What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, each year more than 17,000 people are trafficked from other countries into the United States—and thousands of U.S. nationals are trafficked within U.S. borders as well. The majority of victims are women and children, but anyone can be a victim of human trafficking.

Victims of Trafficking Can Be Found in: Prostitution, Construction, Landscaping, Strip Clubs, Massage Parlors, Servile Marriages, Restaurant Services, Domestic Situations (nannies or maids), Sweatshop Factories, Farming and Agriculture, and many more places.

The law.

Human trafficking is an abuse against a person and is against the law. There is federal legislation for human trafficking (TVPA) as well as state legislation for human trafficking (KRS 529.100) . Under the law, there are two types of human trafficking; labor trafficking and sex trafficking.

  • Labor trafficking occurs when a person is subjected to force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or services.
  • Sex trafficking occurs when a person is subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of participation in a commercial sex act. – OR – When any minor is involved in any commercial sex act, they are automatically a victim of human trafficking. Evidence of force, fraud, or coercion need not be present because children cannot legally consent to commercial sex.*

* The US government estimates that more than 100,000 domestic youth are trafficked into prostitution every year.

Methods of control.

Force, fraud, and coercion are some of the methods used by traffickers to lure victims and then subject them to servitude and abuse:

  • Force: Physical intimidation, rapes, beatings, physical confinement, etc.
  • Fraud: Lies, false promises, and trickery. False promises of employment, manipulation of immigration documentation, illusions of marriage or relationships.
  • Coercion: Threats and manipulation. For example, threats to harm someone or their family if they attempt to leave. Threats to abuse the legal process and have the victim thrown in jail and/or deported. Confiscation of legal or immigration documents.

If you or someone you know has been trafficked, call our 24-hour crisis hotline, 1-800-656-4673, or the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 to discuss your options and available resources.