- FAQs -

Frequently Asked Questions

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP), is a modern-day form of slavery. It is a crime under federal and international law. It is also a crime in the majority of U.S. states. Human Trafficking is defined in the Trafficking Protocol as “the recruitment, transport, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by such means as threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud or deception for the purpose of exploitation.”

The definition on trafficking consists of three core elements:

1) The action of trafficking which means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons

2) The means of trafficking which includes threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power or position of vulnerability

3) The purpose of trafficking which is always exploitation. In the words of the Trafficking Protocol, article 3 “exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs

Who are the victims?

There is not one consistent face of trafficking victim. Trafficked persons in the United States can be men or women, adults or children, foreign nationals or US citizens. Some are well-educated, while others have no formal education.

While anyone can become a victim of trafficking, certain populations are especially vulnerable. These may include: undocumented migrants; runaway and homeless youth; and oppressed, marginalized, and/or impoverished groups and individuals. Traffickers specifically target individuals in these populations because they are vulnerable to recruitment tactics and methods of control.

Undocumented immigrants in the US are highly vulnerable due to a combination of factors, including: lack of legal status and protections, language barriers, limited employment options, poverty and immigration-related debts, and social isolation. They are often victimized by traffickers from a similar ethnic or national background, on whom they may be dependent for employment or a means of support.

Who is at risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking?

Since human trafficking victims can be men or women, adults or children, and foreign nationals or U.S. citizens, trafficking is a crime that cuts across race, nationality, gender, age, and socio-economic background. However, human traffickers typically prey on individuals who are vulnerable in some way. Some examples of high risk populations include undocumented migrants, runaways and at-risk youth, and oppressed or marginalized groups.

Do victims of human trafficking self-identify as a victim of a crime and ask for help immediately?

Often no. Victims of human trafficking often do not seek help immediately, due to lack of trust, self-blame, or being directly trained by traffickers to distrust authorities.

What types of human trafficking can be found in the United States?

Forced Labor, Bonded Labor, Debt Bondage Among Migrant Laborers, Involuntary Domestic Servitude, Forced Child Labor, Sex Trafficking, and Child Commercial Sex Trade.

Does human trafficking only occur in illegal underground industries?

While human trafficking does occur in illegal and underground markets, it can also occur in legal and legitimate settings. For example, common locations of human trafficking include private homes, hotels, nail salons, restaurants, bars, strip clubs, and fake massage businesses.

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