How much do you know about Human Trafficking?

01-12-2017 8:32 AM

Many of you have told us you are concerned about human trafficking.  That’s why for the last two years on #GivingTuesday, The Mary Kay Foundation℠ has awarded The Polaris Project $10,000 each year to help eradicate this modern-day slavery.

Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Polaris helps survivors restore their freedom, prevents more victims, and leverages data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.

This month, in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month, we give you answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the topic.

What is human trafficking?

A form of modern-day slavery where adults and children are forced to work or perform commercial sex acts against their will. According to the FBI, human trafficking is the third-largest criminal activity in the world.

How many people are affected?

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States.

Who are these victims?

As defined by U.S. law, victims include:

  • Children under the age of 18 induced into commercial sex
  • Adults induced into commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion
  • Children and adults induced to perform labor or services through force, fraud, or coercion

Human trafficking spans all demographics, but here are a few risk factors:

  • Runaway and homeless youth. Traffickers often approach them at transportation hubs, shelters or public spaces. Traffickers pretend to be a significant other and manipulate the runaways.
  • Foreign nationals coming into the United States. Recruiters from their home country often promise the immigrants a better life, better job or a loving relationship.
  • Individuals who have experienced violence and trauma in the past such as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war and conflict. Traffickers see these people as vulnerable.

Who are the traffickers?

Traffickers represent every social, ethnic and racial group.

Based on human trafficking cases that have been identified by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, examples of traffickers may include:

  • Fake massage business owners and managers
  • Employers of domestic servants
  • Gangs and criminal networks
  • Growers and crew leaders in agriculture
  • Intimate partners/family members
  • Labor brokers
  • Factory owners and corporations
  • Pimps
  • Small business owners and managers

Where does human trafficking take place?

In every major or rural community in the United States. Chances are, it’s in your community.

California, Texas and Florida report the highest number of human trafficking incidents, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris. Statistics current as of September 2016.

Please share to help spread the word about human trafficking.