HUMAN TRAFFICKING: “Women are significantly involved in trafficking of persons, both as victims and as offenders.” “75% of the sex traffickers were African American.”

We witnessed in the 1960s the feminist movement and feminist activism. More recently we have seen the rapid growth of the #MeToo movement in October, 2017. But to what end? Both movements have failed to stem the tide of human trafficking, which harms primarily underage girls and women. The #MeToo movement isn’t focused on the roles of women as both victims and perpetrators of human trafficking. Immigration and human trafficking go hand in hand. Organized crime and human trafficking go hand in hand. Businesses need for cheap labor and human trafficking go hand in hand.

Background

In preparing for this exposé we looked at four reports on human trafficking:

  1. The 2014 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude website.
  3. The McCain Institutes’ A Six-Year Analysis of Sex Traffickers of Minors.
  4. and The National Criminal Justice Services’ An Empirical Analysis of the Intersection of Organized Crime and Human Trafficking In the United States.

We selected these four reports to find commonalities and insights into human trafficking globally and within the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign defines human trafficking as:

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Homeland Security lists the following facts about human trafficking:

Human trafficking exists in every country, including the United States.  It exists nationwide—in cities, suburbs, and rural towns—and possibly in your own community.

Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.  They may come from any socioeconomic group.

Sex trafficking exists, but it is not the only type of human trafficking. Forced labor is another type of human trafficking; both involve exploitation of people.  Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service.

Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to perform commercial sex acts is a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether he or she is forced or coerced.

Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling.  “Trafficking” is based on exploitation and does not require movement across borders.  “Smuggling” is based on movement and involves moving a person across a country’s border with that person’s consent in violation of immigration laws. Although human smuggling is very different from human trafficking, human smuggling can turn into trafficking if the smuggler uses force, fraud, or coercion to hold people against their will for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation.  Under federal law, every minor induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is often a hidden crime.  Victims may be afraid to come forward and get help; they may be forced or coerced through threats or violence; they may fear retribution from traffickers, including danger to their families; and they may not be in possession of or have control of their identification documents.

The Villainy of Human Trafficking – Key Findings

Here are some key findings taken from the the UN, FBI, McCain Institute and National Criminal Justice Services reports:

United Nations:

  • UN report detected victims of trafficking in persons, by age and gender, 2011: 49% women, 21% girls, 18% men, 12% boys.
  • Human trafficking for sexual exploitation by region: Europe and Central Asia 66%; Africa and Middle East 53%; Americas 48%; East Asia, South Asia and Pacific 26%.
  • Human trafficking for forced labour, servitude and slavery like by region: East Asia, South Asia and Pacific 64%; Americas 47%; Africa and the Middle East 37%; Europe and Central Asia 26%.

The Department of Justice Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit reports:

  • In recent months we have convicted labor traffickers who exploited victims in restaurants, bars, and cantinas on Long Island, New York, and in massage parlors in Chicago, Illinois.
  • We convicted a Seattle couple who held a young Micronesian woman in domestic servitude, and secured a 14-month sentence against a defendant who held two young Nigerian women in domestic servitude in Georgia.
  • We have indicted labor traffickers who exploited Vietnamese victims in bridal shops in Arizona, and we have dismantled organized criminal networks that held Dominican, Filipino, and Jamaican workers in forced labor on cleaning crews.

McCain Institute:

  • Three-quarters of the cases involved only minor victims.
  • The average age of the sex traffickers of minors was 28.5 years old and the average age decreased significantly from 2010 to 2015.
  • 24.4% of the sex traffickers were female and they were younger than the male sex traffickers.
  • 75% of the sex traffickers were African American.
  • Nearly one out of five arrests for sex trafficking of a minor involved a person who was gang involved.
  • 55.5% of the females arrested were identified in the report as the role of a“bottom” which is the most trusted sex trafficked person by the sex trafficker who may also be prostituted, may recruit victims, give rules and trainings, and may give out punishment.
  • 24% of the arrested sex traffickers had a previous criminal history, the most common previous crime was a violent crime. o4% had a previous arrest for sex trafficking of a minor.
  • The minor victims were transported to up to 17 states for the purpose of being prostituted with the average of 2.7 states.
  • 67.3% of the cases used technology (email, online ads, smart phones) in the sex trafficking activities. oBackpage.com was used by the sex trafficker in 592 cases (41.8%).
  • Recruitment tactics focused on runaways; friendship, romance, giving a place to stay to the victim, and promises of money and wealth.

National Criminal Justice Services:

  • 58% (1227) of all defendants in human trafficking cases operated as part of an organized criminal group.
  • Although Cartels/Mafias/Syndicates are not represented at all among the federally prosecuted human trafficking cases involving organized crime, there is evidence that they are involved in facilitating the human trafficking operations of other types of organized criminals (facilitating transportation, providing false documentation, etc.).
  • Defendants who trafficked minors for commercial sex come from 13 different countries of origin. The vast majority is from United States.
  • Primary push factors involve socio-environmental variables over which the individual has very little control. These include: childhood abuse and/or neglect, lack of education, and a destructive social network.
  • Secondary push factors are symptoms of the primary push factors. They include criminal history, drug and/or substance abuse, and financial stress. These lead to feeling a lack of control over one’s life.
  • Based on federal prosecution records, the counties in the United States with the most bases of operations of organized crime groups engaging human trafficking include: Harris County, Houston, TX; Fulton County, Atlanta, GA; and Queens County, Queens, NY.

Human trafficking for the purposes of either sexual or labor slavery is spreading across America. Congress needs to come together to address this growing problem in light of the Jeffery Epstein case.

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