Human trafficking is a crime. Women’sFUSION have joined this conscious mission by taking a stand to prevent, protect and support healing and restorative justice for those impacted by this trade in human beings occurring everywhere in the world. Through education, partnership and action, Women’sFUSION are working with individuals and community groups to build awareness and ignite flames of hope for those who are trafficked.
—annie loyd, community manager, The FUSION Foundation
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, and is the second largest criminal industry in the world after drug trade. The United Nations (U.N.) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines human trafficking as the recruiting, transporting and harboring of persons by use of threat, force or deception for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers take advantage of vulnerable persons with false promises or physical abduction, forcing them into contract slavery, forced labor and sexual trafficking.
According the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2010, the number of adults and children currently in forced labor,
bonded labor and forced prostitution is 12.3 million. Worldwide, 1.8 per 1,000 persons is a victim of human trafficking, increasing to 3 persons per 1,000 in Asia and the Pacific. Sixty-two countries have yet to convict a trafficker under the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and 104 countries have yet to establish laws or regulations regarding human trafficking.
Sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. Child sex trafficking includes any child involved in commercial sex. Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex industry. Sex trafficking exists within the broader commercial sex trade, often at much larger rates than most people realize or understand. Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues of the overall sex industry, including residential brothels, hostess clubs, online escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution. For sex trafficking resource packs, click here.
Our current global economic system continues to reward wealth and exploit the poor. Sexual trafficking is connected to the feminization of poverty. Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women and girls, most of whom live in developing countries with limited options available to them. Women comprise 56 percent of the 12.3 million trafficked adults and children according to the Trafficking in Persons Report.
Male and female victims of human trafficking can be found in all types of establishments and locations, in rural, suburban and urban settings in the United States and worldwide. You’ll find victims on the streets, in houses, in trailers and on farms. Victims of human trafficking can be landscaping and agricultural workers, panhandlers, day laborers, factory and sweatshop workers, hotel workers, and housekeepers. Victims are exploited by the service industries in restaurants, bars, strip clubs, nail salons, and similar businesses. You’ll find many victims on “adult services” Internet sites; the commercial sex industry relies heavily on human trafficking victims. Prostitutes, strippers, escorts, and workers in massage parlors, brothels and for phone chat lines are often victims. Right now traffickers in many American cities are exploiting workers and sexually abusing women and girls.
Victims of human trafficking often live on or near their work premises, often with a large number of occupants in a small space. Bouncers, guards, guard dogs or barbed wire may be present. Many victims live in isolated areas.
Victims lack of private space, personal possessions and financial records and are kept under surveillance or are escorted by an employer when they are out in the community. The trafficker may act as a translator.
The victim may be branded or have other scarring indicating ownership. Victims are often malnourished and may show signs of rape, sexual and physical abuse, posttraumatic stress and poor psychological health, and have sexually transmitted diseases or other untreated medical problems.
Brothels often contain barred windows, locked doors and electronic surveillance. Women do not leave the house unescorted, and men come and go frequently. Large amounts of cash and condoms are usually present, as is a customer receipt book.
For more information on how to spot trafficking, visit the Los Angeles Metro Task Force on Human Trafficking.
People all over the country can join together to stop modern-day slavery.
Your group can host an education forum to help educate others on the realities of human trafficking. Call the Women’sFUSION at 623-688-1278 to identify a program facilitator. Invite local law enforcement agencies, friends and other community, faith and humanitarian groups to your program.
Contact your local law enforcement agency about human trafficking in your community. How does your local agency prevent and prosecute trafficking? How can you help?
Watch for signs of trafficking. Be aware, and report possible trafficking to local authorities and the U.S. Department of Justice 1-888-428-7581.
Share the signs of human trafficking with youth groups and other groups in your organization and community.
Create a community task force.
Buy fair trade. Know where the products you buy come from and how they are made.
Support education and business opportunities for women and girls.
Nationwide you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
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