What You Need To Know About Human Trafficking

There are actually more slaves today than any other time in recorded history. According to the International Labor Organization, there is an estimate of 21-36 million slaves worldwide. Modern-slavery include domestic servitude, forced labor, bonded labor, child labor, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world, right below drug trafficking.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the trade of human beings through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of exploitation for labor, sexual purposes or organs.

Human trafficking annually generates $9.5 billion in the United States alone. The Department of Justice has identified the top human sex trafficking jurisdictions in the country which includes Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C. and Richmond. Cases have been reported in every state. Victims range in education levels, socioeconomic status, and are foreign nationals or citizens.

Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being lured into prostitution. The average age of entry into forced prostitution is 11-14 years old for boys and girls. Traffickers do various forms of recruiting such as social media, parties, malls, neighborhood, gang members and abduction. They typically give victims false promises and prey on vulnerability. Traffickers would go to impoverished countries and convince parents to give away their children because they can provide them a better life.

Richmond Justice Initiative says pimps commonly prey on girls who seemed weak and susceptible. For example, if he went up to a young girl and told her that she had beautiful eyes and she says ‘thank you’ while giving him direct eye contact, he is more likely to leave her alone. However, if he does the same to another girl and she responds in a vulnerable manner, he will continue to pursue and try to recruit her.

Some types of human trafficking:

  • Familial trafficking - A family member sells another for profit.  Often this looks like an older family member or trusted friend coercing or forcing a child into trafficking, possibility to pay for necessities or support addiction.

  • Survival trafficking - Taking advantage of another person, based on their need to survive, and selling that person for profit (runaway, homeless, foster and orphaned youth are at risk).

  • Gang-controlled trafficking - Increased in recent years, which involves pressuring someone to join or work with the gang to earn money for the benefit of the gang via sale of his or her body or exploiting others.

  • Pimp-controlled trafficking - A sex-trafficker (“pimp”) forces victims to engage in prostitution for the pimp’s profit.  Pimps lure and control their victims through manipulation, threat, coercion, and abuse.  Pimp culture has been glamorized in pop culture.

  • Domestic trafficking or domestic involuntary servitude - Victims are forced to labor in households or nonprofessional workplaces, usually without the ability to leave.

Click here if you have additional questions about human trafficking.   

“Human trafficking is a huge issue -- look at the stats, look at the figures -- it affects young people. As with anything that affects young people, it is our job as a country, as a society and as a community to educate them about that.” - Colleen Savino, Prevention Project teacher


What can you do to stop human trafficking?


Continuing to educate yourself about this issue is already big help. The more you know, the more you can talk about it and spread awareness. Her Campus at VCU recently partnered with the Prevention Project program, an award-winning curriculum designed to equip schools with tools needed to prevent teens from becoming victims of human trafficking. They believe that in order to eradicate human trafficking, we must educate young people on the lures of trafficking and invest in character and leadership development. They also provide resources on engaging students, recognize signs and reporting trafficking situations. Since 2012, the Prevention Project program has been taught in six states and impacted over 6,000 students.

If you have a connection to a teacher or faculty member of any public high school, church or community programs that might be interested in educating their students about human trafficking, please introduce them to the Prevention Project program. They have been incorporated in classes such as health, psychology, history and free periods.

You can also support by donating. For $30 a month, by becoming a #FreedomKeeper, you are helping the Prevention Project reach students throughout the United States.

Now if you feel strongly passionate about this issue and are itching to dive into action, the Prevention Project is looking for someone to join their team. They are currently looking for interns and ambassadors to help raise awareness. Click here to apply.

Lastly, please add this number to your contacts:

Human trafficking is a crime under federal and international law. You can report suspicions of any kind confidentially.

Also make sure to check out http://www.prevention-project.org/ for more information and connect with them on Facebook!