What is human trafficking?
The official definition, taken from The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
What is human trafficking?
The legal meaning of "human trafficking" has been expanded in recent years to generally include forced labor with little or no pay under threat of violence. Within the United States, force, fraud, or coercion must be used against a person to constitute human trafficking.
A Global Issue
Human trafficking is not human smuggling, which is the illegal transportation of a person across a border. In the U.S., no transportation element is necessary in a human trafficking case. If illegal transportation occurs (smuggling, kidnapping, etc.), it is a separate crime.
Human Trafficking in Production
Human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor support many products sold around the world. If you own a smartphone or computer, wear clothes made with cotton or polyester, or drink coffee regularly, your lifestyle is supported by trafficked labor.
Human trafficking is a growing presence in the global economy. The International Labour Organization has estimated that human trafficking is a $150 billion annual industry. High demand for cheap goods and corporate profits motivate companies to use the cheapest labor possible, even if that means turning a blind eye to advanced exploitation.
2020 SAW A RISE IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING MISINFORMATION.
QAnon conspiracy theories and other moral panics contributed to a marked increased in trafficking misinformation. Sometimes these are shared by exploitative profiteers, sometimes by well meaning people who are struggling to fact check a very complex issue.
Be wary of any of information or organization that:
claims excessive confidence in a trafficking statistic
does not share the methodology for that statistic
claim to be "rescuing" or "saving" victims
does not center survivor voices, input, or experiences
profits off survivor stories when they do share them
excludes the stories of survivors who disagree with them
incites panic rather than calling for systemic change
TRAFFICKING CALLS FOR COMMUNITY LEVEL ENGAGEMENT.
Without corporate accountability or transparency in supply chains, many consumers unknowingly buy products made by trafficked labor. Systemic issues of discrimination and inequity mark certain groups for higher risk of labor and sex trafficking. Combating human trafficking means addressing marginalization in your home community and rejecting the corporate profiteers who stock your shelves.