Human Trafficking is commonly referred to as today's "Modern Day Slavery".
Federal law defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons" as:
- 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; 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.1
How Big is the Problem?
It is a multi-billion dollar industry: "According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is tied with illegal arms the second largest criminal industry in the world today after drug dealing and is also the fastest growing."2 Each year, millions of souls are trafficked across international borders as well as within their own country. Estimates for number of people involved with modern-day slavery around the world range from 12.3 to 27 million.3
Each year an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders.
- 80% are Female
- 50% are CHILDREN4
Is Human Trafficking in Every Country?
Human Trafficking is a GLOBAL problem of epidemic proportions. Not one inhabited continent is untouched by it, including the United States!
Why Did ZOE Decide Thailand?
Thailand is a source, transit and a destination country for Human Trafficking. The brand image of Thailand is Commercial Sex Trade. NGO's believe there are between 200,000 to 300,000 prostitutes in Thailand. There are an estimated 60,000 prostitutes that are children under the age of 18.5
How Big is the Problem in the United States?
According to information found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 victims are trafficked into the U.S. annually.6 Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all fifty states of the U.S. and hundreds of thousands of U.S. minor citizens have been estimated to be at-risk of commercial sexual exploitation.7,8 Sex trafficking has been found in sex industry venues including residential brothels, hostess clubs, online escort services, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs and street prostitution.9 Average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12-14 years old.10 Other major forms of human trafficking include debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude and forced labor.11 Traffickers can be individuals, a small group of people or a large network.12
What is the United States Doing to Combat Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking impacts many nations, including the United States. In the past, the U.S. Congress passed various legislations to help combat human trafficking right here. The government is training law enforcement on human trafficking and has launched numerous public awareness campaigns. CLICK HERE to find out more about what action the government is taking to combat human trafficking.
Who Are the Victims?
Minors who take money for sex are usually taking part in prostitution but they are also victims of crime.13 The majority of minors who become involved in prostitution are runaway children from abusive or otherwise dysfunctional homes.14Other vulnerable populations may include undocumented immigrants, runaways and homeless youth, victims of trauma and abuse, refugees and impoverished groups and individuals.15
What are Signs of Human Trafficking?
A fact sheet produced by the U.S. Department of Education Office states, a victim:
- Has unexplained absences from school for a period of time, and is therefore a truant
- Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis
- Chronically runs away from home
- Makes references to frequent travel to other cities
- Exhibits bruises or other physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression or fear
- Lacks control over his or her schedule or identification documents
- Is hungry-malnourished or inappropriately dressed (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
- Shows signs of drug addiction.
- Signs indicating Sex Related Trafficking Include:
- Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, or material possessions (e.g., has expensive items)
- Makes references to sexual situations that are beyond age-specific norms
- • Has a “boyfriend” who is noticeably older (10+ years)
- • Makes references to terminology of the commercial sex industry that are beyond age specific norms; engages in promiscuous behavior and may be labeled “fast” by peers
*It is important to note that this list is not comprehensive of all signs of human trafficking nor are all students who exhibit these signs most certainly trafficking victims. The list is meant to be a guide to help determine if further action is appropriate*
Source: U.S. Department of Education. Human Trafficking of Children in the United States a Fact Sheet for Schools. Retrieved February 9, 2011, view here.
For more resources and information on how to report human trafficking, click here.