Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and is a federal crime since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. It is the sale, transport and profit from humans who are forced to work for others against their will.
As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include: children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of “labor services,” such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm workers forced to labor against their will.
Human trafficking is now the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Globally, it is the second largest criminal activity, following the drug trade. Human trafficking most commonly affects women and children. The total annual revenue for trafficking in persons is estimated to be between $5 and $9 billion. The Council of Europe states, "Human trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion." The United Nations estimates nearly 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked around the world. Human trafficking involves the illegal transport of persons to other countries with ulterior motives and secret agendas. Those being trafficked are scammed, forced and usually threatened into “work abroad” schemes. Once the women and children realize the situation they are in, it is often too late to escape.
Men, women and children can be sold to large plantations and forced to work long hours for very little pay.
Jobs like house cleaning are often available to trafficked persons because they can be paid very little under the table which is necessary when they are illegal aliens.
Construction sites often employ illegal immigrants because they can abuse their power and force them to work long hours for very small hourly pay.
A traffic victim may be forced to work as a maid or a nanny for a wealthy family. The language barrier as well no documentation makes it hard for the victim to escape.
Trafficking victims may be forced to work as strippers and club hostesses and also sell commercial sex on the side. They rarely get to the keep the money they earn thus leaving them poor and without a means of escape. Violence is also used as a threat to keep them working.
Many trafficked persons are forced to work in factories with very poor conditions with little to no pay.
Restaurants often employ illegal immigrants that are trafficked from other countries because they control their finances as well as their freedom.
Brothels are used as underground prostitution headquarters. Women and children who are trafficked are often sent to many different brothels as a tactic to “break” them and get them working for the “pimp” or owner. Women are forced to work as prostitutes and threatened with violence and sexual abuse.
Massage Parlors often moonlight as a brothel but actually sell commercial sex. Women who work at the parlors often live onsite and are held as prisoners by their bosses. Workers sell sex as well as massages, to keep a legitimate front.
Trafficked women and children can easily find themselves working in pornography. If they try to escape or resist the work, they are beaten, tortured and raped. Minors are often used in underground porn films. With no escape, the victims are too ashamed and broken to attempt escape or get help from their families.
Prostitution is a very common trade for traffic victims. Women and children are sold to multiple pimps and never see any of the money that they earn. Resisting work as a prostitute results in gang rape and assault. Traffickers give their victims debts that are impossible to pay off no matter how much they work.