Human Trafficking Statistics in the US
Some things go on in our world that we would like to shy away from because they are too ugly to contemplate and human trafficking is one of them. Despite the average person's ignorance of the subject, human trafficking is a serious problem in the United States, and thankfully awareness of the issue is growing along with ample measures to resolve it. All fifty states and all but one territory in the U.S. have enacted anti-trafficking laws.
What is Human Trafficking?
As defined by The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), human trafficking for sex or labor is defined as: "sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person inducedto perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age" or "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."
Joint task forces involving the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Immigration, and Customs Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) are tasked with investigations into human trafficking.
Sadly, children comprise a large number of the victims of human trafficking for both sex and labor. In response, in 2003, the FBI initiated the Innocence Lost National Initiative which resulted in the creation of 69 different Child Exploitation Task Forces. These task forces are designed to address the problem of children in human trafficking, and by June 2013, they located and saved more than 2,700 children. These successes resulted in the conviction of another 1,300 perpetrators for sex trafficking of minors.
The Innocence Lost National Initiative resulted in another 1,769 arrests in 2012 and 363 investigated cases which produced 187 indictments and 302 convictions.
Trafficking of Migrants and Illegal Aliens
Often poor migrants and illegal aliens are victims of human traffickers who promise sweet freedom in the U.S.; victims find themselves enslaved instead of enjoying the fruits of a new life in America.
31% of migrant workers report having been a victim of at least one human trafficking incident during their time here in the U.S. Those working in the cleaning or janitorial fields are at the highest risk, followed by construction and then landscaping.
Gender-Based Human Trafficking
Resources and Help for Victims
If you or someone you know is a victim or a survivor of human trafficking, there are many government resources available to help them cope and build new lives.
- Department of Justice - https://www.ojjdp.gov/programs/human-trafficking-services.html
- National Human Trafficking Hotline - https://humantraffickinghotline.org/
- Office for Victims of Crime - https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/humantrafficking/providers.html
- Department of Health and Human Services Resource Guide for Victims - https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/orr/traffickingservices_0.pdf
- Safe Horizon - https://www.safehorizon.org/get-help/human-trafficking/