What is Human/Sex/Labor Trafficking?
Human trafficking — “modern slavery” on the rise
The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Also known as “trafficking in persons” (TIP), human trafficking is a crime under federal international law. Yet, with an estimated 4.5 billion victims, it is the second-fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.
Sex trafficking happens everywhere, even in Maine
In sex trafficking, traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion and exploitation against women, men, and children to engage them in the commercial sex industry. This is not a choice but something that have to do or there is a price to pay.
Unbelievably, an estimated 200 to 300 girls and women, ages 14 to 30, are trafficked here in Maine each year. Experts in the field argue this estimate may be even higher than that. The need for assistance is growing, with calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline originating from Maine increasing by more than 50% in recent years (NHTRC, 2012)
Labor trafficking: an American nightmare
Federal law defines sex and labor trafficking in the same way: it is the use or obtaining of a person for the purposes of sex or labor through the means of force, fraud, or coercion. While it is impossible to guess how many victims are currently being trafficked in the US, what is certain is that some groups are more heavily targeted by traffickers, such as women, along with vulnerable groups such as children, the homeless, impoverished and people whose basic needs are not being met.
Forced labor is in practice around the world in all phases of our global supply chains. The fishing, textile, construction, mineral, and agriculture industries are particularly guilty of using forced laborers and, as key parts of the Maine economy, it’s critical that we are aware and remain vigilant to ensure this practice doesn’t infiltrate Maine.
National Blue Campaign
The unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking: learn more here.