Human trafficking happens everywhere and in every country. Commercial sex, farming, construction, manufacturing, and mining make human trafficking a lucrative business. People that lack skills, education, and family support can be the most vulnerable people to get caught in the horrific traffickers business. Why would a trafficker do a “dirty, dangerous, and difficult” job when he can force someone else to do it for practically free? Safety is thrown out the window.
The Department of State says that instances of human trafficking within a country may be more characteristic of that specific country or region, such as child domestic work or exploitative sham marriages, and that examples of human trafficking vary. The following is taken directly from the 2019 TIP report by the U.S. Department of State. I hope that readers from all over the globe will read what is said about the United States trafficking problem, but I especially hope that Americans will read it and carry that knowledge with them so that they can raise awareness and make a difference here at home.
Traffickers in Brazil, under the guise of religious mandates, exploit Brazilian victims in forced labor, including on farms and in factories and restaurants, after the victims join certain churches or religious cults.
In Cambodia, a lack of jobs leads some women and girls to leave their homes in rural areas to try to find work in tourist destination cities. In many cases, traffickers exploit them in sex trafficking, including in massage parlors, karaoke bars, and beer gardens.
In Ethiopia, traffickers often deceive parents of children living in rural areas into sending their children to major cities to work as domestic workers. The traffickers promise families that the children will go to school and receive wages for their work, thereby enabling them to send money home.
In India, the government officially abolished bonded labor in 1976, but the system of forced labor still exists. For example, under one scheme prevalent in granite quarries in India, quarry owners offer wage advances or loans with exorbitant interest rates, trapping workers in debt bondage—in some cases for their entire lives.
In the United Kingdom (UK), gangs force British children to carry drugs. According to the UK National Crime Agency data in 2017, the largest group of potential victims referred to the National Referral Mechanism was UK nationals.
In the United States, traffickers prey upon children in the foster care system. Recent reports have consistently indicated that a large number of victims of child sex trafficking were at one time in the foster care system.
In Yemen, the ongoing conflict has led to many human rights violations, with many parties using child soldiers. According to a UN report, there have been 842 verified cases of the recruitment and use of boys as young as 11 years old.
Given the recent global estimates related to the national nature of human trafficking and the various forms it can take, all governments must acknowledge and take targeted steps to address human trafficking that takes place within one country without any movement across an international border.
There may be complicated reasons why a government would fail to address this form of human trafficking. It is easier to look outward and call on other governments to act; it takes much more resolution and political will for governments to look inward and stop traffickers, including their own citizens, from exploiting victims who have not crossed an international border. Governments should also examine the varying political and economic systems that make it easier for traffickers to commit the crime. What is clear is that governments have an obligation to address all forms of human trafficking, those both with and without a transnational element. When governments overlook this reality and ignore human trafficking at home, they risk being blinded to—and neglecting—an often significant crime within their own borders.
Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state. The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We cannot give legal advice, but we can try and direct you in the right direction with your case. Links to legal services are listed with their states. Please share and let’s grow our groups. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.