est. 2023

Myths Facts and Statistics

Myths Facts and Statistics

Human trafficking is a complex and pervasive issue that often thrives on misinformation and misconceptions. Understanding the realities of human trafficking is crucial in the global fight against this crime. Here, we aim to dispel some common myths and present the facts, supported by statistics, to foster a more informed and effective response to human trafficking.

Vulnerability to Human Trafficking

Fact: Human trafficking can affect anyone, but certain populations are at higher risk. Those particularly vulnerable include individuals who have recently migrated or relocated, those with substance use issues, mental health concerns, a history with the child welfare system, and runaway or homeless youth. Traffickers are adept at identifying and exploiting these vulnerabilities to foster dependency.

Common Myths vs. Realities

The Truth: While human trafficking can involve violence, it more commonly relies on psychological manipulation, such as deception, threats, and coercion, to control victims.
The Truth: Human trafficking encompasses both sex and labor exploitation. Globally, labor trafficking is believed to be more prevalent than sex trafficking, though sex trafficking receives more attention in the U.S.
The Truth: It’s not uncommon for traffickers to be someone the victim knows, such as a romantic partner or family member.
The Truth: Trafficking affects both non-citizens and citizens legally residing in the U.S., across various forms of labor and sex trafficking.
The Truth: Men and boys, particularly those who are LGBTQ, are also vulnerable to sex trafficking.
The Truth: Trafficking has been reported in legal and visible sectors like restaurants, cleaning services, construction, and manufacturing.
The Truth: Trafficking does not require movement. Individuals can be trafficked within their own communities or homes.
The Truth: Consent is irrelevant if it’s followed by coercive, deceptive, or forceful tactics, especially if the victim is a minor in sex trafficking.
The Truth: Physical restraint is less common than other forms of control. Victims may stay in trafficking situations due to psychological manipulation, fear, lack of resources, or other complex reasons.
The Truth: Labor trafficking is also present in developed countries, including the U.S., though it is underreported compared to sex trafficking.
The Truth: While any commercial sex involving minors is trafficking, adult commercial sex is only considered trafficking if it involves force, fraud, or coercion.
The Truth: The decision to seek help is complicated by factors like fear, isolation, guilt, and manipulation. Not all individuals recognize themselves as victims or are ready to seek help.

Statistics and the Scope of the Issue

While accurate statistics on human trafficking are challenging to obtain due to its clandestine nature, the data that is available paints a concerning picture:
  • The International Labour Organization estimates there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking worldwide.
  • 81% of them are entrapped in forced labor.
  • 25% are children.
  • 75% are women and girls.
  • The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion global industry.

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