Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce, an English politician, and leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. Human trafficking is a violation of humanity. It is a universal problem. It includes hiring, harboring, and deporting human individuals across the globe for uncultivated causes and slavery. Human trafficking has become more widespread around time yet the majority of the population is uninformed of it.

Trafficking is a human rights concern that affects both developed and developing countries worldwide, restricting disadvantaged men, women, and children from ever obtaining true justice in the modern world. We should be deeply concerned about human trafficking because it weaves with many other social justice issues. It is connected to gender and racial disparity because at its root is the notion that one human life is worth less than another. I chose this topic because I always enjoyed true crime shows. Although it caused myself to become more paranoid, it resulted in me doing research about kidnappings and human trafficking. Educating myself of what I was paranoid about made me feel better since I became aware of what to avoid and protocols I could do. I later realized that the majority of people aren’t aware of how prevalent human trafficking is. This made me want to spread awareness about it.

The general public does not have a real awareness of the significance of human trafficking. No matter the kind of trafficking the number of victims is tremendous, yet numerous of victims are concealed in common sight. The trafficking of humans is the following largest criminal industry in the world. Transitioning to my question, to what extent can the common person prevent the manipulation of traffickers to reduce the rates of victims in the United States? Being able to learn the indicators of human trafficking to identify a possible victim, while also educating the people around you. You would be able to give the victims a voice that had been stolen due to their traffickers.

Human trafficking is the modernized version of slavery. It includes fraud and force to obtain some type of labor or sex act. Human trafficking virtually affects every country in the world. Millions of men, women, and children are trafficked each year. Human trafficking is estimated to obtain billions of dollars; second to drug trafficking.

The data for estimating the prevalence of human trafficking nationally aren’t well developed, therefore the data varies widely and changed significantly over time. According to “Human Trafficking Into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature.” ASPE, 21 Feb. 2017, “The U.S. State Department has estimated that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked annually across international borders worldwide and approximately half of these victims are younger than age 18.” However, this does not include all the unreported cases of victims due to the fear of their perpetrator or situation. According to “Hotline Statistics.” National Human Trafficking Hotline, California has the most reported cases of human trafficking, followed by Texas and Florida. Although human trafficking is a large epidemic, most civilians aren’t aware of how prevalent it is.

Human Trafficking usually goes unnoticed. Few trafficking victims come forward to provide testimony for prosecutions. Many do not realize human trafficking exists in their community. According to Gazette, Jessica Cohen For the. “Human Trafficking Often Goes Unnoticed, Officials Say.” 29 Aug. 2018, “Trafficking tends to go unreported by victims because of the complexity of their relationships with their assailants.” A lot of the victims do not even understand what is happening to them while also not having someone to rely on therefore fearing of consequences. In 77 percent of human trafficking cases, the perpetrators are family members, friends or others the victims know, according to Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth Covenant House. Trafficking usually involves transporting victims. Due to being in foreign countries, a lot of victims are not aware of their rights there as well.

Although current stereotypes often depict the victims of human trafficking as young girls who are seduced or kidnapped from their home countries and forced into the sex industry. Men, women, and children are all preyed on by traffickers for various types of labor. Certain commonalities exist between victims. Such as their vulnerability to force and fraud. Human traffickers usually prey on those with few economic opportunities and those struggling to meet basic needs. For the vast majority of youth, economic factors made them more vulnerable to trafficking. According to “Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth.” Job Training Covenant House, “19% of all youth interviewed had engaged in survival sex solely so that they could access housing or food.” This shows that people with more economic disadvantages are more vulnerable to human trafficking since they are desperate for basic needs.

Victims of human trafficking are more bound to the emotional effects of trafficking trauma such as anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and/or substance abuse. Human trafficking is a complex problem because the victims experience physical and psychological harm. The traffickers use physical violence to dominate and control their victims. In addition to PTSD, victims of human trafficking have been found to suffer from other anxiety and mood disorders including panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. According to “Human Trafficking Into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature.” ASPE, 21 Feb. 2017, “Individuals with traumatic histories of physical and/or sexual abuse have also been found to be at increased risk for the development of dissociative disorders.”

According to Currie-McGhee, L. K. Human Rights in Focus: Human Trafficking. ReferencePoint Press, 2018. The author, Currie-McGhee, L. K. writes about modern day slavery and how to understand it. Modern day slavery exists in every part of the globe. This is when individuals are either forced or pressured into positions where they become the object and property of individual criminals or entire organizations. Traffickers use brutality, intimidations, distortions, and other manipulative tactics to compel people to work for free or engage in the commercial sex trade. Victims must do whatever their traffickers demand, or suffer harsh consequences. Human trafficking oftentimes involves transporting victims from one place to another, but this does not occur in all human trafficking cases. If a victim is required to comply with a trafficker’s request, the crime can be classified as human trafficking. Traffickers often prey upon disadvantaged poor people. However, human trafficking is not just an issue with poverty induced areas. It takes place in nearly all countries. Including wealthier places including the United States. Human trafficking is slavery and involves stripping away and violating the basic rights of a human being.

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Labor and sex trafficking among homeless youth. (2022, Jun 28). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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