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What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is defined as the use of force, fraud or coercion to exploit a person for commercial sex or for the purpose of subjecting a victim to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, or forced labor. The use of force or coercion can be direct and violent, or psychological.
United States Department of State. The Facts About Human Trafficking for Forced Labor (2005). Forced Labor. Paper 6. http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/forcedlabor/6.
After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and is the fastest growing.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Human Trafficking Fact Sheet. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/about/fact_human.html.
Human trafficking happens in the United States to both U.S. citizens and noncitizens, and occurs in every state.
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center. Domestic Human Trafficking: An Internal Issue. December 2008, p. 2, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/113612.pdf.
However, California, and in particular the Bay Area, is a top destination point for trafficked victims. The Bay Area’s major harbors and airports, its powerful economy and accelerating population, its large immigrant population and its industries make it vulnerable to human trafficking.
California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force. Human Trafficking in California - Final Report. October 2007. http://ag.ca.gov/publications/Human_Trafficking_Final_Report.pdf.
As many as 17,500 people are believed to be trafficked into the United States each year and some have estimated that 100,000 U.S. citizen children are victims of trafficking within the United States.
Congressional Research Service. Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress. December 2010. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/154172.pdf.
The majority of victims are women and children. The U.S. Department of State estimates that approximately 80 percent of victims trafficked from other countries are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors.
U.S Department of State. 2007. Trafficking in Persons Report. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm
In October 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) made human trafficking a Federal crime. California enacted its first anti-trafficking law, the California Trafficking Victims Protection Act (Assembly Bill 22, Lieber), in September 2005.
Human trafficking by the numbers:
U.S Department of State. 2007. Trafficking in Persons Report (Page 7). http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/index.htm
If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
For more information on human trafficking please visit:
Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Campaign to Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking
Federal Bureau of Investigation www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/human_trafficking
Polaris Project www.polarisproject.org
National Human Trafficking Resource Center www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/the-nhtrc/overview
San Jose Police Department Human Trafficking Task Force www.sjpd.org/stopht
U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons www.state.gov/g/tip
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement www.ice.gov/human-trafficking