I am sure many of us have heard of sex trafficking, but we haven't actually stopped and learned more about this huge danger that risks our lives every day. Many think: "that will never happen to me", but the reality is that it can actually happen if you don't take care and are aware of this problem. As you will see in this article, it is actually more common than you think, the numbers are huge.
If you want to learn more about this issue and the things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from it, keep reading this article. We hope you learn from it!
Definition of Sex Trafficking
Trafficking for sexual exploitation is a form of modern slavery that exists in the United States and throughout the world.
Sex trafficking operators use violence, threats, lies, bondage for debt and other forms of coercion to force adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Under United States federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of whether the trafficker used force, fraud or coercion.
The situations faced by victims of sex trafficking vary drastically. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then uses force or manipulation to prostitute them. Other victims are attracted by false promises of work, such as modeling or dancing. Some are forced to sell sex by their parents or other family members. They may be in a trafficking situation for a few days or weeks, or they may remain in the same trafficking situation for years. It all depends on each case.
Victims of sex trafficking can be US citizens, foreigners, women, men, children and LGBTQ people. Traffickers often haunt vulnerable populations, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war or social discrimination for this practice.
Sex trafficking takes place in a variety of places including illicit massage businesses, through internet advertisements or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or in hotels and motels. Anywhere can be a place for this horrible illegal business.
15 Facts to Know about Sex Trafficking
Human sex trafficking is a practice that is increasing with the passage of time, regardless of the fact that people think it is decreasing; Therefore, it is important that we all become aware of the issue. These are some facts that you should defiantly know about this terrible crime:
1. HIV & AIDS
Sex trafficking is one of the causes of the spread of the HIV AIDS virus more than any other activity in the world.
Sex traffickers often recruit children because there is a high market demand for them. They attract their victims by phone, on the Internet, through friends, at the mall, and in after-school programs.
3. Worst trafficking records
Brazil and Thailand are generally considered to be the countries with the worst sex trafficking records of children.
79% of women and girls who are victims of trafficking are for sexual exploitation, while 83% of men suffer from labor exploitation and forced labor.
In 2017, a total of 8,759 cases of human trafficking in the United States were reported to the National Hotline for Human Trafficking (NHTH), which affected more than 10,000 victims, almost 5,000 perpetrators, and 1,500 businesses.
6. Sexual exploitation
The main causes of complaint of human trafficking were sexual exploitation, where the average age of the victims was 19 years, followed by the combination of sexual exploitation and workplace abuse that takes place in places such as illegal massage parlors, strip clubs or canteens.
7. Women and girls
Of the total cases reported, 80 percent of the victims were women and girls, and 35 percent of the cases in which the ethnic group was reported, this was Latino.
8. Commercial sex
2 million is the number of children exploited by the commercial sex industry in the world.
100,000 - 300,000 is the number of children prostituted in the US.
244,000 was the number of US children and youth who are at risk of child sexual exploitation, including commercial sexual exploitation in the year 2000.
11. Average age
The average age in which children entered prostitution in the United States is 14-16 years old between girls and boys.
There was a law created in 2003 which establishes that the crime of human trafficking can be judged according to the provisions of the Statute of Organizations of Organized Crime, known by the acronym RICO. In other words, those accused of human trafficking can be judged with the same laws that apply to the mafia.
As for punishment for trafficking persons, sentences can range from ten years to life imprisonment, depending on the characteristics of the crime. In addition, it is possible to lose ownership of the facilities in which victims of this crime would have been accommodated.
Each fiscal year, US authorities approve a maximum of 5,000 T visas for victims of human trafficking. The beneficiaries and their immediate relatives can stay in the country and request, at three years, a permanent residence card, also known as a green card. Sex and labor trafficking victims are the only ones that apply for these benefits.
Polaris is a non-profit organization in charge of the national hotline to report the crime of human trafficking or request help. You can call without any costs and confidentially at 1 (888) 373-7888, where they serve in more than 200 languages. You can also contact their social networks or send the text message "BeFree" to 233733 to report any situation regarding sex trafficking.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Friends
Now that you know how huge of a problem sexual trafficking is and how many people are victims of it, you might want to protect yourself and your loved ones from this. It can happen to you or any of your loved ones, so it is better to be safe than sorry. We will give you the best tips to minimize the risks of sex trafficking for you, your family, and your friends. Take note:
- Be careful with what you post on social networks: Do not give personal information such as addresses, family names, personal photos, phone numbers and use security filters that limit who can access that information.
2. Be careful with job offers outside your locality of residence and even at the local level that requests to take photos in swimsuits or with little clothes.
3. Do not go alone to job interviews without letting anyone know, ask someone to accompany you (to be nearby) or inform someone when and where you are going.
4. Be careful with people who approach you on the street.
5. Never talk or accept invitations to webcams with strangers. Don’t flirt with strangers online, because it is not difficult for them to create a false profile to pass themselves off as someone your age to deceive you.
6. Save messages, emails and any information that you consider unlawful (offensive phrases or photographs) because they can be used in case of a complaint before the law in case of any situation. Also, report these as soon as you get them. Many issues and situations can be prevented or stopped this way.
7. Do not accept friend requests from strangers even if they seem to have something in common (school, sports clubs or family and friends).
There are many dangers that can affect anyone in any normal mundane situations, but not many of us are aware of them. These dangers aren't considered by many until it happens to them. They think it is highly unlikely to happen, but as you have seen, sex trafficking has a huge number of victims all around the world. I am sure the majority of the people are not informed or take care of this topic, the reason why it is very important that you share this article and tell this information with your family and friends. The more people that know this, the less this problem will affect. We can put an end to sex trafficking beginning with awareness, and you can be a part of it, so start spreading it.
Remember, you, your sister, mom, or cousin could be a victim, so be aware, spread awareness, use our prevention tips, and be safe. We wish you and your loved ones to be safe every day!