Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Coercion can be subtle or overt; physical or psychological. Human trafficking does not need to include movement or smuggling of persons. If the individual is under the age of 18 and engaging in commercial sex, it is human trafficking, regardless if force, fraud, or coercion is present. It affects men, women, and children of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, disabilities, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses. Traffickers use a variety of tactics to lure susceptible people into trafficking situations, including violence, manipulation, false promises, or romantic relationships. Traffickers look for people who are at risk for a variety of reasons including psychological and emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of support system, natural disasters, or political instability. Power and control are present whenever there is violence. Abusive power and control are the methods through which someone gains and maintains power and control over someone else. The Power and Control Wheel shows behaviors that may occur in human trafficking situations.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, or you see a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to 233733. Do not approach the victim or situation directly, as it can be extremely dangerous. Call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline.