What Is Human Trafficking?

Three main things that define human trafficking:

  1. The action of trafficking includes recruitment, transportation, transfer, forceable harboring, or receiving of persons.
  2. The means of trafficking includes threat of or use of force, deception, coercion, abuse of power, or position of vulnerability.
  3. The trafficking of humans is called exploitation. Exploitation includes prostitution, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.

Human trafficking is often termed “modern day slavery.” What does this mean?

Human trafficking is similar to the old-school kind of slavery. It involves one or more people who control and exploit others by using him/her for work. A big difference is that modern day slavery is illegal everywhere in the world. It is estimated that there are 10-30 million slaves worldwide today.

Who are the victims?

Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking. Your risk for being a victim increases if you are a woman, or you are under the age of 18. Other factors include lack of education, poverty, drug use, etc. Traffickers are sometimes not strangers and may include a close friend or family member (even a parent). Traffickers also will often target people who are vulnerable, like those who runaway from home. All of these factors play a big part in human trafficking but it is important to remember that it can happen to anyone. 

In Our Own Backyard

Sadly, human trafficking happens everywhere. Although often overlooked, it is a major problem here in Hawaii. Hawaii happens to be the home to the largest human trafficking case in US history, where  400 farm workers were lured from Thailand to work in Hawaii. They were offered false promises of high-paying jobs but in return got little or no pay, their passports and documentation was taken away, and they were forced to live in dirty, unhygienic, rat-infested living conditions. There was also a case in August 2012, where a teenage girl was kidnapped and held against her will in Waikiki. She was forced into prostitution. Luckily, she was able to contact her sister and escape. Although we only hear about these events every so often, all sorts of crimes of human trafficking occur every day. At times right under our nose.

What can I do to help?

It’s important to remember that every little effort makes a huge difference. You can do your part by furthering your own education on human trafficking, using your voice to educate others, or being an activist who fights for the passing of laws to protect victims. No deed is too small!!

More information about Human Trafficking