Human trafficking facts
In 2016, then-President Barack Obama told the Clinton Global Initiative: “I ‘m talking about the oppression, the outrage of human trafficking, which has to be called by its true name: modern slavery, it’s cruel, it’s evil and it has no place in a civilized world.”
According to the UN, sex trafficking is to be used when people are recruited or harbored, through intimidation or coercion. It’s mainly commercial sex or labor trafficking, and a victim need not be transported anywhere to fall under the category.
Trafficking is clandestine and illegal and it isn’t easy to get reliable details. The US State Department and the hotlines for trafficking aid to paint a better image of what’s going on.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of victims work in the sex industry, or in the hospitality, beauty or agricultural industries where such circumstances may occur.
Until 2000, when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed, human trafficking was not illegal, which rendered it a federal crime.
Together with Mexico and the Philippines, the United States was ranked in 2018 as one of the worst countries for human trafficking worldwide. There is no official number of victims of trafficking in human beings in the US but estimates place it in the hundreds of thousands.
Since 2007 , the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which receives an average of 150 calls every day, has registered more than 49,000 cases of sex trafficking in the US.
According to the hotline the most cases of human trafficking have been recorded in California , Texas, and Florida. Las Vegas is also a hot spot because of the atmosphere of the town and high homelessness rates. But there are allegations of human trafficking in every state in the USA.
New York, and Queens in particular, is a known trafficking destination, due to its location on the eastern corridor and its proximity to rural areas such as Vermont. As the special agent of Homeland Security, Akil Baldwin, told AM New York, “New York is the epicenter of both, legal and illegitimate.”
About 18,000 and 20,000 individuals are believed to be trafficked into the United States annually.
Kids are more insecure compared with adults. Researchers clarified they are easier to manage, cheaper and less likely to demand working conditions. More than 300,000 young people are deemed “at risk” of sexual abuse in the United States.
In 2011, California passed a law to combat manufacturing sector trafficking. The legislation mandated major manufacturing and retail companies to reveal what they were doing in their supply chains to stop human trafficking. However, by 2015, less than one-fifth of the firms had followed.
There is a greater risk that children raised in foster care will become victims. In 2013, the FBI rescued 60 per cent of children’s victims were from foster care. The National Center for Missing and Neglected Children estimated that 14 percent of children estimated missing were likely victims of sex trafficking in 2017 and 88 percent of those had been in child protection.
A 2014 report by the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, found that 71 per cent of victims of human trafficking joined the US lawfully.
Tlaxcala ‘s Mexican state has been described as US’s largest source of sex slaves. Five out of 10 of the “most wanted” sex traffickers from Homeland Security came from Tenancingo, in Tlaxcala in 2015. Estimates were made that one in ten Tenancingo people was involved in trafficking.
At special risk are the native American women. A record 506 Native American women went missing or killed in American cities in 2016. In Phoenix, another of the top U.S. trafficking jurisdictions, it was estimated that in 2015 40 per cent of victims of sex trafficking were Native American.
In 2016, after 2,000 human traffickers were detained by US Immigration and Customs and 400 victims were identified, airlines began training workers to spot signs of human traffickers. Some of the signs that someone is a victim are not managing their own boarding pass or money and when they seem to be “disoriented and confused.”
Aside from the sex trade, victims of trafficking also work in private homes, fisheries, the hospitality industry, and the health and beauty services industry. Seen here are the spa Asia Day Orchids. His owners were arrested in 2019 on allegations of prostitution, which was part of a broader investigation into the role of sex trafficking in massage parlors.
Migrant farm workers may become victims of trafficking because their legal status in the US is often tied to employment. Tobacco, followed by cattle and beef, grapes, tomatoes, and strawberries, was the most frequently worked crop for victims according to a 2017 survey.
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore launched a non-profit organization named Thorn, to help fight sex trafficking. He estimated 5,791 child victims were found, and 103 were rescued in 2017.
Trafficking isn’t just on the street anymore-it ‘s gone online. Fifty women said as victims of Back page, an online sex portal that pleaded guilty to the charges of human trafficking, they were sexually assaulted in March.
The National Center for Missing and Abused Children said Back page ads included 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports it received last year.
.In 2018, the US Department of Justice distributed $31 million to 45 victim service agencies, nearly doubling its budget from 2017 when it distributed $16 million to 18 organizations.
But the Trump administration has slashed support for trafficking victims’ legal services. Previously this money was used to expunge criminal records and assimilate the victims back into society.
The Trump administration has also modified the requirements for a “T visa,” which allows victims to stay in the US, obtain compensation from the government, and place them on track to become citizens of the US. Now the victims have to justify their ordeal or be deported possibly. They hadn’t had to fear being deported earlier.
There is no reliable estimation of how much money trafficking generates in the U.S., as victims are frequently guarded by captors, lack sufficient documentation, and work behind the curtain.
If you are a survivor of sex trafficking, or someone you know, contact the National Hotline on Human Trafficking at 1-888-373-7888.