About Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery.
Victims of human trafficking are recruited under false pretenses to work under deplorable conditions throughout the United States. They are paid little or no money for their work; held against their will; and threatened with physical harm - all while working long hours.
Victims of human trafficking are found in nearly every industry - including agriculture, domestic servitude, hospitality (hotels, casinos, bars), restaurants, factories, construction, & sex work. Across the globe, there are approximately 12.3 million men, women, & children (of every nationality) currently held in a trafficking situation; generating a 9.2 billion dollar industry. This includes U.S. citizens.
At least 15,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year. Since the inception of IIB's Victim Services Department in 2007, we have served over 200 of those victims turned survivors - right here in Buffalo.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act was the first federal anti-trafficking legislation in the United States. Passed by Congress in 2000, the act was created, in large part, as a response to a particularly horrific human trafficking case; commonly known as the "Deaf Mexican Case." This case brought the issue into the public eye.
The TVPA legislation defines human trafficking as encompassing three elements: method, means, and ends.
- Method: This element defines how a person became involved in their trafficking situation. Traffickers must harbor, move, or recruit a victim. It is a common myth that a victim must be moved across a national border, or a state line, to be considered a victim of trafficking. This is not true. A trafficker must simply have had a hand in getting their victim to the location where they are being exploited.
- Means: This element defines the victim who is kept in a trafficking situation by their trafficker. Traffickers hold victims through force, fraud, or coercion. Traffickers threaten their victims with deportation. Often they threaten to kill or kidnap the victims' families, should they try to escape. This is a very believable threat, given that traffickers often hold close ties to the towns & villages from which their victims come. Traffickers capitalize on the limited English skills & the general fear of law enforcement in their foreign-born victims. They emphasize this by limiting the victim's access to the outside world and its assistance.
- Ends: This element defines the benefits that a trafficker incurs due to the exploitation of the victim. Traffickers must benefit financially from the victim's work; whether through debt bondage, indentured servitude, slavery, or the sex trade.
If a victim meets this definition of trafficking, IIB's Victim Services Department can help.
For more information about trafficking, check out our F.A.Q. page. If you still have questions, please email us.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2006-VT-BX-K015; awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view on www.iibuff.org are those of the staff of IIB and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.