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By definition, human trafficking is the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring or keeping and receiving an individual against his or her will. Traffickers, sometimes also known as pimps, use coercion, manipulation, threats of violence, and exert financial control over their victims in order to keep them trapped in a lifestyle of being bought and sold.
This is why trafficking has been called modern-day slavery.
Globally, there are an estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labor, and out of those, 4.5 million individuals are trapped in forced sexual exploitation, according to the International Labour Organization.
Victims often know their perpetrators—they can be a spouse, boyfriend or family member—meaning human trafficking overlaps with domestic violence on a regular basis. Traffickers also use tactics that abusers use to control survivors—coercion, threats of violence or outright violence, threats of harm to a survivor’s children or family, gaslighting, alienation from support persons and financial control.
“As we know in domestic violence, where victims are abused, [a survivor] may be manipulated, forced, deceived or coerced by her abuser to indulge in sex for money. She is forced to have sex for money with a threat of harm to her, her children or her loved ones if she fails to do it. She believes the proceeds would be used for the benefit of the family. And so she indulges in sex for money to help her family or boyfriend, who professes to love her dearly,” Edith Okupa with Restoration Project International, told DomesticShelters.org last December.
How You Can Spot Trafficking
The following is a list of 23 signs from the National Human Trafficking Hotline that may indicate someone is being trafficked. It could be happening in your very own community, and recognizing the signs could save someone’s life. If you suspect human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
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Something Simple You Can Do
DoSomething.org urges people to write the phone number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline inside clothes they donate. It may be the only way to reach a victim of human trafficking who is otherwise cut off from the outside world. The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 888-373-7888.
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