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sex trafficking 101

 

  • what is sex trafficking? Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the united states and globally. The Federal trafficking victims and protection act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, where such an act is induced by force, fraud, or COERCION, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age. all trafficking victims share one essential experience -- the loss of freedom.

  • how prevalent is sex trafficking in the united states? the International labor organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 5.5 million children. 55% are women and girls. 83% of all ALLEGED reported TRAFFICKING incidents involved sex trafficking. New York city is consistently recognized as being a hub of TRAFFICKING and has some of the highest rates of trafficking in the untied states. Incidents of trafficking are under-reported due to the crime's hidden nature as well as limited awareness by law enforcement and social services providers. the polaris project estimates that 244,000 american children are at risk of COMMERCIAL exploitation annually. the trafficking of women and children is the fastest growing enterprise in the world. the number of children being sold for sex has increased in recent years because criminals have learned it is more profitable and less risky to sell children than drugs. 

  • where does sex trafficking happen? in 2013, the national human trafficking resource center hotline received reports of human trafficking in all 50 states and washington d.c. in the united states, sex trafficking commonly occurs through online escort services, in residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage parlors or spas, and in street PROSTITUTION. on the internet, buyers can purchase sex with ease, anonymity, and impunity. 

  • what tactics are used by traffickers to lure and control their victims? Pimps initially lure their victims with false promises of a better life, fast money, warmth, intimacy and gifts but ultimately resort to other forms of manipulation and control including violence, threats of harm to the victim's family and friends, shaming, forced drug or alcohol abuse, isolation, food and sleep deprivation and DEGRADATION. 

  • WHO is at risk of being a victim of sex trafficking? anyone can become a victim of trafficking and trafficking exists in every community and among people of all races, religions and ETHNICITies, but certain populations are particularly vulnerable: undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless youth; and oppressed, marginalized and/or impoverished groups and individuals. traffickers specifically target these populations because they are vulnerable to recruitment tactics and methods of control. it is estimated that the average age at which girls first become victims is 12-14; for boys and transgender youth it's between the ages of 11-13. common recruiting locations include junior high and high schools, courtrooms, bus stations, malls, parks and playgrounds, and homeless shelters. it is a misconception that the MAJORITY of trafficking victims in this country are foreigners. it's believed that the majority of sex trafficking victims in the u.s. are United states citizens.

  • HOw do i recognize a sex trafficking victim? the u.s. state department advises individuals to look for the following indicators in identifying victims of trafficking: living with employer, poor living conditions, multiple people living in a cramped space, inability to speak to individual alone, answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed, signs of physical abuse, submissive of fearful, unpaid or paid very little, under 18 and in prostitution, and lack of identification documents.

  • why don't trafficked victims leave "the life?" traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims in horrific situations every day in america. victims face many challenges to accessing help. traffickers may confiscate a victim's IDENTIFICATION and money. victims may not speak english. they might not know where they are because they have been moved frequently. they are often not allowed to communicate with their family and and friends. and they may have trouble trusting others, due to their traffickers' manipulation and control tactics. for many, their trafficking has provided the only "home" they know. if a victim is able to escape, they usually have no other means to support themselves, and have neither a place to live nor a support system on which they can depend. consequently, victims often return to their traffickers time and again.

  • what does new york state do to combat sex trafficking? New York state has been a leader in the battle against trafficking, passing several laws to stiffen criminal penalties for traffickers and to assist victims, for example providing a way for victims to vacate their prostitution convictions. in 2015, new york state passed the trafficking victims protection and justice act (tvpja). the tvpja improves new york state's effort to end human trafficking by enhancing the protection for trafficking victims -- PARTICULARLY for sexually exploited children. the tvpja increases accountability for buyers and traffickers who fuel this criminal industry and prevents the re-victimization of trafficking VICTIMS by the justice system through the following measures: recognizing that buying children for sex is child abuse, defending trafficked people from criminal prosecution, STRENGTHENING cases against traffickers via wiretaps, and eliminating stigmatizing language.  

  • WHAt can i do to help? KNow the facts about trafficking. pass this information onto others. if you suspect a person has been trafficked, call the national human trafficking resource center at 1-888-373-7888 or text info or help to: Befree (233733), attend events hosted by we were slaves: the jewish community unites against sex trafficking. join the new york state anti-trafficking coalition for updates on action and advocacy work.

 

SOURCES http://polarisproject.org/index.php, http://www.traffickingresourcecenter.org, http://www.tvpja.com, www.ncjw.org/trafficking