What is Human Trafficking?
The Crime of Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is Both a National and State Problem
Victims and Society
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and an egregious violation of human dignity. Traffickers exploit children, women, and men regardless of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, or socioeconomic status. The exploited victims suffer both physically and psychologically. Human trafficking represents a “dark stain on our societies” that adversely impacts our economic stability, national security, and the rule of law. Quantifying human trafficking in Michigan is difficult due to lack of uniform data reporting and the nature of the crime itself. But we do know that it continues to be a growing problem in our state. According to (Baldas, 2013) “Over the last decade, criminal dockets have detailed tragic accounts of children sold for sex at truck stops, servants held in captivity and forced to clean for free, and women forced to enter the sex industry and provide profit for their traffickers”(p.2). From urban centers like Detroit and Grand rapids to rural communities in the state’s Upper Peninsula, reports of trafficking have made headlines. Cases like these vividly illustrate the need for a comprehensive response to this crime. What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that occurs on an international, national, and local scale. Whether in the smallest town, rural areas, medium sized cities, villages, big cities- there is nowhere in Michigan that has not been touched by this issue. According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Human 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 on involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery”(p.1) . Human trafficking exploits people through compelled service. Thousands of people each year both within the United States and abroad-fall victim to this horrific crime. In Michigan, children, women, and men are compelled into prostitution, domestic servitude, and other labor for little or no pay. According to the Department of Health and Human Services “Reports indicate that human trafficking is second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world”. (p.3) The Crime of Human Trafficking
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I) sex trafficking of adults involves the exploitation of a person for commercial sexual activity through force, fraud, or coercion. However, sex trafficking of a child does not require a showing of force, fraud, or coercion” (p.5). Victims of sex trafficking are often forced to engage in commercial sexual activity such as prostitution, exotic dancing, and pornography. Labor trafficking, in contrast, entails the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit a person for labor services. Victims are commonly forced into domestic servitude, agricultural labor, restaurant work, or sweatshop factory services. Often, working conditions are unsafe, and compensation is minimal or nonexistent. The 2011 amendments to the Michigan Human Trafficking Act “explicitly prohibit recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or services” for the purpose of holding that person in involuntary servitude or debt bondage. According to the (Baldas, 2013) “Although prevalent, human trafficking operations are difficult to detect. In a 2012 review of 140 closed human trafficking cases involved 379 offenders and 190 victims from across the country , the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reported that the majority of trafficking incidents (43%) occurred in private residences”.(p.4) the use of which makes it easier for trafficking to conceal their activity from police...
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