Human Trafficking: The Traffickers and the Victims

Each week we try to write a blog that somewhat relates to or correlates with our mission at Made for Freedom. As I was sitting here thinking about what to write for this week's blog, I realized that I don't even really know why human trafficking happens. How does someone get into this situation? What type of people are victims of human trafficking? So I did some research to find some answers. 

I learned from the Human Trafficking Hotline that around 20.9 million people are trafficked globally. Hundreds of thousands of these cases happened right under our noses in the United States. Traffickers take advantage of those coming out of vulnerable situations. Through coercion and manipulation, they are able to become someone the victim is dependent on. So what is a "vulnerable situation"? Traffickers target people who are impoverished, who have addiction, who are insecure, who suffer from mental illness, or who have history of sexual or physical abuse. These are just a few examples of people who are trafficked. Their vulnerabilities are exploited and preyed on to the point where the victim may not even realize they are in this situation. One study that took place in Chicago showed that 56% of prostituted women were runaway and homeless youth. They run to unfamiliar environments and have no way of supporting themselves. For this reason they are easy targets. 

You may be wondering who would even do something like this? Well, it could really be anyone, and it's not always just one person, it may also be a group or organization. Based off trends from reported cases, a few of the common perpetrators are: 

  • Brothel and fake massage business owners and managers
  • Employers of domestic servants
  • Gangs and criminal networks
  • Growers and crew leaders in agriculture
  • Intimate partners/family members
  • Labor brokers
  • Factory owners and corporations
  • Pimps
  • Small business owners and managers

Human trafficking organizations often exist alongside legitimate businesses, which is one of the scariest things about the crime in my opinion. You may walk by brothels everyday and not even know it.

For those of you who were unaware of some of the background on human trafficking, I hope you found this helpful. There's a lot more to learn about this issue and I would encourage you to read more. The site that was linked above is an excellent resource and a great place to start.