Human Trafficking

At A Glance

Human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery, is prevalent in countries all around the world—including the US. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 215 million children in child labor worldwide, 115 million of them in hazardous forms of work. It also estimates that 21 million people are in forced labor, six million of them children. In addition to the personal and societal issues which stem from human trafficking practices, illegal movement of immigrants across the borders supports the activities of organized crime and terrorism. Every year, human traffickers generate over billions of dollars for this quickly growing illegal industry.

Now, more than ever, we are equipped with the technology to stop this. Increased transparency of information and communication flows, and corporate supply chains have the potential expose injustice and yield highly effective transnational, public-private partnerships.

Glossary of Key Terms

Human trafficking: the U.S. federal law defines victims of human trafficking as children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will. The U.N. breaks human trafficking into three elements: the act, the means, and the purpose:

  • The Act (What is done): Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons
  • The Means (How it is done): Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim
  • The Purpose (Why it is done): For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs. To ascertain whether a particular circumstance constitutes trafficking in persons, consider the definition of trafficking in the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the constituent elements of the offense, as defined by relevant domestic legislation.

Sex trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, (22 USC § 7102; 8 CFR § 214.11(a)).

Child labor: Children (minors under age 18) working in the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) as outlined in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 182 and children engaged in work that is exploitative and/or interferes with their ability to participate in and complete required years of schooling, in line with ILO Convention 138.line with ILO Convention 138.

Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL): ILO Convention 182 defines the WFCL as all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labor, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; and work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

Labor trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102). There are all kinds of labor trafficking, ranging from domestic servitude to large scale operations. Domestic servitude: Small-scale "mom and pop" labor operations typically provide nannies, home care health assistants, and other forms of household-based compulsory service

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