While unpacking these myths completely is difficult to do concisely, we’ll walk through them to help you gain an understanding of the truth sometimes captured within these myths. At the same time, be vigilant and take note of all suspicious activity around you, and always report this to your local law enforcement. Often, we have a very specific image of a person who’s been trafficked in our minds because of a documentary, film, or news story we’ve seen. (, under 18 years old and performing commercial sex acts, unpaid or paid very little for employment, in large debt to employer and is unable to pay it off. These populations include men, women, families, or children as young as five years old who harvest crops and raise animals in fields or work in packing plants, nurseries, orchards, and kitchens. Victims are very rarely left alone and are threatened with violence. Although in the U.S. human trafficking is outlawed under The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 75% to 80% of trafficking victims in America are involved in the sex trade. MYTH: All trafficked people are in other countries – mostly in Asia and Africa. David Brown, a TIP Hero from 2008, talks about the refugee highway. The Polaris Project has a detailed list with further explanations. For a broader knowledge of where human trafficking happens, read It Happens Everywhere. Irregular migrants are some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They begin to believe that their bodies are all their worth. Oftentimes a human trafficking case will be noticed by someone who is most likely to come in contact with a victim – a police officer, medical professional, parent, teacher, employees at a hair or nail salon, etc. Additionally, individuals who are hard of hearing or sight are often targeted by traffickers because of their diminished ability to report their situation to police or someone who may be able to help them. A person who’s been trafficked likely lived a life with compounding vulnerabilities like: trauma, abuse, neglect, disability, violence, family breakdown, homelessness, poverty, or a combination of many factors. Additionally, their trafficker likely has justified their actions in a number of ways to convince a victim that their experience is normal and not a crime. Human trafficking is the end result of years – sometimes generations – of vulnerabilities that have been unaddressed, under-resourced, or unnoticed. According to the hotline, about 80% of trafficking cases nationally involve sex trafficking, and 90% of the victims are female. Familiarizing yourself with human trafficking traits and commonalities is important in helping the general public know what to look for. If you missed the first two posts in this series, make sure to go back and read part one, Uncovering Myths and Intricacies and part two, Human Trafficking Happens Everywhere. Also, in the United States, the TVPA has special protections for minors. They are more likely to face legal restrictions on work and travel related to their visas. Outside of the actual act of forcing someone to stay in such situations, these factors greatly affect a person’s propensity to report a crime or try to leave.”  TIP Report, 2016. However, victims are forced into organized begging rings because it is thought that they gain more sympathy (and therefore profit) by the traffickers. While there isn’t one face of a human trafficking victim, certain populations are more vulnerable, including runaway and homeless youth, children and youth in foster care, individuals fleeing violence or natural disasters, individuals with a disability, and those who have suffered other types of abuse or exploitation in their lifetimes. What we know about trafficking survivors is that, in most cases, they have struggled with issues such as poverty, low self-esteem, and homelessness at some point in their life. The most targeted populations for trafficking are homeless and runaway youths. Recognizing the warning signs a patient is a victim of trafficking is crucial in the ED and other healthcare settings. There are several reasons why people are targeted for human trafficking. Who is most vulnerable to human trafficking? Minors in the child welfare system are significantly more likely to be trafficked than their peers who have had no contact with the child welfare system. It doesn’t begin the moment the victim was first exploited. Some survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. may be eligible for a type of humanitarian relief called a “T visa” if they meet certain requirements. The most vulnerable children. It is estimated that there are over 40 million global victims and hundreds of thousands in the United States.. Human Trafficking, also known as Modern Day Slavery, is quite simply the exploitation of vulnerability. While anyone can be a victim, we know that kids who are homeless or … The Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) was launched at the University of Baltimore School of Law in August 2015. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Domestic Violence, COVID-19 & Human Trafficking, 5 Ways Guidance Counselors Are Uniquely Positioned, Why You Are Uniquely Positioned To Help End Human Trafficking, Your Response This World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, In 2013, 60 percent of children rescued in a nationwide raid led by the FBI in more than 70 cities were from foster care or group homes (, At least one in three homeless youth engage in “, Fifty-six percent of women in prostitution were once runaway youth. When victims’ bodies are regularly used as objects, their self-worth is shattered. Reasons People Become Vulnerable to Trafficking. Physical and social factors make individuals with disabilities more vulnerable to human trafficking. It’s important that you’re educated on what to look for so that you can speak up and be a voice for victims of this crime who often can’t speak up for themselves. Traffickers target the most vulnerable because traffickers use their insecurities to control them. The Human Trafficking Prevention Project. In the vicious human trafficking world, especially in commercial sex trafficking, the younger the victim, the more they earn for their trafficker. Las Vegas: Homeless youth most vulnerable to sex trafficking. The most vulnerable children The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is another term for what we often call child sex trafficking. Undocumented workers are especially vulnerable because they are less likely to report being the victim of a crime. Funding: This website is supported by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Let us know in the comments what questions you have about human trafficking. Traffickers exploit vulnerabilities that many people already face by using stories of a better life – whether that means a feeling of belonging, a better income, or a chance for new opportunities. Vulnerability. The urgency of their situation might lead them to make dangerous migration decisions. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Generally, when inequality exists and where certain people lack access to social protection and justice, human traffickers are able to thrive. Farmworkers holding H-2A temporary work visas are prohibited from working for an employer other than the one who requested their visa, leaving the worker vulnerable to abuse by an employer, crew leader, or recruitment agency.” (Human Trafficking Resource Center). Education is a central piece to the identification of victims and in turn the ability of law enforcement to be able to rescue them. Many people often wonder why someone caught in these horrible conditions doesn’t do something to escape or report their abuse. Additionally, victims often have psychological trauma from their abuse, which can often cause them to bond to their abuser in irrational ways. Human smuggling, although not the same as human trafficking, often preys upon vulnerable people who then arrive on the European continent poor, and often in debt. TRUTH: Recruitment is a process that usually takes place over a long period of time and in a much less obvious manner. Who is vulnerable to human trafficking? TRUTH: It can happen anywhere, any time of day or night. But these images don’t provide a clear understanding of who is actually falling prey to human traffickers. Seasonal work in the hospitality industry may also be at risk for exploitation. MYTH: Most human trafficking involves females under the age of 18. Human trafficking affects everyone – women, men, children, youth, those foreign to a nation and a country’s own citizens. Runaway and homeless youth are vulnerable to trafficking. MYTH: Those who are trafficked in the U.S. are not American citizens. It often includes subtle brainwashing and grooming tactics. Victims of labor trafficking have been found among U.S. migrant and seasonal farmworkers, restaurant workers, and as domestic servants. The most targeted populations for trafficking are homeless and runaway youths. O rgan trafficking, a lucrative global illicit trade, is often a lesser discussed form of human trafficking among anti-human trafficking stakeholders due to its intricate and often stealth nature. While there isn’t one face of a human trafficking victim, certain populations are more vulnerable, including runaway and homeless youth, children and youth in foster care, individuals fleeing violence or natural disasters, individuals with a disability, and those who have suffered other types of abuse or exploitation in their lifetimes. “These victims often face threats workers with arrest and deportation, even workers who have the legal right to work in the United States. How to fight human trafficking. There are many more reasons why someone might not be able to break the invisible chains holding them in their current state. It feeds on the world’s most vulnerable women and children and is driven by the demand in affluent countries. A study in Chicago found that 56 percent of prostituted women were initially runaway youth and similar numbers have been identified for male populations. There are many examples in articles and books that you will find as you continue researching and learning about this topic. There are many reasons why someone who is being trafficked might not be able to leave. The realities of the exploitation suffered and the complications around each situation are often misunderstood. not in control of their personal identification (passport, driver’s license, ID). They are also more likely to have a language barrier, and they’re more likely to be unfamiliar with the area where they live including the geographic layout, resources available, and legal protections regarding labor. Truth: Human trafficking knows no geographical bounds. Homeless and runaway youth are another common target for traffickers. The journey a victim takes after the point of rescue is incredibly important to their future health and well-being. The Texas Bar Foundation provided funding for website design. TRUTH: Human trafficking appears in many forms. MYTH: Recruiting human trafficking victims happens quickly – like strangers trying to lure children away. There are a number of factors which make people vulnerable to abuses of all kinds, particularly human trafficking. Individuals with a history of trauma or abuse are less resilient and more susceptible to human trafficking. In almost every case, there’s far more to the story than meets the eye. Human trafficking occurs all around the world, and in each and every one of the 50 United States. Most victims of human trafficking will not self-identify as such because they’re unaware of what it means. It happens all over the world, including the United States. “It also brings the underside of the criminal world, and that is those that are using a game, an entertaining event, to increase their sales of our most vulnerable," Moody said of human trafficking. While these claims may appear to be legitimate at first, unfortunately for many men, women, and children, they’re targeted as easy prey for exploitation. TRUTH: Human trafficking victims in the U.S. are foreign as well as domestic. What Makes People Vulnerable to Becoming Trafficked? Foreign Nationals are at an increased risk because of the legal and travel restrictions they face. Human trafficking takes place in every country, from the richest to the poorest. Some of us already have shit going on in our lives that might put us at risk of being targeted. According to the United Nations, over 130 countries are origin, transit or destination countries for human trafficking. Social workers who provide services to these victims indicate that feelings of isolation and abandonment are often reported but that the lack of a support network increases the vulnerability to trafficking. Human trafficking Human trafficking has received increasing global attention over the past decade. MYTH: There must be evidence of physical restraint in all human trafficking situations. For more useful information go to TexasCourtHelp, a website of the Texas Office of Court Administration's website. Human trafficking occurs all over the world, not just in specific regions based on socioeconomic development. Learn the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis >>. © 2020 Engage Together® All rights reserved. Severe retaliation or attacks on their families hold many in fear of disobeying their traffickers. © 2001–2021. The most obvious is youth. “The traffickers look for those who are most vulnerable, including the homeless and runaways,” she said. Hearing their voices explain what they suffered through gives context to what this crime can be. Victims are often taught to distrust others – particularly law enforcement, this is especially true if they are in a country illegally and could be deported if discovered. A great way to gain an understanding of what human trafficking really looks like and to overturn its common myths and misunderstandings is to read personal stories and testimonies of victim’s experiences. TexasLawHelp.org All Rights Reserved. The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was born out of a renewed commitment by world leaders in the battle against human trafficking to end this crime, one of the most egregious violations of human rights in the world today. People escaping from war and persecution are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking. “It can happen to anyone,” and “it’s happening in your backyard,” are common in the anti-human trafficking field. Though cultural norms and values differ worldwide, the need to be loved and the desire to provide for one’s family are common to us all. This may include … This is why training for these individuals is so important. Foreign nationals may also be victims of sex trafficking. Almost every aspect of their life is controlled — where they live, what they eat, where they go, what they look like, and who they are allowed to talk to.”. These families fall target to traffickers who promise families that they will provide work or education to their loved ones with a disability. For more detailed descriptions of these warning signs and more take a look at the full list from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, as well as these other resources: US Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet, US Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign. Traffickers lure victims in a variety of ways. They are always individually based and don’t seem to suggest that trafficking is a system that relies on power structures of gender, race, and class. Be aware that not all circumstances that first appear to be human trafficking necessarily are. Child sex trafficking is a cycle of abuse. For a deep dive on this topic, take a look at Uncovering Myths & Intricacies. 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