or the removal of organs. If the victim is under eighteen years of age, the crime is automatically considered a severe form of human trafficking.
Trafficking has been identified as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable illegal industry worldwide.
Human Trafficking can take a variety of forms, including:
- Forced/Bonded labor is when victims are forced to work against their own will, under the threat of violence, debt bondage, or other form of punishment. Their freedom is restricted and a degree of ownership is exerted. Often there is a debt that can never be repaid. Forms of forced labor can include domestic servitude, agricultural labor, sweatshop factory work, janitorial, food service and other service industry labor, and begging.
- Sex Trafficking often targets the vulnerable (children, women, those in poverty, refugees, runaways, addicts, etc.). Traffickers offer promises of romance, marriage, employment, wealth, education, and/or “a better life,” or obtain their victims through violence and abduction. Traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry which may include prostitution, dancing in strip clubs, performing in pornographic films, and other forms of involuntary servitude.
- Child Exploitation - The commercial sexual exploitation of children can include forcing a child into prostitution, other forms of sexual activity or child pornography. Child exploitation can also include forced labor or services, slavery, the removal of organs, illicit international adoption, trafficking for marriage, recruitment as child soldiers, for use in begging, or for recruitment for cults.
- Organ Harvesting – refers to the removal, preservation and use of human organs and tissue for surgical transplants. In most countries, organ selling is illegal, but given the potential for profit on organs and other body parts, criminals have taken to removing organs through deception or force. Unwitting “donors” are drugged or even killed in order for organ traffickers to obtain the desired body part and sell it.
- Gangs and Human Trafficking