Myths & misunderstandings about human trafficking


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Myths & misunderstandings about human trafficking

  1. 1. Human TraffickingOverviewWhy Trafficking ExistsThe TraffickersThe VictimsThe FacilitatorsMyths & MisconceptionsAnti-Trafficking EffortsSex Trafficking in the U.S.Labor Trafficking in the U.S.Recognizing the SignsInternational TraffickingTrafficking FAQsState-by-State ResourcesCalendar of EventsThe NHTRC Human Trafficking Report a Tip Access Training Resources Map Get Involved ContactMyth 1: Under the federal definition, traffickedpersons can only be foreign nationals or are onlyimmigrants from other countries.Reality: The federal definitionof humantraffickingincludesbothU.S. citizens andforeignnationals -bothare protectedunder the federal traffickingstatutes andhave beensince theTVPA of 2000. Humantraffickingencompasses bothtransnational traffickingthat crosses borders anddomestic orinternal traffickingthat occurs withinacountry. Statistics onthe scope of traffickinginthe U.S. are most thoroughandaccurate if they include bothtransnational andinternaltraffickingof U.S. citizens as well as foreignnationals.Myth 2: Human trafficking is essentially a crime thatmust involve some form of travel, transportation, ormovement across state or national borders.Reality:The legal definitionof trafficking, as definedunder thefederal traffickingstatutes, does not require transportation.Althoughtransportationmay be involvedas acontrolmechanismto keepvictims inunfamiliar places, it is not arequiredelement of the traffickingdefinition. Humantraffickingis not synonymous withforcedmigrationorsmuggling. Instead, humantraffickingis more accuratelycharacterizedas exploitation, aformof involuntary servitude,or “compelledservice” where anindividual’s will is overbornethroughforce, fraud, or coercion.Myth 3: Human trafficking is another term for humansmuggling.Reality: There are many fundamental differences betweenthecrimes of humantraffickingandhumansmuggling. Bothareentirely separate federal crimes inthe UnitedStates. Mostnotably, smugglingis acrime against acountry’s borders,whereas humantraffickingis acrime against aperson. Also,while smugglingrequires illegal border crossing, humantraffickinginvolves commercial sex acts or labor or servicesthat are inducedthroughforce, fraud, or coercion, regardless ofAlthough poverty can be a factor in humantrafficking because it is often an indicator ofvulnerability, poverty alone is not a singlecausal factor or universal indicator of a humantrafficking victim.Trafficking can occur in legal and legitimatebusiness settings as well as undergroundmarkets. In some cases, traffickers out oflegitimate motels.To effectively combat human trafficking, each of us needs to have a clear "lens"that helps us understand what human trafficking is. When this lens is cloudedor biased by certain persistent misconceptions about the definition of trafficking,our ability to respond to the crime is reduced. It is important to learn how toidentify and break down commonly-held myths and misconceptions regardinghuman trafficking and the type of trafficking networks that exist in the UnitedStates.Myths and Misconceptions E-mail PrintShareSIGN UP BLOG SEARCH LOGINABOUT USABOUT US WHAT WE DOWHAT WE DO HUMAN TRAFFICKING TAKE ACTIONTAKE ACTION RESOURCESRESOURCES MEDIAMEDIA GIVEGIVEconverted by
  2. 2. whether or not transportationoccurs.Myth 4: There must be elements of physical restraint,physical force, or physical bondage when identifying ahuman trafficking situation.Reality:The legal definitionof traffickingdoes not requirephysical restraint, bodily harm, or physical force.Psychological means of control, suchas threats, fraud, or abuseof the legal process, are sufficient elements of the crime. Unlikethe previous federal involuntary servitude statutes (U.S.C.1584), the newfederal crimes createdby the TraffickingVictims ProtectionAct (TVPA)of 2000 were intendedtoaddress “subtler” forms of coercionandto broadenpreviousstandards that only consideredbodily harm. It is important fordefinitions of humantraffickinginthe U.S. andaroundtheworldto include awide spectrumof forms of coercioninorderfor the definitionto encompass all the ways that traffickerscontrol victims.Myth 5: Victims of human trafficking will immediatelyask for help or assistance and will self-identify as avictim of a crime.Reality:Victims of humantraffickingoftendo not immediatelyseek helpor self-identify as victims of acrime due to avarietyof factors, includinglack of trust, self-blame, or specificinstructions by the traffickers regardinghowto behave whentalkingto lawenforcement or social services. It is important toavoidmakingasnapjudgment about who is or who is not atraffickingvictimbasedonfirst encounters. Trust oftentakestime to develop. Continuedtrust-buildingandpatientinterviewingis oftenrequiredto get to the whole story anduncover the full experience of what avictimhas gone through.Myth 6: Human trafficking victims always come fromsituations of poverty or from small rural villages.Reality:Althoughpoverty canbe afactor inhumantraffickingbecause it is oftenanindicator of vulnerability, poverty alone isnot asingle causal factor or universal indicator of ahumantraffickingvictim. Traffickingvictims cancome fromarange ofincome levels, andmany may come fromfamilies withhighersocioeconomic status.Myth 7: Sex trafficking is the only form of humantrafficking.Reality:Elements of humantraffickingcanoccur inthecommercial sex industry as well as insituations of forcedlaboror services. The federal definitionof humantraffickingencompasses both“sex trafficking” and“labor trafficking,” andthe crime canaffect menandwomen, andchildrenandadults.Myth 8: Human trafficking only occurs in illegalunderground industries.Reality:Elements of humantraffickingcanbe identifiedwhenever the means of force, fraud, or coercioninduce apersonto performcommercial sex acts, or labor or services.Traffickingcanoccur inlegal andlegitimate business settings aswell as undergroundmarkets.converted by
  3. 3. Top ResourcesHumanTraffickingNational HumanTraffickingResourceCenterSex TraffickingintheU.S.RecognizingtheSignsTheVictimsClient QuotesMyth 9: If the trafficked person consented to be intheir initial situation or was informed about what typeof labor they would be doing or that commercial sexwould be involved, then it cannot be human traffickingor against their will because they “knew better.”Reality: A victimcannot consent to be inasituationof humantrafficking. Initial consent to commercial sex or alabor settingprior to acts of force, fraud, or coercion(or if the victimis aminor inasex traffickingsituation)is not relevant to the crime,nor is payment.Myth 10: Foreign national trafficking victims arealways undocumented immigrants or here in thiscountry illegally.Reality:Foreignnational traffickedpersons canbe intheUnitedStates througheither legal or illegal means. Althoughsome foreignnational victims are undocumented, asignificantpercentage may have legitimate visas for various purposes. Notall foreignnational victims are undocumented.ContactPolaris ProjectP.O. Box 53315Washington, D.C. 20009Tel: 202-745-1001Fax: 202-745-1119Email Polaris ProjectWhat We DoNational Human Trafficking HotlinePolicyAdvocacyClient ServicesTraining and TechnicalAssistancePublic Outreach and CommunicationsFellowship ProgramConnect Search Join Our NetworkPrivacy Policy | Copyright 2013 Polaris Project.Sitemap Loginsearch the site enter your emailMore Client Stories"Many things have changed forme since coming to PolarisProject. I now believe it’s nevertoo late to begin again."converted by