What is human trafficking?

According to the United States National Trafficking Hotline website, the legal definition of human trafficking:

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).  

Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102).

Each country has a different version, but most are basically the same under the guidelines of the United Nations. Each country has its own enforcement policies, but it is a crime in each and every state under the federal and international law.

What can YOU do to help end worldwide human trafficking?

It may seem like a tall order and impossible to have any of our individual efforts matter, but the truth is consumers have great power in wielding affirmative action.

  1. If you are a resident of the United States, contact your senators and representatives and tell them you want them to increase funding for the Trafficking in Persons Office of the U.S. State Department to fight slavery.
  2. Use social media outlets to learn about human trafficking and promote awareness of this crime against humanity.
  3. Buy products such as chocolate and coffee labeled “slave free” or “fair trade” which assure child labor was not used in the harvesting process or the making of the product. 
  4. Support businesses such as The Tote Project whose products are made by women of India who have left the sex trade. Learn about the socially responsible practices behind the products you buy. Do you know mining for diamonds and other minerals are mined most often by children? There are alternatives which include businesses which source through slave free resources. 
  5. Donate to organizations such as Migrant Justice, SongsAgainstSlavery.org, or EndSlaveryNow.org who can work on your behalf, but are greatly in need of funding. Host a fundraiser! Most organizations have options for donating one time, monthly, annually, or other convenient options.
  6. Be a friend. Victims of trafficking are of all socioeconomic levels, education, cultures, and races. Survivors are often shunned and lack friends. They lack confidence and resources for survival. Connect with a trustworthy organization and offer to be a support to a survivor. Often survivors just want someone who will listen compassionately.