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What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking (also known as Trafficking in Persons, (TIP)) is a violation of human rights.  It is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. Forms of human trafficking include labor trafficking, sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or for the purposes of a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion or for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children includes the prostitution of children, child pornography, child sex tourism and other forms of transactional sex where a child engages in sexual activities to have key needs fulfilled, such as food, shelter or access to education.

Some of the identified sectors for trafficking in the U.S., are for sexual exploitation, massage parlors, residential and underground brothel settings, nail salons, domestic servitude, restaurants, landscaping, agricultural industries and other large-scale factory environments.

Trafficking does not require the transporting of a person and is not the same as people smuggling.  Foreign nationals and U.S. citizens are trafficked.  Persons of all races and ages are trafficked. 

Trafficking victims are controlled not only through physical abuse but with the use of threats and psychological abuse, making it unlikely that victims would report abuse or self-identify.

The scale and breadth of trafficking is hard to assess due to its underground nature but the number of cases identified each year is rapidly increasing.