What Is Human Trafficking?…Modern Day Practice of Slavery

June 2, 2010

WHAT IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Via Polaris Project; For A World Without Slavery

Human trafficking is the modern day practice of slavery. Also known as trafficking in persons, human trafficking comprises the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, based on the recruitment, harboring, and transportation of people solely for the purpose of exploitation. Every year traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits at the expense of victimizing millions of people around the world.

Victims of human trafficking are people forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Labor trafficking is widespread in variety of situations that encompass domestic servitude and small-scale labor operations, to large-scale operations such as farms, sweatshops, and major multinational corporations. Sex trafficking is one of the most lucrative sectors regarding the illegal trade in people, and involves any form of sexual exploitation in prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children. Under international law, any sexually exploited child is considered a trafficking victim, even if no force or coercion is present.

An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the United States alone. The number of US citizens trafficked within the country is even higher. An estimated 200,000 American children are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year.

Despite this staggering reality, governments around the world are only beginning to address the problem. In most countries, traffickers operate with almost total impunity even in the most severe cases.  A lack of awareness in the public exacerbates inaction on the part of authorities. Take a stand and join us in leading the anti-trafficking movement forward to end the modern practice of slavery. Learn more and get involved by signing up to receive regular updates about human trafficking, Polaris Project, and ways to help fight modern-day slavery. We need your support to help end the exploitation of victims of human trafficking.

UNDERSTANDING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

MYTH #1: Human trafficking is the forced transportation of people across borders.

Reality: Forced transportation in the absence of slavery-like labor or commercial sexual exploitation is usually considered the crime of kidnapping. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery through labor or commercial sexual exploitation, and does not require transportation to occur, though transportation may be involved.

MYTH #2: Trafficking victims are only foreign nationals.

Reality: Both the U.N. Protocol and U.S. federal law use definitions of trafficking in persons that do not require crossing of international or state borders. Many trafficked persons are victims of internal or domestic trafficking – trafficking within the borders of a single country, and are themselves nationals of that country.

MYTH #3: Poverty and inequality are the causes of human trafficking.

Reality: While poverty and inequality are important factors in making certain populations more vulnerable to being trafficked, they are not the primary cause of trafficking. Trafficking is a criminal industry driven by 1) the ability to make large profits due to high demand, and 2) negligible-to-low risk of prosecution. As long as demand is unchecked and the risks for traffickers are low, trafficking will exist regardless of other contributing factors.

Blaming poverty and inequality alone is not only inaccurate and disheartening, it tends to deflect blame from the key actors that perpetuate trafficking – the traffickers themselves and their customers.

MYTH #4: There’s not much I can do about such a huge issue.

Reality: Together – we can make a huge difference! We were founded by regular community members like yourself, as were historic organizations like the Underground Railroad. Organizations like Polaris Project live and breathe based on the contributions and dedication of community members. Making a financial donation, a gift of time, goods, or services, or helping to raise awareness are some of the things collectively that help victims everyday. Please join us and be welcomed into the growing movement to combat slavery today!

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