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January is Human Trafficking & Prevention Month.

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

The best way to fight human trafficking is to prevent it in the first place. We want to help you identify the signs and equip you with knowledge to help bring awareness. There are so many misconceptions of what human trafficking actually is. One being confined to what you would see in a Liam Neeson movie. Although that is a true aspect in many victims lives, that is just a glimpse into the grave realities of human trafficking. Human trafficking defined from the United States department of justice is a crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex:

" Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. "

Here are some common forms of Human Trafficking.

Forced Labor: The term forced labor encompasses the range of activities – recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining – involved when a person uses force or physical threats; psychological coercion; abuse of the legal process; a scheme, plan, or pattern intended to hold a person in fear of serious harm; or other coercive means to compel someone to work.

Debt Bondage: U.S. law prohibits the use of a debt as a form of coercion to compel a person’s labor. Some workers fall victim to traffickers or recruiters who unlawfully exploit an initial debt assumed as a condition of employment. Temporary work programs in which the workers’ legal status in the country is tied to a particular employer present challenges to workers who would like to flee from such an employer.

Domestic Servitude: Working in a private home can create unique vulnerabilities, particularly because what happens in a private residence often is hidden from the world, and it is easy to isolate a worker in a private residence. Domestic workplaces are often connected to off-duty living quarters, and not shared with other workers. These settings are vulnerable to exploitation because authorities cannot inspect private homes as easily as formal workplaces. The use of informal, or even verbal, employment contracts compounds this weakness. Foreign domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to factors such as language and cultural barriers and lack of community ties.

Forced Child Labor: Although children may legally engage in certain forms of work, forms of slavery or slave-like practices – including the sale of children for exploitation, forced or compulsory child labor, and debt bondage and serfdom of children – continue to exist, despite legal prohibitions and widespread condemnation.

Sex Trafficking: When a person is required to engage in a commercial sex act as the result of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion or any combination of such means, that person is a victim of human trafficking. Under such circumstances, perpetrators involved in recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, advertising, maintaining, patronizing, or soliciting a person for that purpose are guilty of the federal crime of sex trafficking. This is true even if the victim previously consented to engage in commercial sex.

Child Sex Trafficking: Any child (under the age of 18) who has been recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited to engage in a commercial sex act is a victim of human trafficking regardless of whether or not force, fraud, or coercion is used. The use of children in the commercial sex trade is prohibited both under U.S. law and by legislation in most countries around the world.

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