- Is the person free to leave the work site?
- Is the person physically, sexually or psychologically abused?
- Does the person have a passport or valid I.D. card and is he/she in possession of such documents?
- What is the pay and conditions of employment?
- Does the person live at home or at/near the work site?
- How did the individual arrive to this destination if the suspected victim is a foreign national?
- Has the person or a family member of this person been threatened?
- Does the person fear that something bad will happen to him or her, or to a family member, if he/she leaves the job?
Sex Trafficking (Victims of sex trafficking are often found in the streets or working in establishments that offer commercial sex acts, i.e. brothels, strip clubs, pornography production houses.Such establishments may operate under the guise of:
People forced into indentured servitude can be found in:
Sweatshops (where abusive labor standards are present)
Commercial agricultural situations (fields, processing plants, canneries)
Domestic situations (maids, nannies)
Construction sites (particularly if public access is denied)
Restaurant and custodial work
Heavy security at the commercial establishment including barred windows, locked doors, isolated location, electronic surveillance. Women are never seen leaving the premises unless escorted.
Victims live at the same premises as the brothel or work site or are driven between quarters and “work” by a guard. For labor trafficking, victims are often prohibited from leaving the work site, which may look like a guarded compound from the outside.
Victims are kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment; trafficker may act as a translator.
High foot traffic especially for brothels where there may be trafficked women indicated often by a stream of men arriving and leaving the premises.
Trafficking victims are kept in bondage through a combination of fear, intimidation, abuse, and psychological controls. While each victim will have a different experience, they share common threads that may signify a life of indentured servitude.
Trafficking victims live a life marked by abuse, betrayal of their basic human rights, and control under their trafficker. The following indicators in and of themselves may not be enough to meet the legal standard for trafficking, but they indicate that a victim is controlled by someone else and, accordingly, the situation should be further investigated.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 defines “sex trafficking” as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act.
The TVPA of 2000 goes on to define “severe forms of trafficking is persons” in the following two tiered definition:
Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or which the person induced to perform such an 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 purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
No. There are many fundamental differences between the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling. Both are entirely separate federal crimes in the U.S. Most notably, smuggling is a crime against a country’s borders, whereas human trafficking is a crime against a person. Also, while smuggling requires illegal border crossing, human trafficking involves commercial sex acts or labor or services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion. Unlike smuggling, human trafficking does not require transportation.
No. Although the word ‘trafficking’ sounds like movement, the federal definition of human trafficking in the U.S. does not require transportation. In other words, transportation may or may not be involved in the crime of human trafficking, and it is not a required component.
No. Under federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force someone into labor or services or into commercial sex acts is considered a human trafficker. Therefore, while some victims experience beatings, rape, and other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats of violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse. The federal definition of the crime, as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, was created to address the wider spectrum of methods of control used by traffickers beyond “bodily harm.”
There is not one consistent face of trafficking victim. Trafficked persons in the United States can be men or women, adults or children, foreign nationals or US citizens. Some are well-educated, while others have no formal education.
While anyone can become a victim of trafficking, certain populations are especially vulnerable. These may include: undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless youth; and oppressed, marginalized, and/or impoverished groups and individuals. Traffickers specifically target individuals in these populations because they are vulnerable to recruitment tactics and methods of control.
No. The federal definition of human trafficking includes both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals – both are protected under the federal trafficking law and have been since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Human trafficking encompasses both transnational trafficking that crosses borders and domestic or internal trafficking that occurs within a country. Statistics about trafficking, estimates of the scope of trafficking, and descriptions of trafficking should be mindful to include both transnational and internal trafficking to be most accurate.
No. Human trafficking victims can come from a range of backgrounds and some may come from middle and upper class families. Poverty is one of many factors that make individuals vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.
Since human trafficking victims can be men or women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, trafficking is a crime that cuts across race, nationality, gender, age, and socioeconomic background. However, human traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way. Some examples of high risk populations include undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, and oppressed or marginalized groups.
Often no. Victims of human trafficking often do not seek help immediately, due to lack of trust, self-blame, or being directly trained by traffickers to distrust authorities.
While human trafficking does occur in illegal and underground markets, it can also occur in legal and legitimate settings. For example, common locations of human trafficking include private homes, hotels, nail salons, restaurants, bars, strip clubs, and massage parlors.