Trafficking is happening all around us, so it is essential for us to learn the signs of trafficking to bring these children to rescue and recovery. These statistics are hard to believe, but knowledge is power.
38% of convicted traffickers are women.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 38% of convicted traffickers are women. Although traffickers are commonly thought of as only being men, women are deeply rooted in this dark industry as well, especially in the recruitment stage.
Manipulation is a trafficker’s main tactic to keep victims in bondage.
Although many victims are held in physical bondage, it is important to realize that this is not always the case: victims are often manipulated into staying due to debt bondage, a lack of other options, intimidation, isolation, or emotional attachment.
American children are the number one victims in America.
According to the Trafficking in Persons 2018 report, trafficking victims who are exploited in America come from almost every region of the world. The top country of origin of federally identified victims in 2017 was America, followed by Mexico and Honduras.
Traffickers and abusers are “common, everyday” people that we may interact with.
Exploiters here in America are not as elusive as you may think. From blue collar to white collar and everything in between, they are boyfriends, doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, neighbors, and family members. 36% of trafficked children are trafficked by a family member. If you expand to include intimate partners and friends, that number jumps to 56%. According to this global data set, more children are trafficked by family members for sexual exploitation than for forced labor.
For example, a young girl may have low self-esteem, a broken family, low income, leading to her desire for love and validation. Someone like a teacher, coach, spiritual leader, or sometimes another parent is in a spot to recognize this and groom her over time. They could ask her to come over for “homework support,” buy her a new phone or clothes to make her feel special, and then tell her that she can make some extra money. Many children end up being sold over social media platforms such as Facebook or Craigslist. Because of this reality, if we see something suspicious, we need to speak up and report it.
According to a 2015 survivor survey by Thorn, 81% of respondents met their trafficker in person and 14% met them online. This could be because many children that are trafficked are being controlled by somebody they know. Thorn’s research does point to the recruitment stage moving more online and that younger children often develop a relationship with a controller in a digital setting instead of in person. Either way, traffickers are looking to create a false bond of trust.
The more we understand about this issue, the more effectively we can fight it. We are stronger together! If you have not taken our free online training course to learn the signs of trafficking, sign up today: https://ourrescue.org/training.