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What is Slavery and Human Trafficking?

You may think slavery ended after the Civil War. Think again. There are more slaves now than at any time in history! Human trafficking is just a way of saying “the ways people are moved from freedom into slavery.” Through violence. Lies. Manipulation. Threats.

Today’s slaves are forced into labor, service or sex slavery to make money for their exploiters. You see, the same people who traffick drugs and weapons realize that selling people is more profitable and less risky. People can be sold repeatedly. In the case of a sex slave, that might be 10, 20 or more times a day. In labor slavery, goods and services are continually produced without compensating the laborer.

Legal Definition

Slavery is involuntary servitude. The legal definition defines Human Trafficking, or Trafficking in Persons (TIP), below. Basically, for an adult, force, fraud or coercion must be present. ANY minor used in commercial sex is legally a human trafficking victim.

An ACT or attempted act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person by means of force, abduction, fraud, coercion, purchase, sale, threats, abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation.


What is Sex Trafficking?

The majority of survivors we encounter are those in sex slavery.

Children

If a victim is a minor and used in commercial sex of any kind including stripping, pornography and/or prostitution , they are legally severe victims of human trafficking. Commercial sex means that the sexual acts are given in exchange for something of value. That “item of value” may be money, or simply a sandwich or a couch to sleep on for the night for a runaway. The majority of child sex trafficking victims are US citizens.

Minors make a lot more money for their controllers than older girls do.

According to a report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, out of the runaways actually reported each year in Tennessee, about 1000 are trafficked. Virtually all trafficked youth have been abused and /or traumatized prior to their trafficking.

For a look at the most common tactics used to enslave youth, visit BeTheJam.org.

One study determined that minors who are trafficking victims are sold 10 to 15 times a day, six days a week. That means that each victim is “used” 9,360 to 14,040 times a year. Can you imagine the level of trauma that would produce in a child?

80% of victims are female- but boys are victims of human trafficking also, for both labor and sex. In fact prostituted boys typically begin at an even younger age than girls.

It’s clear that our children are targets for predators who wish to use them as very lucrative commodities.

Adults

For an adult to be a victim of human trafficking, force, fraud or coercion must be present. Sex trafficking of adults includes forced prostitution, stripping and pornography. It’s common to be threatened with severe harm to themselves or their family members, including their children, parents or siblings. Others are offered a seemingly legitimate job as a maid, nanny, waitress, factory worker, gardener or the like, but the “job” turns out to be slavery and the promised terms and wages, a lie.


What is Labor Trafficking?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines labor trafficking 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.”

Forced Labor in the United States
Forced Labor is far more common in the United States than many Americans know. Often, this involves importing workers from other countries, and then subjecting them to labor for little or no pay, using the threat of injury or other punishments. People are trafficked to and within the United States to forced labor in many industries, especially the agricultural and manufacturing industries. Victims of forced labor in the US are often subjected to long workdays with little or no time for breaks.

In the US, forced labor is common in the following industries:

  • Agriculture & Farms
  • Domestic Work
  • Hostess & Strip Clubs
  • Restaurants & Food Service
  • Factories
  • Peddling & Begging Rings
  • Hospitality Industry

Child Labor
In the United States, child labor is very common in agricultural work, but also in other industries.

Facts about Child Labor in the US

  • An average of 113 youth under age 20 die annually from farm-related injuries. 16-19 year olds suffer the highest percentage of deaths: 34%.
  • An estimated 3,400 children and adolescents were injured performing farm work in 2009
  • In 2009, 359 workers under age 24 died from work-related injuries. 27 of these were under 8 years old.
  • In 2007, workers under age 24 were two times more likely to need emergency-room care for occupational injuries than were workers over age 25.

(Information gathered from the Department of Health & Human Services’ “Labor Trafficking Fact Sheet.”)

Forced Labor in the United States

Forced Labor is far more common in the United States than many Americans know. Often, this involves importing workers from other countries, and then subjecting them to labor for little or no pay, using the threat of injury or other punishments. People are trafficked to and within the United States to forced labor in many industries, especially the agricultural and manufacturing industries. Victims of forced labor in the US are often subjected to long workdays with little or no time for breaks.

In the US, forced labor is common in the following industries:

  • Agriculture & Farms
  • Domestic Work
  • Hostess & Strip Clubs
  • Restaurants & Food Service
  • Factories
  • Peddling & Begging Rings
  • Hospitality Industry

Child Labor in the United States

In the United States, child labor is very common in agricultural work, but also in other industries.

Facts about Child Labor in the US

  • An average of 113 youth under age 20 die annually from farm-related injuries. 16-19 year olds suffer the highest percentage of deaths: 34%.
  • An estimated 3,400 children and adolescents were injured performing farm work in 2009
  • In 2009, 359 workers under age 24 died from work-related injuries. 27 of these were under 8 years old.
  • In 2007, workers under age 24 were two times more likely to need emergency-room care for occupational injuries than were workers over age 25.