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Forms of Slavery

Sex Trafficking

Over 80% of the trafficking incidents in one year in the United States were sex trafficking cases. Sex trafficking victims often are already in difficult circumstances when traffickers target them. Vulnerable victims may be homeless, runaways, refugees and drug addicts, but victims can be from any type of background.

  • Sex traffickers play on the victim’s and offer promises of marriage, a job, education, and a better life. But, in the end, traffickers force the victims to become prostitutes or work in the sex industry.
  • One type of sex trafficking involves luring women to travel to another country with promises of money and opportunities. Once they reach the destination, the women discover that they have been deceived and instead are forced into a life as a sex worker.
  • Most sex trafficking victims have been told lies regarding the financial arrangements and conditions of their employment and find themselves in abusive situations without the chance of escape.

Victims of sex trafficking are often found in the streets or working in establishments that offer commercial sex acts.  Such establishments may operate under the guise of:

  • Massage parlors
  • Escort services
  • Adult bookstores
  • Modeling studios
  • Bars/strip clubs

Labor Trafficking

Labor trafficking is the modern day picture of slavery. Victims are forced to work against their will and under the threat of violence. Their freedom is limited and a sense of ownership is exerted.

  • Labor trafficking may generate as much as $31 billion a year. It can take the form of working in a home or business, agricultural work, food service or other service industry.
  • Another type of labor trafficking is debt bondage. It is probably the least known form of labor trafficking today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people. A victim becomes a bonded laborer when their labor is demanded as a means for repaying a loan. The repayment terms will not be defined or the value of the services is not reasonably applied to the debt.
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.

Trafficking in children

There are 246 million exploited children between 5 and 17 involved in child trafficking. Child exploitation can take the form of any of these types of trafficking. Children are forced into prostitution or other sexual activities as well as used as forced labor, recruited as child soldiers, used for begging, sold for early marriages and even used for their organs.

  • Trafficking in children often begins with the extreme poverty of their parents. Parents may sell children to traffickers to pay off debts or they may be deceived and believe their children will be given a better life.
  • The adoption process, legal and illegal, when abused can sometimes result in cases of trafficking of babies and pregnant women between the West and the developing world.
  • These children have their childhoods ripped away from them and rarely have the opportunity to live as free adults.