The Basics

Context of the Problem

Human trafficking frustrates definition by appearing in countless forms; ultimately, however, it refers to all acts related to the recruitment, transport, sale or purchase of people through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of economic exploitation. Human beings are not commodities. They are not disposable. Our worth cannot be affixed to a price, and any act that does so must not be tolerated.

Yet, not only is it tolerated, but human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world; it is second most profitable after drug smuggling, and equal with illegal arms transactions. It thrives because it is invisible – subversive – and this will continue as long as most people fail to realize that it is happening all around them.

Therefore, it is the purpose of Traffick Free to first create awareness of human trafficking, and then to take tangible and active steps on all levels to see to its end. As citizens, we may not have all the answers, but we believe we are part of the solution. We act as a catalyst, igniting a synergistic movement by combining resources, skills and expertise to end the demand for trafficking and free those enslaved.

You don’t have to be a social worker or federal agent to make a difference. All you have to do is care that there are human beings who are not free, and be willing to take action on their behalf. Together we can make a world that is Traffick Free.

Key Terms

When people think about slavery, they usually think of the traditional chattel slavery that was seen in America’s past. That form does still exist in certain countries, but slavery has evolved, and now most often occurs in these forms:

  • BONDED LABOR: People become bonded laborers by taking or being tricked into taking a loan for as little as the cost of medicine for a sick child. To repay the debt, many are forced to work long hours, often all year long. They receive basic food and shelter as “payment” for their work, but many may never pay off the loan, which can be passed down for generations.
  • FORCED LABOR: People are illegally recruited by individuals, governments or political parties and forced to work, usually under the threat of violence or other penalties.
  • TRAFFICKING: The transport and/or trade of women, children and men from one area to another for the purpose of forcing them into conditions of slavery. Human trafficking ranks as the second largest criminal industry globally, second only to drug smuggling, and equal with illegal weapons transactions.

Data & Statistics

Data and statistics on human trafficking are very limited, because the crime is largely invisible – most of these values likely underestimate actual figures. While the issue of modern slavery is global in scale, many experts believe that it can be brought to an end in 25 years – if we are able to sustain our attention on the issue.

Download our short list of relevant statistics, complete with resource links, updated as of December 2017: Statistics_Updated December 2017

Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

Often, domestic sex trafficking involves a “grooming” process whereby a trafficker will take the time to get to know their victim, where they like to hang out, who they like to hang out with, and how they feel their life might be missing something – commonly a connection to someone who they can feel loves them unconditionally. Once the “grooming” process is complete, the victimization begins and the false perception of love is used in conjunction with violence – much like domestic violence. Our research specialist put together this diagram to help us better wrap our mind around the similarities and differences between human trafficking and domestic violence.