Human Trafficking in the United States

Abstract

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It involves the use of force to illegal smuggle and trade of people, to human exploitation for labor or sexual purposes. Every year, millions of men, women, and children become victims of human trafficking all over the world. Despite the fact that human trafficking can occur at the local levels in certain countries, it is considered to be one of the serious issues in international relations. Human trafficking is a serious crime and a great violation of human rights. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal industries all over the world and in the United States of America in particular.

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The United States of America is a transit and destination country for human trafficking. Human trafficking traditionally occurs in the states with the large immigrant population, such as California and Texas. According to the U.S. Justice Department reports, from 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the country annually.

However, the true figure can be higher because of the large numbers of illegal immigrants. Scientists, government, and academic researchers work on estimation of the total number of trafficked people in the United States, main reasons, and factors that facilitate human trafficking in order to combat it. In order to examine the phenomenon of human trafficking in the United States, this study will use the literature on human trafficking, reports of the US Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security, as well as works of scientists on the following problem, and Internet articles that provide the opinion of politicians and public on the subject.

Keywords: human trafficking, human smuggling, human trade, sex trafficking, labor trafficking, illegal immigrants.

Definition of the Problem

Introduction

Human trafficking and human exploitation have existed all over the world for thousands of years. From ancient times to the medieval period, and until nowadays, people have been subject to different forms of slavery. At the beginning of the 19th century, the south of the United States of America was the most slave-populated. In some states, the number of slaves was higher than the number of free people. However, in 1820, the United States made the slave trade a crime, and it was punished by the death penalty. Attempts to fight against human trafficking were made by the League of Nations.

Later, the legislation made human smuggling and exploitation illegal. In 1904, 1910, and 1921, the League of Nations adopted conventions to combat trafficking through anti-trafficking legislation on the international level (Limoncelli, 2010). At the same time, anti-trafficking legislation was adopted by the US Government. Several acts, such as the Immigration Act adopted in 1924, were passed in order to prevent immigrants from entering the USA. The banning of immigrants during the first half of the 20th century partially stopped human trafficking in the United States.

In 1978, the United Nations held a convention on the rights of immigrants. However, it was signed only in 1990, and it was enforced in 2003. This demonstrates the slow progression of legislation development at the governmental level. Human trafficking was not an issue of great importance until the 1990s.

Human trafficking is internationally recognized as a crime. Many international laws and national laws were passed in order to combat any display of human trafficking. Despite this, it remains one of the most serious issues in every country. According to the US Department of State reports, from 600,000 to 800,000 people all over the world – mostly women and children – are trafficked across the international borders annually, and more people are trafficked within their native countries. The majority of victims are women trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation (Cree, 2008).

Hilary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, mentioned that the problem of human trafficking for decades was unnoticed in the United States. However, in 2000 the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) was signed by President Clinton. The Act provided the government with more instruments that helped to bring traffickers to justice and ensure victims with legal support. The TVPA had a mandate to collect funds for the treatment of human trafficking victims. The Act set standards for the foreign governments that must be followed in order to receive grants and aid from the USA to fight trafficking in person.

The Bush Administration determined the combat with sex slavery all over the world and domestically as one of the priorities of the state humanitarian policy. On average, $ 100 million are spent every year on the purpose of human trafficking fighting. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act was revised and renewed in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2013. Later in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, January was proclaimed by President Barack Obama as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that ensures profit from the control and exploitation of people. The US federal law defines the victims of human trafficking as children involved in the sex trade, adults forced into commercial sex acts, as well as people forced into different forms of labor against their will. Human trafficking deprives people of their rights, increases global health risks, and facilitates the growth of the organized crimes. The United States is mainly a destination country for thousands of people trafficked from Asia, Mexico, or Central America for purposes of sexual or labor exploitation. A great number of American citizens are trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation. The US Government continues combating trafficking in persons on a national and international scale.

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Goals and Organization of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the facts of human trafficking into and within the United States, the effectiveness of combating trafficking in person, and the protection of the victims. Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal industries that often can be related to the illegal drug industry or arms trade. Trafficking in person is internationally recognized as a crime that violates people’s rights and freedoms. The problem of human trafficking has great importance in the United States as the country often becomes the place of destination or transition for thousands of trafficked people. The exact number of trafficking people in the United States remains unknown. A lot of Americans and foreigners are estimated to be at risk of commercial labor or sexual exploitation.

The goals of the research are:

  • to examine the phenomenon of human trafficking in the United States;
  • to describe the types of trafficking in persons and main factors that facilitate human trafficking;
  • to test the effectiveness of combating human trafficking in the United States.

This study will provide the public with information on human trafficking in the United States and will help to improve the understanding of the problem of trafficking in person.

This research is organized in the following ways. Firstly, the study is opened with the literature review that provides an overview of the human trafficking phenomenon, the reasons for its appearance, types, and consequences of human trafficking, and the mechanisms that respond to and prevent human trafficking. The literature review also presents a public opinion on the issue of trafficking in person and demonstrates the coverage of the problem in the newspapers. Particular attention will be paid to the US and international legislation in order to examine the mechanism of prevention and combating human trafficking and study its effectiveness. Secondly, research details the methods for the analysis of trafficking in person and its consequences. Lastly, findings and conclusions are given in the following study.

Literature Review

Overview of Human Trafficking in the United States

The United States is considered to be a destination or transit country for human trafficking. However, the exact number of victims within the country remains undetermined. It is difficult to estimate the exact number of trafficking victims and the prevalence of human trafficking globally and nationally as there is a great number of illegal immigrants who can suffer from labor or sexual exploitation. Thus, estimations vary greatly and change significantly during the last decades. According to the US State Department reports, from 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked every year across national borders. Approximately half of the victims are children (US Department of State, 2007).

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In addition to this, 80% of the trafficked people are female, and about 70% are engaged in sex exploitation (US Department of State, 2005). According to the studies of the International Labor Organization, every year about 12 million people become victims of labor exploitation or sexual servitude (International Labor Organization, 2012). Other estimates of human trafficking vary from 4 million to 27 million people.

The TVPA provides approximately estimates of the annual numbers of the trafficked people. It is estimated that in 2001, about 50,000 individuals are illegally brought into the USA. Because of the measures that were taken by the US government to combat trafficking in person, this number has reduced significantly. In 2012, about 14,500 – 17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the United States.

The estimates of human trafficking are mainly based on international trafficking victims. According to the studies, about 244,000 American children are at the risk of sexual exploitation. Every year about 199,000 cases of children and youth sexual exploitation occur in the United States (Estes & Weiner, 2001). These figures do not include adults or children trafficked for labor exploitation. Besides domestic sex trafficking, American citizens are being trafficked for labor exploitation. Children can also become victims of forced labor as they are easier controlled and cheaper (Herzfeld, 2002).

According to the reports of the International Labor Organization, labor exploitation exists in Africa and Latin America. However, the evidence of labor exploitation can be found in developed countries, such as the United States. It is also reported that females are more likely to become victims of commercial sexual exploitation, while males are trafficked for forced labor.

Actual prevalence of trafficking in persons into and within the USA remains uncertain because of a particular range of reasons. Victims of human trafficking can be brought into the United States illegally. Lack of immigration documents makes it difficult to estimate the exact number of victims. The available data on human trafficking often contains duplicate estimations. Because of the different definitions of the victims of human trafficking, the data can be incorrectly recorded by the services and law enforcement (Clawson, Layne, & Small, 2006).

The definition of human trafficking was a subject of debate for many years. Until the 1990s, human trafficking was determined as a form of human smuggling. It was considered to be one of the forms of illegal immigration (Laczko and Gramegna, 2003). Nowadays, human trafficking is defined distinctly from smuggling. Trafficking was also determined as the trade of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation or other immoral purposes. The later definitions added other forms of force usage, fraud, and coercion apart from sexual exploitation to the trafficking. It has been also defined that people do not have to be transported across national borders in order to prove the existence of trafficking.

The US legislation constitutes that transportation of the victims is not necessary for the crime to be determined as human trafficking. The presence of forced exploitation is a key factor that indicates the occurrence of trafficking in person. Human trafficking can occur within a particular country. Protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in person, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transformational organized crime (2000) determines human trafficking as:

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.

Exploitation can include any form of sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, or action similar to slavery, servitude, or selling of organs (Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in person, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transformational organized crime, 2000). According to the Protocol (2003), the process of human trafficking includes several constituents. It consists of the act of trafficking in person, the means, and the purpose.

The act of human trafficking includes the recruitment of people, their transportation, transfer, and reception of victims. These processes can be reached by different means, such as force usage, coercion, roguery, abuse of power, as well as giving money for people in control of the trafficking victims. People are trafficked for different purposes, among which sexual or labor exploitation, slavery, and selling of organs.

The TVPA determines severe forms of human trafficking. Thus, sex trafficking foresees commercial sex acts of the people under 18 years of age-induced by force. The commercial sex act can be determined as a sex act when some value is paid to or received by any person. There are different types of sex trafficking. It can include prostitution, pornography, stripping, male-order brides, and sex tourism. A victim of trafficking can be described as a person forced into prostitution. People, involved in recruiting, transporting, or receiving persons for that purpose, must be responsible for trafficking crimes. Sex trafficking can also be a result of debt bondage. The US legislation prohibits the usage of children in commercial sexual exploitation.

There are definitions of human trafficking in the legislation of the separate states. Thus, the California Legislation introduces human trafficking as acts of recruitment, transportation, sale or receipt of people across or within national borders with the usage of force, coercion, fraud to place victims in slavery-like conditions, forced labor, prostitution, and sexual services, domestic servitude, or debt bondage. The California legislation also defines the traffickers of the illegal business. Thus, anyone who violates personal liberty and rights with the aim of obtaining forced labor or services is considered to be a trafficker. Violation of the rights includes restriction of the liberties through fraud, coercion, violence, or threat of injury to a person. Forced labor and services include labor or services provided by a person and obtained by means of force usage, fraud, coercion, and depression of the rights.

Labor trafficking is determined as recruitment, transportation, and receiving of a person through the use of force, fraud, or coercion with the purpose of involuntary servitude, forced labor, or services. Labor trafficking can take forms of domestic servitude, restaurant work, factory and agricultural works, etc. (Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, 2000). Illegal immigrants are especially vulnerable to this form of trafficking. However, there are a lot of examples when people were forced to labor in their native countries. Female victims of forced labor traffic can often be sexually exploited. Children can also become victims of labor trafficking. Despite the fact that children can work legally in certain positions, they can be engaged in illegal forms of work.

Other types of human trafficking can include debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, unlawful recruitment, and human trafficking for organs.

Under the legislation of the United States, trafficking victims in the USA can be divided into three groups. The first group includes minors under 18 years-old who are induced into commercial sexual exploitation. The second group includes adults who are involved in commercial sexual exploitation with the use of force. The third group includes children and adults who are forced to labor or services activities. Human trafficking is considered a crime under US legislation. The US legislation prohibits the use of bonds or debt as a form of coercion. The facts of debt bondage are rare in the United States. However, debt bondage is a widespread phenomenon in South Asia where millions of the trafficked people are forced to work in order to pay off their ancestor’s debts.

Involuntary domestic servitude can also be found in the modern world. Victims usually are forced to work at private residences. As a result, they work in the informal, often isolated environment. Thus, they can not be protected by the government because authorities do not have the power to inspect private homes for violation of the legislation.

Children can also become victims of unlawful recruitment. In 2003 and 2004, more than 50 17-year old American soldiers were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to take part in hostilities. Child soldiers are often sexually abused. Nowadays, the US legislation prohibits any military forces to recruit child soldiers. The child soldiers are defined as any person less than 18 years of age who takes part in the military operations as a member of the armed forces.

Trafficking for organs is not as prevalent as sex and labor trafficking; however, it remains widespread. The demand for legally available for transplantation organs exceeds the supply of organs. According to the World Health Organization, every year about 7,000 kidneys are illegally sold by traffickers. Besides this, people are killed for bones, blood, or other body parts. The United Nations Trafficking in Person Protocol prohibits any kind of trafficking for organs.

In general, the greater amount of human trafficking victims is forced into sexual exploitation. According to the researches conducted by the University of California, about 46 percent of trafficked people in the United States are victims of sexual exploitation, particularly forced into prostitution. Sex trafficking is tightly related to migrant smuggling operations held by Mexican, Asian, and Eastern European crime organizations. About 27 percent of trafficked people are forced to work at domestic servitude. There is also a high amount of trafficked people, who are forced to work in agriculture. The other 17% of victims are forced into different occupations.

According to the studies held by the National Human Rights Center of California, there are about 10,000 trafficked people in the United States who are forced labor. About 3,000 victims are in domestic servitude. There is also a great number of children among the people trafficked for labor purposes. However, this number is not exact. On the one hand, the number of labor trafficking victims can be higher as there are a lot of illegal immigrants who can be forced to work in the United States. On the other hand, the number can be lower because of no evidence and arrests of people responsible for human trafficking. It is also difficult to calculate the exact number of human trafficking victims as the US government only conducts an account of victims of severe instances.

These victims are giving immigration benefits. The practice of forcing children into labor came to the United States from Africa. It is a well-known fact that many families in remote African villages send their children, especially daughters, to work in the cities for a certain payment. Some kids work for free, but they get food and living conditions. This practice led to the increasing in the number of children trafficking for domestic labor in the United States.

According to the Department of State report, people are usually trafficked from such countries as Thailand, India, Mexico, Haiti, Honduras, Philippines, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic. American citizens also become victims of human trafficking (Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2011). The high-population areas with large immigrant populations appear to be the main regions where human trafficking occurs. Thus, California, New York, Texas, and Florida are the places of concentration of human trafficking. According to the reports of the US Department of Justice, California, Oklahoma, New York, and Texas are among the states with the biggest amounts of human trafficking victims. These states serve as hubs of international immigrants.

There are a lot of consequences of human trafficking. As trafficking in person has a negative influence on the victims, it also has economic impacts. Victims of labor trafficking, especially sex trafficking ones, face threats of violence. They can experience violence from criminal organizations that are responsible for human smuggling and exploitation, fr owners, customers, or law enforcement. Besides this, victims can suffer from psychological stressors. The facts of social alienation can also take place as immigrants have to live in different from home countries' conditions. The local governments do not offer full assistance for trafficking victims in their reintegration into the local communities. This results in the social exclusion of survivors of human trafficking.

Very often, the trafficked people are also pushed into drug or arms selling. As a result, they can face criminal sanctions. The International Labor Organization has estimated that every year human trafficking generates $ 32 billion. About $ 15 billion is generated in the developed countries, including the United States, and about $ 10 billion is generated in Asia. According to the Human Rights Review, since the beginning of the 21st century, the amount of people trafficked for sexual exploitation has increased while costs associated with sex trafficking have reduced.

On average, traffickers have to pay about $ 2,000 per sex slave and can generate up to $ 30,000 annually. Thus, the commercial sex trade is more likely to grow in the future (Sex Trafficking: Trends, Challenges, and Limitations of International Law, 2011). Moreover, victims of sex or labor trafficking usually do not receive great amounts of money for their work and services.

The US Government pays special attention to the facts of child trafficking. According to the studies, the number of trafficked children within the United States is extremely high. Children are sold into sex or labor exploitation all over the country in the big cities and small towns. The TVPA made child sex trafficking illegal. Under the legislation, it is illegal to recruit, transport, and exploit children under the age of 18 for commercial purposes. Besides federal legislation, every state has adopted laws forbidding the trafficking of children. The children can become victims of sex trafficking at the age of 11 to 14. However, often children are imprisoned and punished by law enforcement for providing sex services. For example, in 2006, more than 1,500 children were arrested for prostitution.

There are a lot of reasons for the existence of human trafficking. Similarly to drug and arms trafficking, trafficking in persons is a market-driven criminal industry. Human trafficking is a result of the realization of the market principles of supply and demand. A lot of factors make people vulnerable to trafficking. However, the fact of human trafficking does not exist because of people’s vulnerability to exploitation. Human trafficking takes place because of the demand for cheap labor, services, or the commercial sex trade. Traffickers make attempts to benefit from the existing demand. As a result, they exploit other people and force them to labor or sexual relations.

In order to solve the problem of human trafficking, it is necessary to address existing demand-supply factors and to alter the market incentives of high-profit and low-risk that traffickers use to get economic benefits. Besides this factor, labor and sex trafficking of American citizens and immigrants exist because of a number of reasons.

  1. Firstly, human trafficking takes place in modern society because of the low risk. Human traffickers experience little risk in conduction their crimes. That happens because the community is usually unaware of the problem of human trafficking, governmental institutions do not respond to the crime, and the legislation can not provide the necessary protection of the victims and punishment of the traffickers.
  2. Secondly, traffickers get high profits for people’s labor or sexual exploitation. There is a profitable market that has demand for commercial sex and forced labor. Thus, the situation must be changed. Traffickers must be punished in accordance with the legislation, and the environment of demand-supply for trafficking in person must be studied.

Public Understanding of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious international problem. However, the American public is highly unaware of the issues of sex or labor trafficking in the United States. The media does not inform the public about trafficking in person properly. Sometimes serious questions that can protect citizens from trafficking in person are not paid attention to. Human trafficking is a complicated issue that consists of illegal activities of sex and labor trafficking. For centuries, trafficking in person was one of the biggest problems. However, the fact that millions of people in the United States are engaged in trafficking and sexual exploitation has been discussed as a question of the biggest importance for the last years. According to the studies, human trafficking is the second largest illegal business in the world. Despite this fact, the number of people who are aware of the problem appears to be really low.

The media plays an important role in informing and educating people about different aspects of everyday life. Moreover, it can help to combat illegal businesses, such as human trafficking, as well as drug or arms selling through presenting the problem on the pages of newspapers or in the TV programs.

However, the media coverage of the human trafficking problem is weak not only in the United States but all over the world. Newspaper articles do not highlight the problem or confuse it with other related issues, such as illegal migration or smuggling. The media can help to combat the appearance of human trafficking cases through several means.

  1. Firstly, it can highlight the problem by writing articles about human trafficking. The data on human trafficking can not only educate people but illuminate the problem that is not usually mentioned.
  2. Secondly, the media can provide assistance for the victims. Despite the printings about cases of human trafficking, newspapers can inform people about the legislation procedures concerning the protection of the victims. It is important to pay attention to the victims that they can get the necessary support in the governmental agencies.
  3. Thirdly, the media should identify traffickers. There are some examples when the reporters have made a contribution to the imprisonment of the traffickers.

Another reason for the low coverage of the human trafficking problem is the perceived values and rights of women. In some countries, women can meet inequalities comparing to men. They can not occupy certain positions and have a lower status in society. This fact forces women to look for better social conditions, and very often they may become victims of sexual exploitation. The International Abolition Federation demonstrates that all women, including prostitutes, must have equal rights, deserve justice, and liberation (Limoncelli, 2010).

At the end of the 20th century, when the Soviet Union collapsed the globalization strengthened human trafficking and made it easier for traffickers to smuggle and sold people, the media paid more attention to the facts of trafficking in persons. With globalization, trafficking became an even more serious problem, as with access to new technologies and Internet traffickers received easier ways to exploit people. Today, traffickers can move their victims across national borders easier.

The analysis of human trafficking can demonstrate how illegal business has grown in the United States. Because of several reasons, the number of trafficked victims has increased. Thus, in the United States, from 100,000 to 300,000 children become victims of sex trafficking every year. Moreover, there are thousands of women brought into the USA. First of all, the victims are not only brought from other countries, but they are kidnapped in the United States. It is easier for traffickers to find women within the country as they do not need to transport victims across the national borders.

The other reasons that contribute to sexual exploitation are pornography and the Internet display of the sex industry. There is also a myth that human trafficking in the United States occurs only in several big cities or near the border. According to recent studies, traffickers have a well-developed network of the sex industry. They live and make their illegal businesses in the most affluent counties of the United States, such as Montgomery and Fairfax. States with a strong commitment to the citizens’ welfare, like Minnesota, have also become the largest trafficking centers. Traditionally, California, Texas, and Florida suffer from human trafficking due to their location near a coast or border. Because of a great number of trucking routes, there are a lot of trafficked victims in North Carolina (Shelly, 2010).

In order to examine the coverage of sex trafficking in the media, the counting of the number of articles in the New York Times’ website archives concerning sex trafficking in the United States was made. As a result, the issue of trafficking in person was not registered in the public eye. The number of articles on human trafficking on the website of the New York Times includes about 6,000 results. However, the number of articles concerning the problem is much lower. It comprises about 1,500 results. It must be mentioned that the coverage of similar issues, such as drugs or arms selling, is better.

For example, the number of generated results for drug trafficking was much higher. There were about 12,000 results with more than 4,500 articles. Some articles on sex trafficking were connected with the general problem of trafficking in person or related to organ selling or drug trafficking. The number of articles that highlight the problem of sex trafficking in the United States includes 131 articles. These articles were published from 2000 to 2012. 88 articles were focused on the problem of sex trafficking on the international scale, and 51 articles were aimed at highlighting sex trafficking in the USA.

The analysis of the frequency of sex trafficking coverage in the media can demonstrate the scale of public awareness and the development of the recognition of the problem. Thus, in 2000, there were no articles that were particularly related to the problem of sex trafficking. In 2001, there was one article concerning sex exploitation in the United States; though, there were several articles on sex trafficking in Italy and Asian countries. In 2002 and 2003, the articles highlighted the problem of the illegal sex industry in foreign countries, and a few of them described the peculiarities of sex trafficking combating. However, the cases of the punishment of traffickers were not mentioned in the media. In 2004, the first article that described the experience of a trafficked girl appeared in the New York Times.

In 2005, the number of articles on sex trafficking increased significantly. Besides newspapers, the movies began to pay public attention to the problem of trafficking. In 2006, articles on sex trafficking outnumbered other types of articles. However, they were focused on the problem of international sex trafficking. During the next six years, the media coverage of sex trafficking increased significantly. Movies, TV shows, and books described the problem in its history, illustrated the examples of human trafficking, dwelt on its consequences, and raised the awareness of the public. The articles were focused on the problem of sex trafficking within the United States.

It should be mentioned that the articles were more opinion-based rather than informing about actual arrests and punishment of the traffickers. In consecutive years, the number of articles describing cases of sex trafficking increased. During 2008-2012, articles mentioned the Craigslists. In 2009, the number of articles on domestic and international sex trafficking was almost equal (Martinelly, 2012). Thus, the coverage of the problem has increased significantly, and the awareness of the public has come on a new level.

Besides the media, different websites and non-profit and individual organizations are fighting human trafficking by means of increasing the population awareness of the problem. However, the problem of human trafficking still exists and remains an unknown issue for many Americans. Thus, the perception of an illegal business has not changed. The media can pay people’s attention to the problem through front-page actions. It is necessary to demonstrate the phenomenon of human trafficking, its consequences for people, and factors that facilitate the development of illegal business in order to inform citizens about the problem. This can help to reduce the facts on modern slavery and protect victims from exploitation. The media has an opportunity to mobilize public support and efforts to combat human trafficking. It can become a powerful instrument of social change.

Methodology

The research on human trafficking in the United States is still developing. The data on human trafficking is based primarily on overviews, commentaries, and information provided by the governmental agencies rather than sociological studies (Kelly, 2002). The research was conducted from the general to specific, beginning with a literature review and culminating with the development of a method that illustrates the problems of human trafficking. The research was conducted according to the approach that included three key directions.

  1. Firstly, the literature review of human trafficking, including data on the definition of trafficking in person, as well as the prevalence of human trafficking, its main types, and indicators, was done.
  2. Secondly, the development of the methods according to which the analysis of human trafficking in the United States was made.
  3. Lastly, the data analysis was conducted in order to generate findings on the topic.

Data Collection

The data used in this work was collected from different sources. The information about human trafficking in the United States was obtained from published papers, official Web sites of the Federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Agency for International Development, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, and Office of Refugee Resettlement, government publications, nongovernmental organizations, United Nations institutions, as well as prosecuted legal cases and involved acts of trafficking in person.

Data Analysis

A quantitative content analysis of the data was made in order to generate findings on human trafficking in the United States. The data was analyzed using Descriptive statistics. The following statistics were used to analyze data on human trafficking. The information was analyzed for the percentage of the population in the risk of human trafficking.

Data Analysis of the Factors of Human Trafficking

Labor trafficking comprises all forms of forced labor and services. In the United States, victims of human trafficking are forced to work at domestic servitude, factories, enterprises, and farms. Sex trafficking is determined as the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults. In the United States, the victims of sex trafficking are forced to work in the sex industry, street prostitution, escort services, and brothels. According to the US legislation, the victims of human trafficking include American citizens and foreign nationals, children and adults, men and women.

Human trafficking is one of the biggest criminal industries. Thus, the US government and researchers are studying the factors of human trafficking, the estimation of the number of trafficked people, as well as the realization of anti-trafficking legislation.

Human trafficking is determined by the range of factors, such as poverty, globalization, demand for sexual exploitation, government corruption, political and institution challenges, and social norms.

Poverty influences human trafficking in different ways. Firstly, people are often forced to make decisions to move abroad illegally, due to poverty. Desperation and lack of education can influence the decision of the parents to send their children to work in developed countries, such as the United States. Very often children are engaged in sexual exploitation or labor exploitation. The situation can become even worth as victims often accept their position and do not make any attempts to escape from traffickers. In some cases, victims can live in better conditions in domestic servitude than in their homelands. Gender inequalities that prevent women from occupying certain positions force females to work in the informal sectors. Often, they become victims of sexual exploitation.

Globalization and its consequences have increased the rate of trafficking in person. Globalization has increased the demand for cheap labor and made a cross-border trade easier. Globalization has opened national borders to the exchange of goods and services; labor migration has also enlarged. At the same time, the US migration legislation remained unchanged. This fact forces people to move illegally to countries that provide better working conditions. Thus, illegal immigrants can become victims of human trafficking. Moreover, due to a great number of illegal immigrants in the United States, it is difficult to make an exact estimation of the trafficked victims. Illegal immigration creates perfect conditions for the development of organized crimes. The rural areas offer better working and living conditions due to globalization.

Because of this, people from poor areas migrate to industrialized countries. Therefore, their desperate position makes them the subject of sex or labor exploitation. The technological advantages of globalization facilitate the process of human trafficking. For example, the development of Internet technologies has influenced sex trafficking. Online websites and social networks provide a wide range of commercial sex services and make it easier for traffickers to market, recruit, exploit, and sell women. Such social sites as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace are suspected for commercial sex purposes. According to the studies, the Internet is determined as one of the biggest facilitators of commercial sex exploitation.

However, it is difficult to determine which women advertised on the Internet can become victims of sex trafficking. The social networks are also used by the traffickers to exploit children as the usage of the Internet by minors has increased significantly. According to recent researches, victims and clients use Internet websites to meet customers.

Although globalization and the development of the technologies facilitate human trafficking, they can assist law enforcement and increase the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts. Thus, the analysis of social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, can help to detect sex trafficking and provide punishment for traffickers.

Demand for commercial sex is the second reason for the expansion of human trafficking. The nature of sex trafficking is often explained as the result of the market supply and demand model. A demand for prostitutes keeps the market of sex services and work, as well as fosters sex trafficking in particular. Human trafficking is a widely spread phenomenon because of the demand for cheap labor, services, or the commercial sex trade. Trafficked victims usually do not require wages or safe working conditions. At the same time, traffickers get high incomes from the exploitation of people.

Crime organizations make attempts to benefit from the existing demand. As a result, traffickers exploit other people and force them to labor or sexual relations. In order to solve the problem of human trafficking, it is necessary to address existing demand-supply factors and to alter the market incentives of high-profit and low-risk that traffickers use to get the economic benefits.

Some experts also believe that sex trafficking exists because of the facts of prostitution. Prostitution is one of the forms of labor. Scientists suppose that when women agree to be engaged in sex work in foreign countries, they can be considered the victims of sex trafficking. Because of the criminalization of prostitution, prostitutes have become the object of exploitation and sex trafficking.

Government corruption is another reason for human trafficking. The US government offers protection and support for the victims of human trafficking. However, the trafficked people rarely use governmental protection because of fear of deportation reprisals or government corruption. Some corrupt governments even can support the industry of human trafficking. Other countries provide an unreliable police system that can not ensure the protection of the victims and punishment of traffickers. On such occasions, the victims of human trafficking hesitate to contact law enforcement or other agencies.

In China alone, the profit from women trafficking makes up from 1 to 3 billion dollars. It is possible because of the economic benefits and political corruption that help traffickers to deport women from the country. Very often, the governmental agencies responsible for human trafficking combating receive profits from the illegal business.

Traffickers are able to find so many victims because of the social conditions in which people live. The one-child law in China, the destructive nature of war, or the status of illegal immigrants in the United States facilitate the development of human trafficking (Naim, 2005). In the USA, victims are afraid of getting assistance from law enforcement because of their status of illegal immigrants. There were cases when police had arrested women for being illegally in the United States instead of arresting their traffickers (Bennets, 2011).

In many cases, the fear of deportation becomes the main reason why victims of human trafficking refuse to address law enforcement. The trafficked people are usually brought into the United States illegally. As a result, they are afraid of being deported back to their homeland where they can be left for the mercy of the traffickers.

Thus, a complex of factors influences sex trafficking in the United States. Among these factors poverty, social norms, discrimination, demand, and supply of sex and labor trafficking, as well as globalization and its consequences can be mentioned.

The corrupt government and inadequately trained law enforcement can be engaged in human trafficking operations. In certain situations, they can commit violence against trafficked victims. The anti-trafficking legislation can also be in conflict with the situation. Sex workers establish unions and institutions in order to protect their rights. They contradict the law enforcement activities that are aimed at eliminating human trafficking and its results. The unions and organizations that protect the rights of sex workers can have conflicts with the police while they try to bring women out of the sex industry. Thus, the criminalization of sex work and services can decrease human trafficking in general.

A political situation in the country can influence human trafficking, as well. Social conflicts and civil wars that may occur in the country push people for illegal migration into the more stable and economically developed countries. According to the studies, the large countries, the richest and the poorest countries, as well as countries with restricted freedom of the media are more likely to be engaged in sex or labor trafficking. Countries with the transitional economies are 19 times more likely to be in the rank of the highest trafficking category. Besides this, the gender inequalities of the labor market also can influence human trafficking in the country, especially concerning women trafficking.

According to the US Department of State report given in 2013, Russia and China are the worst offenders concerning combating labor and sex trafficking. Thus, the United States can raise the possibility of the implementation of sanctions against these countries. The annual Trafficking in Persons Report provides information concerning the countries’ efforts in combating human trafficking. There are three groups of countries distinguished depending on the level of governmental compliance with the standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

There are countries that fully comply with the standards of the TVPA, countries that partly comply with the commitments, and countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards and do not make efforts to combat human trafficking. According to the information, the United States develops strategies of cooperation with the world community.

Females are more inclined to trafficking because of the social norms and inequalities that discriminate their status in society. In some countries, women face gender discrimination, thus looking for different working positions. According to some religious beliefs, the birth of a girl is a result of bad karma, and such girls cannot occupy the same position in society as boys. As a result, girls are more vulnerable to sex and labor exploitation.

Sex Trafficking in the USA

Human sex trafficking is one of the forms of modern slavery. The number of victims of sex trafficking among the population of the United States and the international population is estimated in millions. Women and children are more likely to become victims of sexual exploitation. They are enslaved into the commercial sex industry for little amounts of money or no money at all (Parrot, 2008). Despite the widespread fact that sex trafficking occurs mainly in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, sex slavery also happens in such countries as the United States.

Sex trafficking is not only one of the forms of modern slavery but also is one of the fastest-growing forms of organized crime. It is also considered the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world (Parrot, 2008). The majority of the victims of sexual exploitation are internationals who usually come from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. People migrate to the developed countries of Asia, the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. Moreover, sex trafficking is a domestic problem as American citizens also become victims of trafficking in person. The United States faces a serious problem with the sex trafficking of minors. The exact number of youth engaged in sexual exploitation is unknown. It is considered that about 293,000 American children are at the risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking.

The majority of children who become victims of sexual exploitation is a runaway or thrown-away minors. These children run from their homes, where they are usually abused, stay in the streets, and become victims of sexual exploitation. These children are looking for the means of financial support. Young people can be forced to sex exploitation through abduction or pressure from parents. As soon as children are involved in sex trafficking, they become involved in prostitution, drug use, and constant threats.

According to the studies, boys are forced into prostitution between the age of 11 and 13, and girls become victims of sexual exploitation at the age of 12 or 14. Victims of sex trafficking are usually transported nationally. Criminal organizations transport children from one place to another all around the United States. They are transported by different means – cars, buses, planes, ships, or tracks.

The number of people trafficked into the United States for the purpose of sex or labor exploitation is not estimated. It is considered that about 18,000 foreigners are illegally brought into the United States every year. The number of American citizens forced to provide commercial sex services is even higher. More than 200,000 Americans are at risk of trafficking.

Sex trafficking has become much more organized and serious. Victims of sexual exploitation are kept in brothels; they are drugged and terrorized. Sex trafficking victims are often afraid of their offenders and do not take any chance to escape from them. Sex trafficking is a well-organized business. It has its own system and the network of the means and ways of sex exploitation of people. The system has a complex hierarchy. Traffickers also represent a particular social group. Trafficking has different organizational types. Some sex traffickers can be involved in the drug or arms selling; they can have a local or nation-wide scope.

In order to control the victims, traffickers use force, drugs, financial methods, and physiological tactics. They easily establish strong relations with girls. Traffickers can promise girls stable relations or even marriage. Thus, the traffickers can control and influence the victims. The usage of force often remains the only way that helps traffickers to control victims. The victims of sex trafficking may become addicted to drugs.

The drug use is also considered an effective way of the victims’ control. In the majority of cases, traffickers take all identity documents in order to prevent victims form escape. When victims leave traffickers they have little opportunity to support themselves, and they are forced to come back to the traffickers. These methods can also impact victims physically and mentally. Children under the age of 18 are considered to be victims of sex trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud, and coercion.

There are different types of sexual exploitation in the United States. For example, the cases of commercial sex exploitation can be found in some legal businesses. Under the shielding of massage services, women can be forced into prostitution. There are cases when women have been found in brothels distinguished as massage businesses. The victims were forced to provide commercial sex to 6 or even more men per day, 7 days per week. Often, the institutions operate as commercial-front brothels that offer legal services.

The victims of sexual exploitation are mainly women from Asia; however, females from other countries or citizens of the United States can also become victims of sex trafficking. Victims are vulnerable to trafficking due to their immigrant status, financial need, language barrier, or unfamiliarity with their legal rights. In the United States, there are more than 5,000 fake massage businesses that provide commercial sex.

Since the development of technologies, sex trafficking has become internet-based. The Internet is considered to be the number one resource that human traffickers use to buy and sell people for sex in the United States. Victims that are forced to work in escort services, in-call and out-call services, pornography, prostitution, and brothels distinguished as massage businesses are often introduced on the websites. Online social networks provide a wide range of commercial sex services and make it easier for traffickers to market, recruit, exploit, and sell women.

The most common social sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace are suspected for commercial sex purposes. According to the studies, the Internet is determined as one of the biggest facilitators of commercial sex exploitation. However, it is difficult to determine which women advertised on the Internet can become victims of sex trafficking.

Another form of sex trafficking is sexual exploitation at residential brothels. Victims at brothels are forced to provide sex services to a great number of men every day. There were cases when women had to provide services up to 4 men per hour. In these networks, victims are predominantly being brought from Latin America, and victims provide commercial sex services for Latino men only. The majority of the brothels are closed networks located in homes, condos, apartments, and trailers. Traffickers usually do not use the Internet to introduce their services and advertise commercial sex thought distributing business cards.

The exploitation of women at brothels becomes a crime of human trafficking when brothel operators use force to control women and engage them in commercial sex services. The victims in residential brothels are mainly illegal immigrants without any identification documents. Thus, they become vulnerable to sex exploitation due to the fear of deportation. Traffickers also enslave women who experience financial hardship. The victims are often kept in brothels and are not allowed to leave the location except the transportation to another network.

The victims of sex trafficking are also engaged in street prostitution. Traffickers force women to provide commercial sex services on the streets through physical abuse, different kinds of threats, manipulation, and false promises of a better life. The women are expected to earn up to $ 1000 or more per day, and the whole amount of money is usually taken by the trafficker. American citizens are commonly becoming victims of street prostitution. An illegal immigrant can also be forced to provide commercial sex services on the streets. 12 years old children were found in street prostitution.

The victims of sex and labor exploitation can be found in traditional hostess clubs and strip clubs all over the United States. The victims are forced to provide commercial sex services besides traditional duties. Among the victims, there are American citizens, illegal immigrants, or foreign tourists. Women usually become victims of sexual exploitation, along with minors. In the United States, there are different types of strip club networks that exploit people. There are stripping networks, hostess clubs, and so-called “cantinas”. Women from Eastern Europe usually work at strip clubs. Hostess clubs are legal businesses connected with fake massage businesses. They are usually located in commercial areas and provide services for Asian clients.

“Cantinas” provide the legal business of serving food, drinks, music, and dancing for male clients. Usually, there are cases of labor trafficking as victims are forced to sell certain quantities of goods and services. However, there are occasions when victims are forced to provide commercial sex services, as well. Stripping, dancing, and possessing are considered to be a crime of human trafficking if the victims are forced to work in a certain sphere and provide commercial sex services. Sex trafficking can be considered labor trafficking, as well, if the victims are forced to perform labor services.

Besides providing escort services, women can be forced to work at escort agencies. Escort agencies provide in-call and out-call services. In-call services foresee that clients come to victims' locations, and out-call services provide an escort of victims to the clients’ location. An agency is responsible for the advertising of the company through the Internet, the appointment of the meeting, providing transportation to the locations, and monitoring victims’ behavior and earnings. Mainly, women provide escort services in the United States. Escort services are usually connected with residential brothels.

It is widely spread the practice of sex exploitation at the truck stops within the United States. Sex trafficking at truck stops is usually performed in two forms. It is provided by prostitution organizations and fake massage businesses when the victims are forced to provide commercial sex services. It should be mentioned that not all facts of prostitution at truck stops are considered to be trafficked victims. Very often, women offer commercial sex at track spots independently and are not forced by the traffickers. Sex trafficking at truck spots has its peculiarities compared to other types of sexual exploitation. For example, traffickers use different types of communication to inform about their services, such as radio or Internet websites. The victims are also can be forced to steal personal belongings from the trucks.

The facts of sexual exploitation can occur anywhere in the United States. Thus, law enforcement should investigate all cases of trafficking in persons. The agencies of the FBI target international criminal organizations, including people, assets, and property that support the human trafficking business. The agencies strive to prevent acts of human trafficking in the United States by means of the protection of the victims and prosecuting the traffickers. It is also must be mentioned that sex trafficking begins at the local level first and then gains international expansion.

In order to engage people in sex trafficking, criminals offer people legal jobs. However, they are simply forced into prostitution. The victims experience violence or threat of the punishment of their families. Thus, they cannot escape easily. Women at brothels have to provide commercial sex with six or even more men per day. The brothels operate as legal institutions that provide different kinds of services, such as massage. However, they provide commercial sex services. In the United States, there are more than 5,000 massage businesses that provide commercial sex.

According to reports, in the United States, the majority of victims of sex trafficking are principally women from Asia. The brothels can be located in each of 50 states in strip malls, office buildings, or even homes. The traffickers expect victims to earn from $ 500 to $ 1000 or even more, and the whole amount is being confiscated by the traffickers.

Thus, sex trafficking takes place when people are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Child sex trafficking is defined as any involvement of minors in commercial sex operations. Traffickers use force and psychological methods in order to control their victims. Moreover, traffickers target vulnerable people as it is easier to manipulate and control them.

Sex trafficking exists on the international and national levels. Sex trafficking can be found in the traditional sex industry. The thousands of women and minors are forced to provide commercial sex services.

 

Labor Trafficking in the USA

As was mentioned above, human trafficking became a big business. It involved almost every country in the world, including the United States. While the attention of the public is paid to sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking is more prevalent.

According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, labor trafficking is defined as “the provision, recruitment, transportation, harboring, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery” (cited in Creating a culture free of slavery to end human trafficking, 2012). Labor trafficking can have different forms, such as bonded labor, forced labor, or child labor. Bonded labor takes place when victims are bonded with traffickers by means of repayment. The victims are forced to work in order to pay away a certain sum of borrowed money.

Usually, the amount of provided services or work is much higher than the amount of borrowed money. Forced labor is determined as a situation when victims have to work against their will under the threat of punishment. There are different forms of forced labor. They include domestic servitude, agricultural and factory labor, service industry, and begging. Child labor foresees the involvement of minors to certain kinds of labor exploitation. It can negatively influence health or physical, mental, moral, or social development. According to the reports of the International Labor Organization, there are about 150 million children exploited worldwide.

Victims of human trafficking belong to different social groups. Children, teenagers, and adults can become victims of labor trafficking. There is a great number of illegal immigrants, as well as American citizens among the trafficked people.

The victims of labor trafficking can be identified due to the following patterns. The victims of labor trafficking are kept separately in order to prevent them from getting any assistance. Their activities are restricted, and they are always followed by the traffickers. Victims can be threatened with the possibility of reporting on them to the immigration offices. Trafficked people are brought into the United States from socially unstable and economically undeveloped countries. The population in such countries is more vulnerable than the other groups of the population. The victims of labor trafficking are usually illiterate and look for better economic opportunities. Gender inequalities are the driving force of women in labor exploitation.

Labor trafficking violates the insurance of human rights. Moreover, the victims of human trafficking suffer from physical or mental health problems. People are often forced to work in unsafe working conditions. As a result, they can experience acts of violence and develop chronic diseases. Trafficked children forced to work at certain positions can have problems with physical and mental development.

The victims of labor trafficking have a right to receive assistance from the US government. The assistance includes the stabilization of immigration status and receiving support in rebuilding the lives of the victims in the United States. Thus, the US Department of Health and Human Services ensures victims of human trafficking who have come from other countries' benefits and services of the refugees. American citizens who have become trafficked victims also receive a lot of benefits. Victims are provided with food, health care, and employment. Moreover, they can receive skill training for job experience.

According to the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2012, the amount of labor trafficking victims has increased significantly compared to sex trafficking victims. Moreover, the Department of Health and Human Services and non-governmental organizations informed about the rise in labor trafficking victims in the United States. There are several reasons for the occurrence of child and adult forced labor in the USA. Firstly, it is more difficult to identify labor victims than sex trafficking victims. Very often, trafficked people can be mistakenly taken for smuggled immigrants. Secondly, law enforcement is less aware of labor legislation to identify cases of labor trafficking in different working conditions.

Traffickers usually threaten immigrants with arrest or deportation even if the workers have the legal right to work in the United States. As it was mentioned above, labor trafficking can have different forms. Thus, the victims of forced labor can be found among farmworkers, including men, women, whole families, or children. They usually harvest crops, breed cattle or other animals, gather plants and orchards. Among seasonal farmworkers, there are American citizens, illegal immigrants, and foreign nationals with temporary visas. Agricultural work can often be isolated and permanent, so workers have to travel all over the country in order to find work. Traffickers use these peculiarities along with debt bondage and usage of force to hold farmworkers under the conditions of servitude.

According to the legislation, exploitation in agriculture is considered as trafficking if the employer uses force to control the workers. Since the adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, some cases of human exploitation appeared in the sphere of agriculture. The Department of Justice in the state of Florida has prosecuted seven labor trafficking cases. As a result, about 1,000 victims were liberated from exploitation and received assistance from the authorities. Besides, the Department of Justice charged human trafficking to the labor recruiting company Global Horizons. The Company recruited more than 400 Thai workers who were forced to work in agriculture. The victims were found in more than 13 states all over the United States. They did not have any documents and were threatened by traffickers with deportation from the country.

Another form of forced labor is domestic servitude. Similarly to exploitation in agriculture, the victims of domestic servitude can be found among American citizens, illegal immigrants, or foreigners who can work in the United States due to their visas. They usually work in private households and perform different kinds of work, such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, child-care, and other household work. Victims of domestic servitude are mostly women. They are forced to work from 10 to 16 hours per day for little payment or no pay at all. Males can also become victims of domestic servitude, but it happens rarely.

In the United States, victims of sex and labor trafficking can be found in brothels or strip clubs. Apart from providing commercial sex services, the victims can be forced to work as dancers or hostesses, sell drinks and food. The victims are usually women, but some traffickers can exploit children, as well. There are different types of strip club networks in the United States where people are forced to provide services. For example, there are Russian Stripping Networks, Asian Hostess Clubs, and Latino Cantinas in the USA. Most of them are legitimate businesses, but they also provide illegal services.

Cases of labor trafficking in the restaurant industry occurred in Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Victims of human trafficking in the restaurant business are forced to work as kitchen staff, cooks, or waiters. They work for low payments or no pay at all. Usually, they experience irregular working hours with no days off. Kitchen stuff, dishwashers, and cooks have to work more than 70 hours per week and receive low wages. In the United States, more than 60 percent of workers in the restaurant business are immigrants. Work at a restaurant is considered to be a human trafficking act if the employer uses force to frighten workers and to make them believe that there are no other choices except working at a restaurant. In some cases, law enforcement has uncovered bars and restaurants that forced women not only to work but also to provide commercial sex services.

The victims of labor trafficking can also be forced to work in factories. Traffickers can suppress the victims in locked factories or plants and force them to work. In the United States, the cases of labor trafficking in manufacturing usually occur in the light and food industry. Men and women can become victims of labor trafficking in manufacturing. They are forced to work up to 12 hours per day, 6-7 days per week. People can be trafficked into assembling, sewing, canning, or packing goods, slaughtering.

In the United States, the victims of human trafficking have been found in sales crews peddling or begging rings. The victims are usually forced to beg money or sell different kinds of goods. The trafficker confiscates all earnings, and the victim often depends on traffickers for transportation and housing. The victims are usually American citizens aged 18 to 25 or children. Each sale or begging crew consists of 3 to 40 youth, and the trafficker moves the crew from one city to another every week. Crew members receive little payment in the amount of 8 to 15 dollars per day in order to cover the cost of meals. Victims of sales crew jobs are usually moved from familiar places of residency and are kept apart from friends and family.

If a crew member does not accomplish his work or is non-compliant with crew rules, he can be left with no money in the unfamiliar city. The victims of begging and peddling rings are mainly immigrants who are vulnerable to exploitation because of the language barrier and lack of work opportunities. Often, victims are vulnerable to homelessness. According to the estimations, sales crews and begging rings can earn up to $50 million per year.

Human trafficking may also occur in the hospitality industry. Thus, the victims of trafficking can be found working in hotels and motels for long hours and low payment. They may occupy different positions and work as room attendants, server or bell staff, kitchen staff, in marketing, casinos, or any other services provided at the hotel. Labor exploitation acquires the status of labor trafficking when the victim is forced to work and cannot quit from the position. Among the victims, American citizens and illegal immigrants can be found. However, immigrants are more vulnerable to labor trafficking due to the language barrier, lack of awareness with labor legislation, and local support networks. According to the studies, up to 1.5 million people work in the accommodation industry in the United States. The exact amount of trafficked people within the industry is unknown.

Besides these forms of labor trafficking, victims can be found in any industry that has a demand for cheap labor and a lack of governmental monitoring. People are forced to work in exploitative conditions against their will for little or no payment. The victims can be found all over the United States in landscaping, construction, tourism and entertainment spheres, child-care or elder-care facilities, nail and hair braiding salons, and other businesses.

Anti-trafficking Law and Policies and Its Effectiveness

The anti-trafficking legislation in the United States exists at the federal and state levels. The majority of the states have criminalized trafficking in persons. However, the punishments at the local level are not as tough as at federal. The efforts on the federal and local levels are combined in order to provide effective regulation of human trafficking operations. The United States is a country whose foundation is partly based on the institution of slavery. However, US legislation consists of a great number of prohibitions on forced labor. For instance, the Thirteen Amendment-based legislation provides that slavery or other involuntary servitude cannot exist in the United States.

The United States on the federal level has taken a firm position against trafficking in persons within national borders and internationally. Human trafficking is defined as a federal crime. Title 18 of the United States Code determines any attempt to force people against their will to work or provide services as a crime. Debt servitude is also defined as an illegal activity. According to the Thirteenth Amendment, human trafficking is compared to slavery and prohibited. Federal legislation on human trafficking is enforced by federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and others in combat with trafficking in persons. Human trafficking is classified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Part I Crime. It reflects the growth of the expansion of human trafficking throughout the United States.

Federal agencies have their own programs aimed at combating human trafficking within and outside the United States. Their efforts strengthen the US legislation on human trafficking and form an effective mechanism of the crime combating. Department of Health and Human Services and Office of Refugee Resettlement provides assistance for certifying eligible foreign victims of human trafficking. They are given the federal benefits of the refugees. Department of Health also outreaches grants to the organizations and associations that assist victims of human trafficking and promote awareness of the problem among the population.

There are two types of grants, provided by the Department of Health. The first is given to raise public awareness of the problem, and training of law enforcement and the second provides assistance for the vulnerable populations in order to identify victims. The Rescue and Restore Campaign held by the Department of State provides public awareness in order to identify and provide support for the victims of trafficking.

Department of Justice and its divisions provide funds and carry programs of assistance for the foreign survivors of trafficking in person. The Civil Rights Division works with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement in order to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking. The Department of Justice introduced annual reports to Congress on efforts to combat human trafficking.

Department of Homeland Security investigates human trafficking cases both internationally and internally. It also provides training support to law enforcement and assistance for the victims of human trafficking in receiving a temporary stay of deportation. The Agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are responsible for issuing non-immigrant visas that allow victims of human trafficking to adjust legal permanent residence status.

Department of State finances international anti-trafficking programs and issues the annual Trafficking in Persons Report that provides information about human trafficking within and outside the United States, and introduces the practices to combat the crime.

Agency for International Development finances anti-trafficking programs that are aimed at preventing human trafficking, protection of the victims, and training of law enforcement to prosecute traffickers. Department of Defense provides general awareness for its personnel. Department of Education is responsible for developing the public awareness of human trafficking. Department of Labor introduces the range of programs that help the victims to receive necessary job training and placement services. It also provides assistance for the organization and association that combat child exploitation.

The FBI makes efforts to combat human trafficking not only in the United States but worldwide, as well. The activities of the FBI are aimed at fighting the exploitation of people who work in labor industries or forced to provide commercial sex services. The FBI works with other law enforcement to combat human trafficking and protect the victims. There are about 90 human trafficking forces and agencies in the United States in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation participates. The victims’ specialists of the FBI work with trafficked victims in order to ensure their rights and provide assistance in legal services, housing, employment, education, and training.

In addition to this, the FBI determines the nature and extent of human trafficking in certain regions of the country, conducts severe human trafficking investigations, and cooperates with public and non-governmental organizations for increasing the awareness of the problem. In 2009, there were 167 cases of human trafficking investigated by the FBI. By 2012, the amount has encrusted to 459 cases. In general, since 2009, there were about 480 arrests of traffickers, 336 indictments, and 258 convictions.

The US Government has adopted five federal laws that address the problem of human trafficking. These documents are the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The TVPA allowed victims of human trafficking to stay in the United States. They have an opportunity to apply for permanent residency. Thus, trafficked victims do not have to afraid of deportation, and the TVPA provides them the possibility of liberation from traffickers and ensures assistance. Before the adoption of the Act, trafficked people illegally brought to the United States were treated as offenders.

Moreover, any child engaged in commercial sexual exploitation is considered to be a victim of human trafficking regardless of citizenship. The TVPA also distinguishes human trafficking from other crimes, such as people smuggling. The Act also facilitates combating human trafficking on the international level. Thus, the United States issues annual country reports on human trafficking and renders foreign countries financial non-humanitarian assistance in order to fight with trafficking in persons (Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, 2000).

The Trafficking Victims Protection Plan, adopted by Congress, created the first federal law that addressed the problem of human trafficking. TVPA made an important focus on the prevention of human trafficking not only in the United States but on the international level. TVPA presents a three-level approach to the problem of human trafficking. It is based on the prevention of human trafficking, protection of the victims, and prosecution of the traffickers.

Prevention is being ensured through public awareness programs and monitoring of the situation. Protection of the victims foresees the introduction of strict migration operation, introducing new Visas, and providing of services for trafficked victims. Prosecution of the traffickers is based on the implementation of new legislation and severe punishment for the criminals. TVPA was adopted in order to enforce the US legislation.

The TVPRA is an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act. It reauthorizes anti-trafficking programs of the United States for the next four years. Similar to the previous documents, it funds law enforcements’ training and provides the necessary support for the victims of human trafficking. The TVPRA is called for the fulfillment of the gaps in federal legislation in order to respond to the problem of trafficking in person. According to the document, the US government will cooperate with the organization and association in order to ensure that American citizens do not use any goods that are produced with the usage of forced labor. The TVPRA settles standards and practices for the disposal of human trafficking and the prevention of child trafficking in the world.

There is an emergency response provision that will help the US government to respond to the crises within and outside the United States in order to prevent any possibility of the trafficking of vulnerable people. It has added to the previous acts a new requirement that foreign countries must inform the Department of State about national human trafficking investigations, convictions, and sentences. According to the provided information, the United States will be able to define international progress in the combating of human trafficking. The TVPRA will also continue providing assistance for existing programs on human trafficking.

The US Presidents have also expressed their opinion on human trafficking. Thus, the Bush Administration determined the combat with sex slavery all over the world and domestically as one of the priorities of the state humanitarian policy. Every year, about $ 100 million were spent on the purpose of human trafficking fighting. In 2010, January was proclaimed by President Obama as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Recently, Barack Obama has outlined new steps to combating forced labor and sexual exploitation in the United States and abroad. Obama mentioned that human trafficking can be considered as a form of modern slavery, and the United States together with the world community has to provide assistance for more than 20 million victims of trafficking in persons all over the world. The White House has issued executive laws prohibiting human trafficking in governmental contracting. The Administration has also ensured the providing of more training to law enforcement on human trafficking.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement are one of the federal agencies responsible for the implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Plan. Human trafficking is a serious threat to homeland security. Similarly to human traffickers, terrorists can use the same routes and methods to access the United States. Another structure that enforces the efforts of the combat with human traffickers is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The programs of the FBI are aimed at the protection of the victims and the prosecution of the traffickers.

The FBI Innocence Lost National Initiative addresses the problem of commercial sex exploitation of children in the United States. Initiative along with other institutions is aimed at reducing human trafficking. For example, nearly 900 children were rescued from sex exploitation during the previous years. About 500 criminals were convicted of sex trafficking. The traffickers were convicted in severe sentences, long-term imprisonments, the seizure of property, and financial assets (U.S. Department of Justice).

Besides the TVPA, there are a lot of laws that fall within human trafficking. Thus, the Customs and Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Reauthorization Act of 2009 prohibits the importation of products into the USA that are made by the benefits of forced labor. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act foresees cooperation with foreign governments on the issue of human trafficking and provides the establishment of human smuggling and trafficking center where victims can find assistance and support.

The Protect Act ensures defense for the children engaged in sexual exploitation. Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act provides notice to property owners whose possession can be used for transportation, harboring, or exploitation of the victims of human trafficking. The Mann Act prohibits the forced transportation of people across the states and sexual exploitation of the people. Altogether, the laws form an effective mechanism of human traffickers’ prosecution.

Besides federal legislation, the separate states have their own laws that combat human trafficking, protecting victims and punishing traffickers. The fist states to adopt anti-trafficking laws were Washington and Texas. In 2003, Missouri and Florida passed legislation on trafficking in persons. Thus, Washington State was the first one to introduce the criminalization of human trafficking. The legislation of Florida prohibits forced labor, sex exploitation, and domestic servitude. Connecticut legislation interdicts forced labor and defines human trafficking as a violation of human rights. Transparency in Supply Chains Act adopted by the California state government provides extermination of human trafficking form particular support chains of the retailers.

In Texas, all law enforcement must be trained on human trafficking and know how to combat traffickers and protect victims. The legislation of Texas prohibits human trafficking. According to the current laws, people do not have necessarily to be brought into the United States for the act of human trafficking to take place. Thus, the requirement of transportation was removed, and more victims received assistance from law enforcement. Moreover, the Texas legislation provides rescue holiness in some establishments. That ensures the possibility for the victims of human trafficking to inform government or law enforcement about the fact of the crime.

There are many fund grants, which are aimed at supporting the victims of human trafficking. Besides providing assistance for foreign victims of trafficking in person, the legislation of Texas ensures support for domestic victims, as well. Sexually oriented businesses have to conduct records of their employees, contractors, and activity. The definition of child trafficking was also expanded, and the child traffickers due to the Senate Bill 24 are convicted to life imprisonment.

Today, every state except Wyoming has adopted anti-trafficking legislation or related criminal laws that cover the issues of trafficking. However, the legislation differs greatly from one state to another. For example, the TVPA and UN laws on human trafficking define trafficking in person as forced labor trafficking and sex exploitation. Some states define human trafficking only as sex trafficking excluding forced labor. Yet it is estimated that up to 78 percent of all trafficked people are engaged in forced labor.

Thus, the legislation of some states do not protect the victims of labor trafficking and cannot be effective to the full extent. There is also legislation that addresses the sex trafficking of children only. Other laws compare human trafficking with smuggling; however, these crimes differ in nature. The great amount of legislation does not provide assistance for the victims. As a result, many state laws are strict in scope and do not provide necessary responses to the problem of human trafficking.

The implementation of the state legislation provides the progress of anti-trafficking legislation. According to the US Department of State, 151 traffickers were convicted at the federal level in the United States. The number of traffickers convicted on the state level remained unknown; however, it does not exceed a dozen of cases. That happens due to unawareness of the law, lack of resources or support, no access to law enforcement’s training on human trafficking. As a result, federal authorities can not prosecute every case of human trafficking without support on the state level. Moreover, state law enforcements almost do not focus on the sex trafficking of children. Some investigators have negative views and attitudes towards trafficked people. As a result, traffickers are not brought to justice (Gallagher, 2010).

The US anti-trafficking legislation has some disadvantages that must be eliminated in order to provide effective human trafficking combating. First of all, the victims of traffickers are afraid to identify traffickers due to the fear of victimization. Thus, the assistance and support for trafficked people must be ensured by the legislation. Another problem with the enforcement of anti-trafficking legislation is the incompatible training of law enforcement. Border patrol officers, federal agents, and local police must be aware of the facts of human trafficking and the well-versed in legislation. There are a lot of cases when trafficked people were arrested or deported from the United States. Moreover, there are a lot of foreign trafficked victims. As a result, a language barrier between victims and law enforcement may appear. That can make the information-gathering process problematic.

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Thus, awareness of the public and law enforcement, as well as technical assistance, must be provided. Human trafficking can be effectively addressed through simple measures. Firstly, all workers can be ensured the remedies according to the Thirteenth Amendment-based legislation. Secondly, workers must be provided with legal protection and allowed to stay in the United States during the examination of meritorious claims. Thirdly, prosecutors have to press criminal charges against employers that exploit workers. That will prevent employers from using illegal methods of conducting their businesses.

Until the end of the 20th century, the existing legislation on human trafficking in the United States and other countries was inadequate and could not provide an efficient mechanism to bring traffickers to justice. There ware no laws that could penalize the range of offenses of the trafficking. As a result, the most serious crimes in sex trafficking often remained unpunished or were prosecuted under laws applied to lesser offenses. Congress realized that human trafficking is a complex and international problem that involves organized crime, corruption, violation of human rights, and it requires an effective response.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was an important response to human trafficking. The act establishes programs on prevention of trafficking, ensures protection of the victims, and provides law enforcement with better mechanisms to prosecute trafficking cases. After the passing of the TVPA in October 2001, the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was established. Thus, a bureau that addresses the issues of human trafficking and exploitation on all levels was created within the Department of State. Legal actions could be taken to criminals on all levels. The United States is among the leading countries that introduce legislation in order to fight against human trafficking.

Conclusion

Slavery was prohibited in the United States in 1865; however, the fact of slavery was not eliminated. Slavery has evolved and now it is known as human trafficking. Trafficking in person can have different forms, including labor exploitation and sex trafficking. It is tightly connected with political issues of illegal immigration and criminal issues of the illegal drug industry and arms trade. The victims cannot free themselves from trafficking. Modern slavery does not discriminate against nationality, race, age, or gender. Any person can become a victim of human trafficking. Human trafficking is internationally recognized as a crime. A great number of international laws and national laws were passed in order to combat any display of human trafficking. Despite this, it remains one of the most serious issues in every country.

The number of trafficking victims in the US is largely unknown. Hundreds of thousands of American citizens are estimated to be at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. According to the studies, three out of every 1,000 people in the world were in forced labor or sexual exploitation from 2002 to 2012. Victims of trafficking in persons include not only adults brought into the United States illegally, but the citizens of the country, as well. According to the US State Department reports, from 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked every year across national borders.

Approximately half of the victims are children, 80 percent of trafficked people are female, and about 70 percent are engaged in sexual exploitation. About 27 percent of trafficked people are forced to work at domestic servitude. There are also high amount of the trafficked people, who are forced to work in agriculture. Another 17 percent of victims are forced into different occupations.

According to the studies of the International Labor Organization, every year about 12 million people become victims of labor exploitation or sexual servitude. Other estimates of human trafficking vary from 4 million to 27 million people trafficked worldwide. According to the estimates of the TVPA, in 2001 about 50,000 individuals are illegally brought into the USA. Due to measures that were taken by the US government to combat trafficking in person, this number has reduced significantly. In 2012 about 14,500 – 17,500 foreign nationals trafficked into the United States.

Generally, the estimates of human trafficking are based on international trafficking victims. According to the studies, about 244,000 American children are at the risk of sexual exploitation. Every year about 199,000 cases of children and youth sexual exploitation occur in the United States. These figures do not include adults, or children trafficked into labor exploitation. Besides domestic sex trafficking, American citizens are being trafficked for labor exploitation. Children can also become victims of forced labor as they are easier controlled and cheaper.

According to the reports of the International Labor Organization, labor exploitation exists in Africa and Latin America. However, the evidence of labor exploitation can be found in developed countries, such as the United States. It is also reported that females are more likely to become victims of commercial sexual exploitation while males are trafficked for forced labor.

Human trafficking becomes a serious problem as victims can be brought into the United States from any country in the world. Traffickers can have any nationality or gender. There were cases in the United States when law enforcements arrested women responsible for human trafficking. For example, aunt, mother or grandmother has trafficked niece, daughter, or granddaughter for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Population in countries with unstable social or political situation and areas that suffer from natural disasters, wars, or conflicts is vulnerable to trafficking.

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A few years ago, Haiti suffered from the earthquake, and a lot of people were forced to live on the street. As a result, traffickers received an opportunity to bring Haitians into the United States promising them better-living conditions. India remains a major concern for sex and labor trafficking due to the living standards of the population. There are a lot of victims from such countries, like Mexico, the Philippines, China, Thailand, and other countries. Moreover, American citizens can also become victims of human trafficking.

High-population areas with large immigrant populations appear to be the main regions where human trafficking occurs. Thus, California, New York, Texas, and Florida are the places of concentration of human trafficking. According to the reports of the US Department of Justice among the states with the biggest amounts of human trafficking victims are California, Oklahoma, New York, and Texas. These states serve as hubs of international immigrants.

A complex of factors influences sex trafficking in the United States. Among these factors poverty, social norms, discrimination, demand, and supply of sex and labor trafficking, globalization, and its consequences can be mentioned. The combination of better living conditions’ seeking, parents selling their children for money or opportunity to survive, economic imbalances, gender inequality, political corruption, and market supply and demand principles, unstable social situations in the countries, low efficiency of the anti-trafficking legislation made the human trafficking the fastest growing illegal business in the world.

Common types of the control, used by the traffickers include force, fraud, coercion, and psychological methods. The usage of force foresees the violent actions taken towards the victims, regular transportation to different places, physical and sexual abuse. Fraud includes false promises of better living conditions, work opportunities, misrepresentation of the immigration benefits. Coercion is determined as the forcing to provide any sexual services. Victims are exploited and restricted in communication with their relatives or outside world. The victims are also afraid of deportation and punishment of law enforcement. Individuals involved in sex trafficking are vulnerable due to such factors as an existing debt, the immigration status of the majority of victims, gender inequality, etc.

Sex trafficking takes place when people are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Child sex trafficking is defined as any involvement of minors in commercial sex operations. Traffickers use force and psychological methods in order to control their victims. Moreover, traffickers target vulnerable people as it is easier to manipulate and control them. Sex trafficking exists on the international and national levels. Sex trafficking can be found in the traditional sex industry and can have different forms.

According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Plan, labor trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery” (cited in Creating a culture free of slavery to end human trafficking, 2012). Similarly to sex exploitation, labor trafficking can have different forms, such as bonded labor, forced labor, or child labor.

Anti-trafficking efforts were first taken with the adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The document solved certain federal issues concerning human trafficking. It has revised the definition of the involuntary servitude that was traditionally limited to forced coercion and added psychological coercion. The TVPA established new offenses for forced labor and sexual exploitation and strengthened punishment for the traffickers. Moreover, the TVPA included provisions concerning the protection of trafficked victims. Government assistance includes insurance of temporary immigration status for trafficked people, offering public benefits, and providing the funding for services.

Besides TVPA, there is a great number of state laws that prohibit human trafficking and establish punishment for those who smuggle and exploit people within and outside the United States. The United States is among the leading countries that introduce legislation in order to fight against human trafficking.

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