Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
Human trafficking is a hidden crime as victims rarely come forward to seek help because of language barriers, fear of the traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
While human trafficking spans all demographics, trafficked persons most often come from positions of vulnerability. Prior to their trafficking situation, individuals may:
- Come from a low socio-economic background
- Be homeless or have run away from home
- Be an immigrant seeking a better life or opportunity
- Have a history of sexual abuse, rape, or domestic violence
- Be in foster care
- Have been subject to natural disasters, conflict, or political turmoil
- Be involved in the sex industry
Below you will find several authorities we know and trust in the fight against human trafficking.
IJM has formed the largest international anti-slavery organization in the world. Girl Set Free founders have a personal investment and interest in this organization. They have followed them for years and have a specific soft spot for the rescue operation in Ghana Africa where 1200 children were identified as being trafficked and were slaves. Here at Girl Set Free, we celebrate the rescue of Joshua and pray for many more. We love IJM and all the work they are doing to end human trafficking. We are seeking justice along side IJM and invite you to learn more about human trafficking and ways you can be a part.
To those who are still enslaved, we promise we will find you. We will get you home to your families, so you can have the freedom you deserve. - IJM
Exodus Cry is built on a foundation of prayer and is committed to abolishing sex slavery through Christ-centered prevention, intervention, and holistic restoration of trafficking victims.
Benjamin Nolot, Founder and CEO of Exodus Cry shares below about human trafficking, specifically sex-trafficking.
Human trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerability. - Benjamin Nolot, Exodus Cry Founder + CEO
A21 ia a nonprofit organization fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. They are abolitionists of the 21st century and we can't say enough about their work.
They have created these very important tools below to help educate all of us. We would love if you would share these resources in your communities and circles of influence.
A High School Curriculum - It is a curriculum fully aligned to education standards to equip teachers to integrate human trafficking into the classroom. When students are educated, they are empowered. Learn more here.
An International Program - Designed for both small groups and large audiences, this interactive program provides a global perspective on the issue of human trafficking and is suitable for anyone over the age of 12. Learn more here.
A Small Group Lesson Plan - ShineHope is a small group lesson plan that builds upon the foundational principles of strength, worth, and purpose in the lives of young girls who may be at risk of human trafficking. Learn more here.
When a lot of people do a little, it adds up and makes a difference. - Christine Caine, A21 Founder
So what role does Girl Set Free play?
Girl Set Free empowers women out of exploitation and into freedom through job opportunities. We are an ethical lifestyle brand using fashion and design and come along side survivors of human trafficking in deep and meaningful ways. We are more than a brand, we're a family. We know them, we know their families and their stories. They are theirs alone to share. We highlight the hope and freedom they have found and their incredible hand making skills. We care deeply about our mission and believe that if just one, than one is worth it. We actively reinvest our profits back into the local community and around the world to provide education, empowerment and employment. Learn more about our impact here.
We believe the well-being of others is a part of our own story. - Amy Kratzer GSF Founder + CEO
Here are some common myths and misconceptions about human trafficking:
Myth: Human trafficking does not occur in the United States. It only happens in other countries.
Fact: Human trafficking exists in every country, including the United States. It exists nationwide—in cities, suburbs, and rural towns—and possibly in your own community.
Myth: Human trafficking victims are only foreign born individuals and those who are poor.
Fact: Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. They may come from any socioeconomic group.
Myth: Human trafficking is only sex trafficking.
Fact: Sex trafficking exists, but it is not the only type of human trafficking. Forced labor is another type of human trafficking; both involve exploitation of people. Victims are found in legitimate and illegitimate labor industries, including sweatshops, massage parlors, agriculture, restaurants, hotels, and domestic service.
Myth: Individuals must be forced or coerced into commercial sex acts to be victims of human trafficking.
Fact: Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to perform commercial sex acts is a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether he or she is forced or coerced.
Myth: Human trafficking and human smuggling are the same.
Fact: Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling. “Trafficking” is based on exploitation and does not require movement across borders. “Smuggling” is based on movement and involves moving a person across a country’s border with that person’s consent in violation of immigration laws. Although human smuggling is very different from human trafficking, human smuggling can turn into trafficking if the smuggler uses force, fraud, or coercion to hold people against their will for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. Under federal law, every minor induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.
Myth: Human trafficking victims will attempt to seek help when in public.
Fact: Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. Victims may be afraid to come forward and get help; they may be forced or coerced through threats or violence; they may fear retribution from traffickers, including danger to their families; and they may not be in possession of or have control of their identification documents.
The Blue Campaign is the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice. We love this informative video explaining human trafficking and the difference between sex-trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude. One of the common misconceptions that people make when they hear the word "human trafficking" is they think that only means sex trafficking and it's something that only happens over seas. We hope this video helps educate those learning for the first time.
Indicators of Human Trafficking
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
- Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
- Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
- Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
- Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
- Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.
To report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement: 866-347-2423.
To reach a non-governmental organization: National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, call 888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to BeFree (233733).
YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE
Help us break the cycle of trafficking, by providing restoration, rehabilitation and job opportunities to women rescued from modern-day slavery. You can vote with your dollars and make your purchases matter. Everyone can do something. How about start with purchasing a t-shirt?
Girl Set Free is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We made a conscious decision from day one to maintain a clear focus on impact and our incorporation status serves as a major part of this. You can take confidence in knowing your purchases help to further this impact. - Jeremy Kratzer, GSF Co-Founder + CFO