Human Trafficking

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What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking includes forced labor, sexual exploitation, and other forms of servitude. Victims are often physically abused, psychologically coerced, and fearful of reporting their abuse to authorities.

Where does human trafficking occur?

Human trafficking occurs in our own city, and can occur in any neighborhood. Victims may live and work among us as domestic servants, restaurant workers, and workers in the commercial sex industry (such as massage parlors, strip bars, or escort services). Domestic sex traffickers often prey on “at-risk” children. These are children whom have unstable family lives and have often been the victims of sexual and physical abuse. Domestic sex traffickers recruit by making false promises, providing drugs, or utilizing other enticements. Once involved with the trafficker, the victim is prevented from leaving through psychological and physical coercion.

Who are victims of human trafficking?

Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, regardless of citizenship. Both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens can be victims. There is no requirement that a trafficking victim crossed any city, state, national, or international border. Trafficking can even be by a victim’s own family members.

How do traffickers maintain control of their victims?

Common ways traffickers maintain control include:

  • Debt – requiring the victim to pay off a debt.
  • Documents – taking the victim’s legal papers and documents.
  • Deportation – threatening to report the victim to immigration authorities.
  • Family – threatening to harm the victim’s friends and family.
  • Drugs – providing the victim drugs to make the victim more compliant.
  • Abuse – abusing the victim physically or sexually.

Why don’t more victims of human trafficking report the crime?

Trafficked individuals are forced, tricked, or coerced to work in a variety of jobs or in the sex industry. Victims are often emotionally and economically dependent upon their abusers, and remain silent as their worlds grow smaller and more dangerous. Along with our partners in law enforcement and the advocate community, we’ve made it easier for trafficked individuals to report crime and obtain services.

What happens if a victim comes forward?

Victims often stay quiet because they are afraid that the trafficker will follow through with his or her threats, or they fear being arrested and deported. However, trafficking victims may be eligible for financial, legal, housing, and immigration assistance from the New York State and federal governments.