What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking, or trafficking in persons, involves the exploitation of another human being for personal gain. According, to the Palermo Protocol the definition of human trafficking is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of the treat or use of force, coercion, abduction, or fraud”. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands in the United States.
Types of Human Trafficking
- Forced Labor
- Sex Trafficking
- Bonded Labor (Debt Bondage)
- Involuntary Domestic Servitude
- Forced Child Labor
- Child Soldiers
- Illicit Adoptions
- Organ Trafficking
- Child Sex Trafficking
Trafficking and Domestic Violence
While human trafficking and domestic violence survivors have many differences, especially in the services they require, there is overlap between intimate partner violence and human trafficking. The often used Duluth Power & Control Wheel, seen above, helps to display how many of the same coercive tactics abusers use to control victims are used by traffickers and pimps to control survivors. Tactics like isolation, physical violence, treats, intimidation, economic abuse – especially debt bondage, are all used by abusers, traffickers, and pimps. Every survivor has a unique experience, however the effects of chronic abuse and repeated trauma can manifest over time in a variety of ways. Many survivors experience not only repeated physical injury, but depression, PTSD, insomnia, and a variety of other personal, social, and mental health issues
Due to the similar nature of the tactics used, many survivors of intimate partner violence are also trafficked by their intimate partners, forced into labor or sex trafficking. This is especially true if the abusive partner is involved in gang activity or other criminal enterprises.
Human Trafficking in Maryland
- Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force (MHTTF) Victim Service Subcommittee members assisted 217 victims of trafficking in 2013
- FBI Child Exploitation Task Force has identified 46 child victims of trafficking in Maryland since January 2013
- MHTTF federal law enforcement partners have identified 200 total victims of trafficking since January 2013
- MHTTF federal law enforcement partners have arrested 94 human traffickers since January 2013
- 23 federal trafficking prosecutions in Maryland since January 2013
- The Department of Juvenile Services has identified 78 potential victims of trafficking since the inception of their screening tool at their facilities in 2012 [Currently the screening tool has been implemented at Alfred D. Noyes’ Children’s Center, Thomas JS Waxter’s Children’s Center, and The Charles Hickey School]
- The Department of Human Resources has identified 70 potential victims of trafficking since the inception of their screening tool in May 2014
For more information about Human Trafficking, both locally and around the world, take a look at the 2014 Trafficking in Persons report, available here.