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Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It is the exploitation of men, women, and children for forced labor or sex by a third-party for profit or gain. Sex traffickers will frequently target their victims then use violence, but most human traffickers use psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims into providing commercial sex or exploitative labor.
Also, sex trafficking is not the same as prostitution, where exchanging sex for money is often “voluntary”. Far too often, commercial sex victims are typically under the age of 18. Regardless of the use of force, fraud or coercion, minors engaging in commercial sex are considered victims of human trafficking.
It is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world. More than 32,000 cases of human trafficking documented between December 2007 and December 2016 through its operation of the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline—the largest data set on human trafficking in the United States ever compiled and publicly analyzed.
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Hotels are a crucial piece of the infrastructure necessary to facilitate sex trafficking in “in-call” and “out-call” escort services. Hotels and motels may also be used for commercial sex acts in other sex trafficking business models where solicitation may be initiated elsewhere like nearby streets, bars, strip clubs, cantinas, or truck stops. Magazine sales crews rely on hotels and motels as they travel from state to state.
Technology is increasingly playing a role in the practices and processes surrounding human trafficking: the illegal trade of people for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking has many facets to it and technology’s role varies as a result. Technology companies have a responsibility to protect their users from predatory practices. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable.
“The perpetrators of trafficking employ a “grooming process” to draw victims away from their homes or to gain the trust and dependency of young victims who may have run away from home. The first step is often the development of a relationship with an older man, who the victim comes to regard as her “boyfriend”. The perpetrator assesses the victim’s needs (vulnerabilities) and offers flattery, material items such as money, jewelry or clothes, and/or displays other “acts of love”. The adolescent female may be enticed to begin a sexual relationship with her “boyfriend”. The adolescent will be encouraged to stay away from home for increasingly longer periods of time, eventually leading to her not returning home at all.”
Trafficking-related to massage parlors was second in prevalence only to trafficking in escort services. The data available almost certainly does not represent anything close to the scope of the problem. Traffickers operate in the shadows, and the tools they use to exploit victims are such that the victims themselves often do not know that what is happening to them is against the law. Evidence suggests that many of the thousands of women engaging in commercial sex in illicit massage businesses (IMBs) are victims of human trafficking.
If the situation is an emergency or you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 911 and alert the authorities. Call or contact Polaris Project. Polaris is a nationwide non-profit. The organization employs experienced professionals to guide victims and survivors of human trafficking. Also, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
-Permit or license for something other than actual business
-Location may have a guarded entrance
-Open at unusual hours compared to the businesses on either side
-Cameras both inside and outside
-The location storefront may be curtained off/blocked, etc.
-Location may be locked and opened only when someone at the door with a phone
-“Employees” may be ferried to and from work by the “spa” or may live at the location
-Men walking through the parking lot, seem to be confused, and/or talking on their cell phones
-Condoms in the parking lot drains, or pipes
-Is not free to leave or come and go at will
-Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
-Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
-Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
-Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
-Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
-Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
-Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
-High-security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque — windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
-Is living and working on site
-Experiences verbal or physical abuse by their supervisor
-Is not given proper safety equipment
-Is not paid directly
-Is forced to meet daily quotas
Victims of sex trafficking can be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, women, men, children, and LGBTQ individuals. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination.
U.S. law defines human trafficking as the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person into commercial sex acts or labor or services against his or her will. The one exception involves minors and commercial sex. Inducing a minor into commercial sex is considered human trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud or coercion.
No. Half of the sex trafficking victims and survivors are male. Advocates believe that percentage may be even higher but that male victims are far less likely to be identified. LGBTQ boys and young men are seen as particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.