Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Human Trafficking 101

Trafficking sounds so innocent as a word, yet as an action it is such an ominous threat to our nation right now. As a nonprofit that focuses on the safety of children, sex trafficking is a concern to us as it is one of the fastest growing crimes and dangers to our young children with one million children exploited by the global commercial sex trade every year (Source: PolarisProject).

But how many people really know what it is? How many people even know it exists? And what is human trafficking?

According to the Polaris Project, human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will.

There are two types of human trafficking, neither of which necessarily involves the smuggling of an individual, a frequently held misconception of trafficking.
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.
Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

And trafficking happens more frequently than we know or would care to believe.
  •  Estimates state that there are up to 27 million modern day slaves world-wide.
  • 50% of victims are children; 80% women and girls.
  • 70% of female victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade industry.
  • The trafficking industry profits by $32 billion annually.
  • 244,000 American children and youth were estimated to be at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation in 2000.
  • 12-14 is the average age of entry into prostitution.

And that’s just the beginning. There is so much more to this devastating story. And so there is more to this blog as well. We decided since January is a month our nation has dedicated to Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness, we would do our part by writing every week in January on this topic to help educate and empower our readers. We hope you’ll join us for this important series; we’ll give you additional information about the reality of sex trafficking, what we need to do to protect our children, what Florida and our nation is doing to stop this crime, and we’ll tell you where to find additional resources to learn more.

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