When the words “human trafficking” are heard, most people have mental images of young girls and women being beaten and abused (Walker-Rodriguez and Hill, 2011). Often times people’s mental images automatically assume that these victims of human trafficking are from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa (Walker-Rodriguez and Hill, 2011). Unfortunately, human trafficking is a global issue (Jac-Kucharski) and happens everyday in the cities and towns surrounding us. Unfortunately, human trafficking isn’t as easy to recognize as other crimes and requires law enforcement officials and the public to understand what types of signals to look for in a victim.
It is estimated that each year from 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked (Force 4 Compassion, Polaris Project). The Polaris Project and Force 4 Compassion found that 161 countries are affected by trafficking. Globally, approximately 50% of those being trafficked are minors, and 80% of the total being trafficked are female (Force 4 Compassion, Polaris Project). 70% of the female victims are forced into sex laboring, leaving only 30% of those females to do labor (Polaris Project). The average age range for a child entering sex laboring is 12-14 (WEDU). One of the biggest reasons for trafficking is that it is hard to identify and traffickers can make a good amount of money per victim. According to the Polaris Project $13,000 is the average amount of money made by each laborer (victim) annually. Although, $13,000 is the average, each laborer can make around $60,000 annually (Polaris Project). Sadly, victims who are recruited into trafficking often don’t live much more than seven years due to the inhumane ways they are treated (WEDU).
Human trafficking has two categories, sex and labor. The US government currently defines human trafficking for labor purposes as “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” (Davis, Lurigio and Herman, 2013). The US government has a separate definition for sex trafficking which states “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age” (Davis et al. 2013). In simpler terms, human trafficking is modern day slavery (Walker-Rodriguez and Hill 2011) and illegal due to one person using another for a personal profit.
The argument of when human trafficking first originated is a controversial one. Some people believe that African American slavery was the first form of human trafficking while others feel that forced child labor in the 1700s was the first form. Which ever your belief, human trafficking is very similar to slavery (Logan, Walker and Hunt, 2009). The United States has a history of slavery, which was started in the 1600s. When the USA was big on slavery,...